Writer: Ciaran Foy (Screenplay)
Starring: James Cosmo, Aneurin Barnard, Wunmi Mosaku, Ian Hanmore, Amy Shiels, Ingrid Craigie, Jake Wilson
Plot: An agoraphobic father teams up with a renegade priest to save his daughter from the clutches of a gang of twisted feral children who committed an act of violence against his family years earlier.
Tagline – They see your fear
Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Evil Children 101
Story: Citadel starts when Tommy (Barnard) sees him pregnant wife violently attacked by a group of children with him helpless to protect her, the baby is born, but his wife Joanne (Shiels) dies after the attack. Tommy still be agoraphobic after the attack he is trying to raise his own baby with his only support being Marie (Mosaku).
With the children still trying to take his baby, Tommy is forced to turn to renegade priest (Cosmo) to help him get rid of the problem that is targeting his family, which will see Tommy facing his biggest fear in life.
Thoughts on Citadel
Characters – Tommy is a father with agoraphobia after he saw his wife attacked by a group of children, he is trying to be the good father for his new born child, but his fears are controlling the situation, he sees children trying to take his child, he needs to face his fears to make it through this trauma he is going through. Priest is a renegade man that is aggressively searching for a way to bring down the feral children, he sees Tommy as a chance to get the job done, even if it is against what his religion states. Marie is one of the social workers that will help Tommy, she is trying to help him through the medical side even if she is the one that puts him in contact with the priest. The Feral Children are the highlight of the film because they are genuinely frightening when they attack.
Performances – Aneurin Barnard in the leading role does make us feel for his character, we believe he has been through the trauma and is the desperation to save his family. James Cosmo is fun to watch as anti-priest figure. Wunmi Mosaku doesn’t do anything wrong in the supporting role, if only we could have seen more from the character.
Story – The story here follows a new father that is dealing with his own trauma while raising his new born child, which will see him needing to face off against feral child that feed on people’s fears. The early thing that must be pointed out here, comes from the idea that we are not full convinced that we are seeing the fears of the character dealt with, for the most part we are seeing one man terrorised but even the people without the fear seem to be targets too, this mostly confuses the rule point in place. the idea that the feral child live in the abandoned flat complex doesn’t improve on things either because you would think more incidents would happen. The part of the story that does standout and is interesting to watch would be seeing how Tommy is dealing with his own traumas while remaining strong facing the possibility of not being able to raise his own child because of his problems, sadly we don’t see enough of this addressed with the horror side of the story taking over, which simply put, isn’t as interesting.
Horror – The horror starts of being home invasion like horror, which worked for the illness Tommy had, but when we enter the flats, it does become the highlight of the action in the film, feeling dark, scary with anything able to jump out to get them.
Settings – The settings show us the run down neighbourhood in which Tommy lives, the support groups around it and most importantly the empty flat block which has the feral children in it.
Special Effects – The effects are used mostly look practical, with the moments surrounding the feral child being the most notable and scary ones.
Final Thoughts – This is a horror film that does take its time getting going, one the chaos is unleashed with get a highly intense final act which ramps the fear up to the max.
Overall: Slow Start, Strong Finish.