Connect with us

HORROR

Censor | Don’t Go in the Woods

Published

on

In 1984 the ‘Video Recordings Act’ enforced that commercial VHS sold in the UK must have classification from the BBFC leading to increased horror censorship. Victim to this oppressive wave was the ‘video nasties’, a unique type of film which gained reputation for extreme gore and outrageous violence.

Stamping a strangely satirical spin on the censorship crazies of the 80s is writer/director Prano Bailey-Bond’s feature length debut Censor. A film which stalks the story of an isolated film censor named Enid (Niamh Algar) who has her childhood trauma brought to life in the form of a ‘video nasty’. The name of the nasty, ‘Don’t Go in the Church’, an appropriately unnerving flick which hooks Enid’s attention due to its uncanny similarity to a childhood event.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

 

What follows is a slowly surreal drama that occasionally dips its bloody toes into Lynchian landscapes while keeping firmly rooted to its topic. Photographed by Annika Summerson (Mowgul Mowgli) the darkly lit external setting of damp offices makes everything in the fuzzy TV screen all the more enticing and fascinating. The contrast between the bright light of the scratchy VHS setting and the dulled tone of the British exterior heightens the oppressive status of video censors and the trauma that is restricting Enid’s life from colour and expression.

Perhaps for certain audience members none of this will feel quite as cathartic as the film was willing it to be. Despite a deliciously dream-like ending – the rest is quite emotionally stunted. There were moments in which the commentary on culture and VHS-related nightmares overtook the cinematic story that fronted it. Most likely, this will excite some and frustrate others.

Harnessing the obsessive fixation of the central protagonist is the excellent Niamh Algar. Opposing the political and parental mobs of anti-exploitative material, Enid’s infatuations and intrigues are with the films she’s employed to censor. With apt contextual backing for her descent into a killer craze – the protagonist is neither sympathetic or unfeeling. She is a stern in-between who doesn’t exude the blood of body horror, rather the haunting shivers of guilt and the ice-cold sting of trauma.

Despite the questionable acting of the VHS horrors to which her character is ruthlessly editing, Algar is believable and grounded throughout. Echoing Morfydd Clark’s role in Saint Maud (2020), Algar is an anchor for the film, convincingly reanimating the distress and trauma caused by the repressed memories of Enid’s childhood.

Enid (Niamh Algar) taking a late night, blood soaked stroll through her memories

Appropriately British and appropriately gloomy, Bailey-Bond resists any temptation to jump into 80s nostalgia. This is a grim depiction of trauma wrapped around the intrigue of British censorship and authoritarian editing. For those who remember the parental hysteria of VHS gore, there are segments of Censor which will recapture the Zombies, Werewolves and Yetis of yesteryear. Ironically, it may lack the twisted oomph required for those who have instead been raised on the ooze of big screen blood and the modern embrace of cinematic horror.

Aspects of Censor feel well-intended, with backdrops of Thatcher-era Britain providing the appropriate subtext for the screenplay. But the subtext only deepened the background commentary while the foreground and central story lacked proper substance and emotion. A sting of superficiality tarnished the story, as character and plot simply needed more ‘meat on the bone’ to truly harness any impact or cathartic bite.

Often leaning further into laboured exercise than emotional exorcise, for a film mocking and examining video nasty mayhem much of it didn’t feel nasty enough. Moments of violence lacked the cathartic thrill of exploitative body horror, and the screenplay at times felt like skin and bones begging to be fleshed out.

Moving to a dull beat at times, Censor does take time to push the story to its climax. Some earlier moments begged the headline ‘Videodrone’, but it did eventually rise from the dead with a bloody bite. It is an admirable film with enough substance for an intriguing Tuesday night watch. But it lacks the unflinching audacity and power of the video nasties of the 80s. In many ways, it felt like a cinephile’s dream and an average viewers nightmare.

FILM RATING
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

HORROR

Halloween Ends | Official Trailer – Blumhouse

The saga of Michael Myers and Laurie Strode comes to a spine-chilling climax in this final installment of the franchise.

Published

on

By

Genre:

Horror, Thriller

Release Date:

October 14, 2022

Cast:

Jamie Lee Curtis, Will Patton, Kyle Richards

Plot Summary:

The saga of Michael Myers and Laurie Strode comes to a spine-chilling climax in this final installment of the franchise

FILM RATING
Continue Reading

HORROR

Orphan: First Kill – UK Trailer | There’s Always been Something Wrong With Esther…

Published

on

SHE WILL KILL TO BE PART OF A FAMILY.

Esther’s terrifying saga continues in this thrilling prequel to the original and shocking horror hit “Orphan.” Esther’s (Isabelle FuhrmanOrphan) secret may be out but this time around there’s more to this psychotic young girl than meets the eye. Escaping from the psychiatric facility that housed her, Esther hides in plain sight by assuming the identity of a missing American child whose mother (Julia StilesDexter) is matriarch to one of the wealthiest families in the United States.

Will Esther’s thirst for blood destroy the strong family ties or will she discover that even a mother will cross the line to protect her family?

Signature Entertainment is proud to present the debut UK trailer for Orphan: First Kill, coming exclusively to cinemas nationwide August 19. Watch Below:

Produced by eOne and Dark Castle Entertainment, the prequel stars Isabelle Fuhrman, Rossif Sutherland (Possessor) and Julia Stiles. Orphan: First Kill is directed by William Brent Bell (The Boy), screenplay by David Coggeshall (The Haunting in Connecticut), and story by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick (Aquaman, The Conjuring 2 & 3) and Alex Mace. The film is produced by Alex MaceHal SadoffEthan ErwinJames Tomlinson, and executive produced by Jen GortonJosie LiangVictor MoyersKyle IrvingDavid Leslie.

FILM RATING
Continue Reading

HORROR

The Invitation | Official Trailer | Sony Pictures

A young woman is courted and swept off her feet, only to realize a gothic conspiracy is afoot.

Published

on

By

Genre:

Horror, Thriller

Release Date:

August 26, 2022

Director:

Jessica M. Thompson

Cast:

Nathalie Emmanuel, Thomas Doherty, Hugh Skinner

Plot Summary:

A young woman is courted and swept off her feet, only to realize a gothic conspiracy is afoot.

FILM RATING
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Popular Now

Advertisement
Advertisement

TRENDING NOW

Trending

0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x