Film censor Enid takes pride in her meticulous work, guarding unsuspecting audiences from the deleterious effects of watching the gore-filled decapitations and eye gougings she pores over. Her sense of duty to protect is amplified by guilt over her inability to recall details of the long-ago disappearance of her sister, recently declared dead in absentia. When Enid is assigned to review a disturbing film from the archive that echoes her hazy childhood memories, she begins to unravel how this eerie work might be tied to her past.
Director Prano Bailey-Bond’s astoundingly assured feature directorial debut (a spiritual successor to her award-winning short film Nasty) oozes with VHS nostalgia and turns the slasher film on its head — while using the British moral panic around hyper-violent and hyper-sexual horror movies as a backdrop. A highlight of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival Midnight program, this beautifully dark and moody psychological mystery is the kind of brilliant headtrip which might be the first truly great horror film of the year.
“The foggy, gloomy texture of Bailey-Bond’s movie has many sense memories of horror: the Italian slasher movies of Joe D’Amato, the under-the-counter sleaze of Michael Powell’s PEEPING TOM, and the video-fetish connoisseurship of Harmony Korine’s TRASH HUMPERS, Brad Miska’s V/H/S horror anthology and Hideo Nakata’s J-horror RINGU.” —Peter Bradshaw, Guardian “...The movie shows the mark of a filmmaker in full command of vintage horror’s most disturbing strengths — and well-equipped to resurrect them.”—Eric Kohn, IndieWire “CENSOR acknowledges the almost inherent funniness of movie content ratings — the process of dryly poring over trashy exploitation and recommending arbitrary cuts to dismemberment and evisceration scenes, trying to figure out exactly how much face-eating is aesthetically defensible in a work of art.” —Adi Robertson, The Verge