Prano Bailey-Bond directs Niamh Algar, Michael Smiley and Nicholas Burns star in this period meta horror where a tightly wound government censor for video nasties unravels when a movie reminds her of a past trauma.
Ooh… ‘elevated horror’, the critics love you as you are so easy to bash out a few thousands words about but genre fans do struggle to see what all the fuss is about. Censor is one of the better critical darlings in that it might not hit the giddy heights of Ben Wheatley or Rose Glass’ debuts but it certainly makes you want to see what Bailey-Bond does next. Censor can feel a little too much like a calling card at times yet it wears its influences on its sleeve nicely… Garth Marenghi meets Polanski giving way to surprising overtones of Lynch and Bava. That first hour feels pretty promising ratcheting up the tension and paranoia with deadpan unease. Yum! But the final act is a flub, going the most predictable ‘unpredictable’ route with a lack of ghoulish mania. It is a bit too measured, a bit too clumsily forewarned and neat. The twist is textbook. Either give us either carnage or a genuine shock. I really liked the milieu and the central performance by Algar is outstanding… possibly will become iconic. I’ll definitely give this another try with expectations diminished… sometimes those movie experts piling on and lauding a promising debut actually does it a slight disservice. We would have found this digital nasty without them, and the joy of discovery is half the battle with becoming a cult favourite.
6 (Bordering on a 7)
Check out my wife Natalie’s Point Horror blog https://cornsyrup.co.uk
We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here https://letterboxd.com/bobbycarroll/list/the-worst-movies-we-own-podcast-ranking-and/