'Headless Population' Review

‘Headless Population,’ a short film by Catriona Carswell for the BBCs New Creatives series, provides an honest insight into how progression of technology may be leading to a regression in society and human connections. 

'Headless Population' Review

With an expert use of colour and music, Catriona Carswell has created an insightful perspective on modern western culture and our dependence on technology. We see vast and beautiful landscapes slowly disappear as our attention is pulled into needless consumerism and mindless scrolling. Like a parasite, the technology slowly leaches away the beauty and leaves society dull, miserable and void of any true passion or purpose. When watching, I felt reflective as the people on screen go from joyous and adventurous to merely being jostled around in their repetitive lives. I felt a level of guilt as the short film made me reflect on how I have been wasting my time and allowing myself to lose my passion for nature -which was such a huge part of my life before I got a phone- just because I fall into endless doom scrolling. It left me questioning my use of technology. Something so small is controlling my life and making me miserable, so why do I let it?

With a simple art style, Carswell is pointing out the simplicity of the problem. We, as a society, could just look up from our phones. We could start taking pride in our communities and our nature once more. But we do not. Our health, state of mind and unique natural world could all be saved with just an ounce of attention diverted away from our phones and to something we could genuinely care about and what future generations can enjoy. The audience really enjoyed the high-quality animation but was also largely uncomfortable. It held up a mirror to our tendencies to fall into miserable cycles even when there could be a way out. The use of music is also masterful. We transition from peace and serenity to an uncomfortable and suffocated feeling as we leave nature behind for the city. Carswell uses music and colour to create an ever-growing atmosphere of unease and tells a tragic story of what we are becoming. 

In summary, ‘Headless Population’ provides a much-needed moment of retrospection about our dependence on technology. It offers us a reminder to look up from our phones and enjoy the world around us again. 

Header Image Credit: BBC New Creatives


  • Dayna Jeynes

    On 21 June 2024, 12:51 Dayna Jeynes commented:

    What a great concept! Thanks for sharing!

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