Censor is a nostalgic ride into the ‘video nasties’ era of the 1980s. With homage paid to the days of old frequently throughout; those lucky enough to have been alive during this period will take great pleasure in the many trips down Memory Lane that Censor conjures. With that being said there is no real reason to be as old as the hills to enjoy this retro-themed movie.
The Story of Censor
Censor follows movie censorship agent (boo, hiss), Enid, as she goes about her day-to-day task of taking all of the good bits out of horror movies. Spending her days enveloped in a world of horror (I know that feeling); Enid has the weight of the world on her shoulders as she works to keep the ‘video nasties’ at bay and the world safe from gratuitous violence. Despite her evident distaste for most of what she see’s at work; Enid is heavily drawn to one particular director, Frederick North, whose banned productions seem to shine a light on her inner turmoil, which soon becomes the core of the story.
Early on, we learn of the disappearance of Enid’s sister back when they were children. What happened to the censor’s sibling remains a mystery; although we do know that Enid was with her at the time of the tragedy, yet remembers nothing of the fateful night. When Enid becomes convinced that she has seen her long-lost sister in a banned movie, she sets out to rescue her from the evil clutches of the infamous director as fantasy and reality slowly merge to become one.
It is here the movie takes on a psychological angle as we see Enid’s descent into a deep abyss of paranoia and desperation.
The Magic of Censor
Censor offers up far more than your average horror movie. It dares to go back to a time when movies were seen to be the cause of evil. After a brutal murder in which a husband removes his wife’s face before eating it is connected to ‘video nasties’; the media are looking for a scapegoat. We see Enid being hounded by reporters who are laying the blame on a horror called ‘The Beast Man’. Questions are asked about how this was ever passed through the censor’s office as Enid’s guilt becomes clear. So begins her descent into madness as her world slowly falls apart.
A Perfect Casting
Very little is seen of most of the characters, leaving the talented Niamh Algar to carry the movie throughout. Algar gives a sterling performance as the troubled Enid. Exuding the certain prowess that her role demanded, it’s hard to imagine someone else as the tormented movie censor. Where dialogue isn’t possible, facial expressions are used to perfection to portray her dismay. This fine example of acting from a relatively unknown actress carries through until the final credits roll. Through Algar we are cast through a journey of paranoia and deep desperation as the story unfolds. The part of Enid is played to an extent where you share in her dismay and feel affected by the movie’s outcome; certainly a true mark of excellent talent.
Being a slow-burner, Censor probably isn’t for everybody. For those that enjoy a slow build-up, however, the wait is rewarded as the movie hits its dramatic conclusion. The welcome revisitation of the true era of horror shows just how violence in movies was once seen. When compared to the relaxed attitudes of the latter-day, Censor shows just how far we have come from the stringent views of yesteryear.
Despite its slow start, Censor is one of the better movies of this year. With Naimh’s portrayal of the prudish Enid, Censor fast goes from a great movie to an unforgettable production.