Director: Prano Bailey-Bond
Writer: Prano Bailey-Bond, Anthony Fletcher (Screenplay)
Starring: Niamh Algar, Michael Smiley, Nicholas Burns, Vincent Franklin, Sophia La Porta, Adrian Schiller, Clare Holman
Plot: 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.
Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: Censor starts as we meet Enid (Algar) who works in the censorship department in England, battling the new rise of the Video Nasties in the UK, with most people wanting the movies banned forever, creating a new underground market.
When Enid is working on the latest project, looking to see what could get edited to make it available for release, only it has a striking connection to Enid’s past, about the mystery about the disappearance of her sister when they were children, leading her down a path into the Video Nasty world to learn what the connection could be.
Thoughts on Censor
Characters & Performances – Enid Baines is one of the censor committee for horror films in the UK, she must seat through endless amounts of unedited Video Nasties, needing to analyse whether than can be cut down for release, with most getting rejected and ending up in the underground market. She is known as being one of the strictest, with her cold approach adding to how she is seen within the department. On her latest project she finds a film sequence similar to an incident in her childhood, one that saw her sister vanish, with her hoping for decades that she would find her missing sister. She starts to dive into the underworld of the video nasties, to learn the truth, looking to give her a chance get the answer to the question that has been bugging her for her whole life. Niamh Algar is excellent in the leading role of this film, her performance is naturally cold, which will drive the character outside the comfort zone for the answer, showing the ability to create a fish out of water situation. We do get to meet the other members of the committee, who will each have their own approach to their work, but seem to have a balance between work and personal life in a better way than Enid. We do get to meet a seedy producer of some of the video nasties that will want to do anything to get his film released and almost enjoys the reputation the films gain. Everybody taking the supporting roles shines, with Michael Smiley as the producer being just as slimy as he needs to be for the era of that type of producer.
Story – The story follows a censor for the video nasties that gets caught up in wanting to follow up on one of the films she has watched, which has an uncanny connection to what happened to her has a child when her sister went missing. This is a story that could find itself being compared to two movies, ‘Saint Maud’ with the isolated figure trying to do the right thing and ‘The Berberian Sound Studio’ following someone getting caught up in their work to an unhealthy level which will only cause them more problems. The road Enid finds herself getting drawn down, shows us how she is getting caught up in the middle of what is real or the reality of the films she is seeing, as the desperation to learn the truth is catching up with her. The story is filled with an unsettling vibe throughout, each sequence seemingly getting darker as the world starts to crash down around Enid.
Themes – Censor is a horror thriller that will take us behind the scenes of the pre-edited horror movies being judge for censorship, show the horrors the people would have to watch through on a daily basis, never being sure what they can or can’t release. This shows with how Enid gets caught between the horrors of her childhood and the horrors of these films, losing sense of reality. The locations used show us the different worlds Enid is entering, with the controlled environment of the office, which looks blank and void of any colour, compared to the wider settings which show the lives going on around them.
Final Thoughts – Censor is a bleak horror diving into the world of Video Nasties censorship and how people can perceive reality.