“Horror is already out there, in all of us” is the answer in Prano Bailey-Bond’s Censor, which comments on the debate surrounding censorship of violence. In 1980s Britain, Enid (Niamh Algar), a film censor, witnesses a “video nasty” that sets her off on a journey to solve the mystery surrounding her sister’s disappearance. 

The world within this film is filled with bland colours, with only the colour red standing out as a warning sign that danger is ahead, a mark of blood and death that continues to appear frequently as the film progresses. The pace here is deliberately slow, allowing the audience to dissect every small detail, just as Enid does. There’s an underlying sense of unease caused by the unknown, creating a tension that is begging to be released. 

Algar’s presence on screen is brilliant, and although she isn’t given much dialogue, it’s all about what she doesn’t say. Unspoken words are communicated through her face and bloodshot eyes; you can feel her desperation and her slow descent into madness.

Thanks to Tim Harrison’s sound design and Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch’s score, Censor is haunting, filled with what sound like guttural hums and high-pitched harmonies. They create a mesmerisingly trance-like state during surreal dream sequences that blend so much with Enid’s waking life that you being to question what’s real, a masterful touch also by editor Mark Towns.

The ending of Censor seems to conclude that cutting out violence is merely a glossing over of the truth, tidying it up into a more digestible format that isn’t reality. Prano Bailey-Bond’s film is a compelling triumph in the horror genre and an absolute must-see with a truly stunning ending.

RATING: 4/5


INFORMATION

CAST: Niamh Algar, Nicholas Burns, Vincent Franklin, Sophia La Porta, Adrian Schiller, Michael Smiley

DIRECTOR: Prano Bailey-Bond

WRITERS: Prano Bailey-Bond, Anthony Fletcher

SYNOPSIS: After viewing a “video nasty,” Enid, a film censor, sets out to solve the mystery of her sister’s disappearance. 

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