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  • Writer's pictureSteve

Censor (2021)

I wonder if this had been 1985, whether this would have a received an '18' rating instead of just the '15' awarded to it here. Who Censors the Censor, after all?

Set in the mid-eighties, Prano Bailey-Bond's stab at putting the willies up us is perhaps a little ironic to be believed or taken seriously. She was clearly taken by the cultural unrest of the time and she shares these inspirations with the audience.

Uncomfortably authentic by design, this really fails to have you on the edge of your seat at any stage, but kudos to Film4 and a host of the usual acting suspects to agree to sign up. I always love a Michael Smiley appearance for example, and I have a continuing admiration for anything Felicity Montagu bothers to do, as she makes this acting malarkey look so easy.

I was reminded of 'Under The Skin' one minute and 'Berberian Sound Studio' the next, as Censor appeared to be having trouble navigating between wannabe horror or actual arthouse. Given its rating should you choose to believe it, you know already that it is, before you even watch it, not too brutal or visceral, though the hints of the video nasties upon which this effort was inspired are evident and even nods to several of them are offered here, if you know what you're looking at.

At an hour and twenty-four minutes, this still feels laboured and I often found myself rolling my eyes at the repeated woodland massacre scenes, as I felt so little engagement to Enid (Niamh Algar). I understood the reason for their inclusion for the purposes of the plot but still couldn't help but wish the thing would just bloody well hurry up.

Altogether, not quite as painful as it could have been, in at least two respects, if you know what I mean. For a first effort, this is a good try. I don't mean to pat Bailey-Bond patronisingly on the head for having a go and doing her best, because I imagine she will make fools of all of us before long.

You can miss this, and honestly, you still won't really have missed much.


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