Opening 29 Jul 2021
Enid (Niamh Algar) is a film censor working in the U.K. during the 1980’s. Her job is to view video nasties and censor their more brutal content. For those not in the know, video nasty was a term in the U.K. for low-budget horror and exploitation films. Following a campaign against what was often termed as obscene media, the Parliament passed the Video Recordings Act of 1984 which required films to go through strict censorship before being distributed on video cassette. This is where Enid comes in and she is particularly good at her job, although when she watched one film in particular, it reminds her deeply of a past trauma where her sister Nine (Amelie Child Villiers) disappeared. As she investigates the connections between the film and her sister’s disappearance, the lines between reality and fiction become blurred in unsettling ways.
While the setting of Censor is certainly interesting, unfortunately the film does little to delve into the complexities of British society, its interest in censoring films, or even the films themselves. Instead, the focus is solely on Enid’s manic spiral in her obsession to discover the secrets behind the connection between her sister and the video nasty filmmaker Frederick North (Adrian Schiller). Unfortunately, the plotting of this is not nearly as clever as the director/writer Prano Bailey-Bond (and co-writer Anthony Fletcher) would have you believe. While the first half of the film has some definite promise, the pacing becomes increasingly erratic in the second half and in many ways, the story becomes lost in a haze which is both unsatisfying and predictable. Unlike the video nasties upon which the film focuses so much attention, Censor fails to evoke much in the way of strong emotions or lasting impressions. (Rose Finlay)