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Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Movie Review: Censor (2021)


Release Date: June 11, 2021
Directed By: Prano Bailey-Bond
Screenplay: Prano Bailey-Bond, Anthony Fletcher
Stars: Niamh Algar, Michael Smiley, Nicholas Burns, Sophia La Porta, Vincent Franklin, Adrian Schiller
Produced: Helen Sara Jones
Production Company: Silver Salt Films
Distributed: Magnet Releasing (2021) theatrical), Magnolia Pictures (2021)
Running Time: 1 hour, 24 minutes
Genre: Horror, Mystery & Thriller
Film censor Enid takes pride in her meticulous work, guarding unsuspecting audiences from the deleterious effects of watching the gore-filled decapitations and eye-gougings she pores over. Her sense of duty to protect is amplified by guilt over her inability to recall details of the long-ago disappearance of her sister, recently declared dead in absentia. When Enid is assigned to review a disturbing film from the archive that echoes her hazy childhood memories, she begins to unravel how this eerie work might be tied to her past.

After viewing a strangely familiar video nasty, Enid, a film censor, sets out to solve the past mystery of her sister's disappearance, embarking on a quest that dissolves the line between fiction and reality.

Enid works for Censor in 1980's England. She and other co-workers watch videos to determine their ratings, mostly for what they call video nasties. She and another worker are criticized and for allowing a movie to be seen, that was blamed for a man killing his wife and children. 

Not long after, she meets Frederick North (played most ably by Adrian Schiller) at her workplace who says she seemed familiar. He says she should come to him if she ever wants to be an actress. He leaves the video, Don’t Go in the Church. The movie’s eerie similarities to memories about when her sibling went missing at a young age. It doesn’t help that her parents decide after all this time to have her officially declared dead. Something Enid is not ready to face. The horror movie takes nasty videos, dreams, and her real life and blurs it in a mashup, as she tries to find her sister.

I was surprised this wasn't a slasher movie full of gore, but an almost arthouse horror film mashup. Yes, it is steeped in the gory, grimy feel, and transgressive spirit of the so-called “video nasties” back in the 80s, but it was more than that. 

On occasion, there was unevenness and some weaknesses, yet it had some bold and viscerally effectiveness, too, taking the serial killer horror flick to another level. I think some slasher film fans might not care for this film, but for those of us who want black humor and maybe more, this might fill the bill.

I gave Censor 41/2 slasher sheep.

Reviewed by Pamela K. Kinney

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