ABC Film Challenge – Horror – C – Citadel (2012)

Director: Ciaran Foy

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.

PerformancesAneurin 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.

StoryThe 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.

HorrorThe 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.

SettingsThe 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 EffectsThe effects are used mostly look practical, with the moments surrounding the feral child being the most notable and scary ones.

Scene of the Movie –
Inside the flat block.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It breaks the rules it sets up too easily.

Final ThoughtsThis 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.




Dead in a Week: Or Your Money Back (2019)

Dead in a Week: Or Your Money Back is available from the 6th May for Digital Download.

Director: Tom Edmunds

Writer: Tom Edmunds (Screenplay)

Starring: Aneurin Barnard, Tom Wilkinson, Christopher Eccleston, Freya Mavor, Marion Bailey


Plot: After his ninth unsuccessful attempt on his own life, a young man outsources his suicide to an ageing assassin. “If you’re serious about ending it, you need professional help”

Tagline – If you’re serious about ending it, you might need professional help.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Dark Comedy Delight


Story: Dead in a Week: Or Your Money Back starts as William (Barnard) a young man struggling with depression in London is ready to commit suicide, he latest attempt sees his bad luck continue as he survives, William ends up losing his job because of his mindset, he has mounting bills and has failed in his suicide attempts nine times now.

William turns to an aging assassin Leslie (Wilkinson) to help him complete his suicide attempt as he goes around helping depressed people on the verge of suicide, in case they can’t go through with it, offering them a way out. With the contract out, Leslie has one week to kill William or he will refund the deal, only for William’s life to take an unexpected twist during this week.


Thoughts on Dead in a Week: Or Your Money Back


Characters – William is a depressed writer living in London, working as a lifeguard to make money, he has tried to kill himself nine times, which all have been unsuccessful, on his latest attempt he ends up meeting an assassin that offers to get the job done. William has been struggling with the idea of fitting in, finding his purpose in life, thinking his place in the world isn’t worth it, showing how loneliness can lead people down a dark path. This is a character that is relatable because people will be struggling with the difficulties of life. Leslie is an aging assassin that has turned to helping suicidal people as he isn’t the assassin he once was compared to the younger ones in his company. He is desperate to get the job done before retiring, but soon finds himself disappointing his boss and co-workers. Harvey runs the assassin’s group that wants to see Leslie out of the business, he is like a boss pushing retirement on a member of staff. Ellie brings new hope to William’s life, she reads his book and wants to make something out of it, which only draws on the situation that William is in to a new complicated level.

PerformancesAneurin Barnard is brilliant in the leading role, he needs to make his character look and feel depressed through the film. Tom Wilkinson is fantastic in his role that shows us just how difficult it will be to reach retirement age. Freya Mavor is great to watch too bring the positive side of the film. Christopher Eccleston does a strong job with his smaller role which does work letting him show off his skills.

StoryThe story follows a depressed young man that has been failing to commit suicide and decides to hire an assassin to get the job done for him, we follow the week as we get to see how an unexpected twist in the young man’s life will change the way he looks at the world. This story does step into the conversation of suicide and how people can be living with it and finding it hard to cope, it focuses more on the idea of not feeling like they are part of the world over, something bad happening to him to make them feel this mind set. The story does also deal with the retirement older people from a career they have spent their lives working in. the story does flow smoothly and builds up to show us that whichever difficult moment in life you might be facing, there can be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Action/ComedyThe action involved in this film in saved for the moments it is need, think ‘In Bruges’ levels of action being achieved. The comedy is very dark in this film, mostly coming from the type of material that jokes are being made through the film.

SettingsThe films uses the settings to show us the different lives the characters living in, without being anywhere iconic.

Scene of the Movie –
The showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It might seem overly casual on the suicide jokes in places.

Final ThoughtsThis is a dark comedy that is filled with plenty of dark moments that does deal with the subject matter strongly for the most part.


Overall: Enjoyable Dark Comedy.




Dunkirk (2017)

Director: Christopher Nolan

Writer: Christopher Nolan (Screenplay)

Starring: Fionn Whitehead, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Aneurin Barnard, Barry Keoghan, Harry Styles


Plot: Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire, Canada, and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Epic War Thriller


Story: Dunkirk starts as we English soldier Tommy (Whitehead) desperately making his way to the beach on Dunkirk for the evacuation of the British Soldiers, all 400,000 are waiting for this moment, as Commander Bolton (Branagh) is arranging this on the beach as the soldiers are being picked off from the air. Back home Mr Dawson (Rylance) is taking his son Peter (Glynn-Carney) and friend George (Keoghan) by his small weekend yacht to Dunkirk as the private boats are being called upon to rescue the soldiers. In the air spitfires pilots Farrier (Hardy) and Collins (Lowden) are leading the battle from the skies as they look to defend the returning ships.

The three stories play out through the different time leading up to the final moments of the film in what is known as one of the greatest rescue missions of all time in any war.


Thoughts on Dunkirk


Characters – Tommy, Gibson and Alex are three soldiers stuck on the beach of Dunkirk, they try their hardest to get off the beach of Dunkirk, we see their struggles like many of the soldiers who would have wanted safety in the horrors of war. Mr Dawson, Peter and George show three figures who couldn’t fight in the war but will do everything for their own part in saving the soldiers. The Shivering soldier shows us the effects of war on these soldiers as he doesn’t want to return to the horrors. Commander Bolton shows us how a leader should act on the battle field, being prepared to wait for his men to be saved before himself. Farrier and Collins show us the risk from the air and just how dangerous this side of the battle. We might not learn too much about the characters backgrounds but we also don’t need to, this story is about the heroic story not what these men did before became soldiers.

PerformanceTom Hardy is easily the stand out star of this movie, but it does help that he plays the character with the most intense scenes. Cillian Murphy shows us once again he doesn’t need to be the main star of a movie to be the star and Mark Rylance follows up his recent war time Oscar win with another brilliant supporting performance. We also get to see Kenneth Branagh give us the great leader role. Extra praise must go to the unknown actors here too, Fionn Whitehead in the leading role, fantastic, Aneurin Barnard who I recently saw in a terrible horror film was also fantastic, Tom Glynn-Carney and jack Lowden both seem to shine next to Rylance throughout too. The biggest talking point about this film came in the casting of popstar Harry Styles, I have always defended this choice, and even the biggest haters of this ‘singer’ will be left applauding the guy who is wonderful in this role.

StoryThe story is known as one of Britain’s greatest rescue missions, when all hope looked lost the miracle that stop 400,000 soldiers being slaughter happened, yes, we do know the end of this story from the start. The story is split into 3 times, one covering a week, one covering a day and the other covering hours but this is designed to build up to the one moment showing the struggles the character’s involved must face. I believe this does reward by the end but at times could be difficult for some people to follow.

Action/History/WarThe action sequences are fantastic throughout the film, we don’t see the blood and gore of the war like in Saving Private Ryan or Hacksaw Ridge and for me that was good. The history of this war time event will live long in the memory of those involved and is easily one of Britain’s finest moments of unity.

SettingsEach setting looks fantastic and you can fully believe you are part of this war with these soldiers.

Special EffectsAll the effects are created to show us the stark reality of the war for the men involved, we don’t have anything going over the top which also helps.

Scene of the Movie – Spitfire over Dunkirk, this scene feels haunting throughout.

I always get annoyed by one thing in a movie, this is that moment I would say the scenes when Farrier is looking at the instruments in the cockpit, everything just went over my head there.

Final ThoughtsThis is the best British story from a World War II film that could stand on the same levels as Saving Private Ryan any day of the week.


Overall: Breath taking experience from start to finish.