This exciting and dizzying debut from Welsh writer and director Prano Bailey-Bond. It is really a complete nostalgic treat for the anyone who is old enough to remember the infamous “video bastards”. Who freaked out in the early 1980s. But beneath the retro surface hides a universal story. About the power of horror to confront our deepest fears. A timeless celebration of the liberating nature of the dark side. They are blessed with a keen eye for time detail (Kim Newman’s cinematic horror acclaimed producer and cast). And a refreshing disdain for the “facts” of fan-boy nerves. Censor calls a snake story of trauma, repression and liberation. All delivered through a tactile environment. The favour of illegal videotapes and the panic of the internet media.
Niam Algar, who turned out to be stunning in “Peace with Horses”, is Enid:
Film censors who observed, edited and classified violent scenes in England in the mid-1980s. This is an uncomfortable time when the press. And the public want to find a scapegoat for the nation’s many difficulties. And while he’s shocked by much of what he sees on tape. Enid is also oddly drawn to some of the more outspoken horror titles. Particularly the work of cult director Frederick North (Adrian Schiller). Whose gruesome, gruesome films have a long-term answer. It seems to offer a buried question. As Enid’s eerie charm grows, fiction and reality intertwine.
Censorship has its roots in the Bailey-Bond short film Nasty from 2015. In which a boy searches for his father through a horror video portal and discovers family connections. Although Nasty and Censor’s stories are very different. Both are about characters longing for a lost loved one who is drawn into the world of rogues. Bailey-Bond is spiritually centred around stereotypes about the harmful effects of horror. And refers to the demonic spirit of modern folk everywhere, anywhere, everywhere.
In the film’s fetishized classification ritual. There is an echo of Egoyan Atom’s image of “The Censor Adjuster,” with Enid. Who is stuck in the corridor like Warren and Cuba of their profession, surrounded by the muffled sound of torture and sin. Kudos to production designer Paulina Rzeszowska. Who just realized the strangely hostile atmosphere of the censorship office, and sound designer Tim Harrison. Who in 1978 used the animation Watership Down – a traumatic mix of heartbeat and horror – for spatial inspiration. Instead, the transition from gritty reality to more unconventional fantasy has Censor turning to the visual metaphor of David Cronenberg’s Videodrome. While Enid is immersed in North’s latest luxury production.
Algar’s strength is that it inspires the sensitive life built on a tank of oppression and denial.
From the nervous opening scene where disgust and fascination lead to close-quarters combat. In his face to descending later in full-blooded and fantastical combat mode. Algar estimates the emotional temperature of each phase of Enid’s journey with precision. Meanwhile, Michael Smiley stars as brilliant North producer Doug Smart in a symphony of long-lasting vocals and pejorative threats. And Guillaume Delaunay is as impressive as the half-mythical Beastman. A character inspired by Michael Faith’s iconic presence in Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes. Who embodies the dichotomous mix of fear and sympathy that characterizes so many of the underlying fantasy films.
Emily Levinez-Farouch’s pulsating sound casting (who does the intimate magic of “Only You”). It fuses with Annika Summerson’s 35mm tactile cinematography to evoke the mellow atmosphere of the era. While powerfully using Chernobyl Blake’s spiralling song from Blah, previously heard in Ben Whitley’s a field. In England, all of this completes the adventurous first work of an aspiring filmmaker. Who, along with Jennifer Kent, Julia Ducurnau, Natalie Erica James, Rose Glass, and more, proves that the future of the avant-garde is fearless, open, and feminine.