IN the wake of the horrific murder of Sarah Everard in 2021, her death was mourned throughout the UK and led to discussions around woman’s safety and how they no longer felt secure around the people who are there to protect them.

Utterly appalled by the murder, Scottish actor Holly Jack decided to channel her shock into creating her first-ever short film about the dangers of walking home alone at night as a woman.

Safe Home, which was released this week to the public, is a harrowing reminder that the discussions around women’s safety are still very much relevant three years on from Everard’s tragic death.

“I was stuck at home and watching it on the news, and it really just struck me,” said Jack, the writer and director of Safe Home.

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“I still think about her, and I still am haunted by it.

“Being stuck in the house and not having anything to distract you from it.

“The horror of it just really wouldn't leave me alone, so I ended up writing this script as a sort of response to it.”

Everard was walking home in the evening from a friend's house in London on March 3, 2021, when she was abducted, raped and murdered by serving Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens.

It was a crime so abhorrent that thousands of people across the UK attended vigils for Everard in the days and weeks following, as it was a crime under circumstances that resonated with so many.

Safe Home potently captures the unrelenting fear of a woman walking alone in the evening.

The story follows a headstrong young lady called Jen, played by Lindsey Campbell, who decides she wants to get home by herself after a night out with some friends at a bar.

The National: Lindsey Campbell plays Jen who decides to walk home alone after a night out

Set in a dystopian future not too far from our reality, there are drones that escort people home safely, but Jen is against using them as she doesn’t like the way technology has taken over people's lives.

However, as Jen makes her journey home through dark streets, she grows increasingly uncomfortable and her anxieties heighten after she encounters several different people.

Her sense of dread is palpable and makes for an uncomfortable yet captivating watch.

“Unfortunately, we're still in a world where you know, women and girls and, you know, some men as well, just don't feel safe whether it be walking on the street, whether it be in their own homes or online,” Jack said.

“There's just so many angles now where you can feel attacked. Sadly, that's the world that we're living in.”

She added: “The drone and the film are sort of meant to represent the police officer and the Sarah Everard case.

“It's that idea of something which is supposed to protect you - something that's supposed to keep you safe - betrays you, and how that's like the ultimate betrayal.”

The National: Suspense grows throughout the film the further Jen walks alone in the night

One of the eerie characters Jen comes across on her walk home is a police officer.

The interaction between the two characters is a critique of how there has been a shift in perception towards police officers.

Jack said: “Obviously the police officer is supposed to be someone, when you see a police officer, you're supposed to feel safer, and you're supposed to feel comforted by their presence.

“That's how I felt growing up. If I saw a police presence, I would always feel better. However, that's sort of changed now.

“There's that moment in the film where Jen, the character, sees a police officer, he's on his own, and her automatic reaction is, 'is this going to be a bad situation?'.

“Which is just so sad to me that that's where we're at.”

The film made its debut at the Dinard Film Festival in France last year and Jack said she was delighted with how well-received it was and that the theme seems to resonate universally.

She also said she wanted the film to have a lasting effect on the viewer and hopes it can start conversations around women's safety and critique the failing safeguards.

Although only 12 minutes in length, Safe Home is effective at establishing a sense of suspense, and enthrals viewers through an anxiety-stricken adventure with a gut-wrenching ending.

“At the end, you never know how people are going to react, and it's quite a bold choice,” Jack said.

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“Actually, in some of the scenes, people laughed initially and that sort of shocked laughter, or some people had a gasp, and like, there is no right or wrong reaction to it.”

She added: “It is meant to shock because it's a shocking thing.

“What I thought was quite interesting was that even in France when it was subtitled it still sort of managed to land, like the audience still reacted to it, which I thought was quite interesting and shows that this theme is universal.”

Jack (below), who is normally in front of the camera and is best known for her role as River City’s bad girl Nicole Brodie, decided to take the leap of faith and swap roles as she wrote and directed the film for the first time by herself.

The National:

Completely self-funded, Safe Home was a passion project for Jack who had saved up money to go on a course to learn how to direct, but decided the best way to learn was by doing, so poured her funding into the film.

The budding director also had to call in a bunch of favours from friends and colleagues in the industry and is very proud of what the team have managed to create.

Safe Home launched this week on Girls in Film - which is an international collaborative website that champions woman and non-binary people in film -and can be watched for free HERE.