Censor – Film Review
by Katie McCann
Director – Prano Bailey-Bond
Writers – Prano Bailey-Bond, Anthony Fletcher
Stars – Niamh Algar, Michael Smiley, Nicholas Burns
Censor is the first feature film from Welsh director Prano Bailey-Bond and stars Irelands own Niamh Algar. Set in Britain in the 1980s, at the height of mass hysteria around illegal horror films making their way into the country, Edith (Algar) is working
for the censor board when a film comes across her desk that directly speaks to her sister’s mysterious disappearance years earlier. As Edith begins to delve deeper into the film’s mysterious director she finds herself becoming more and more detached from reality.
Censor is less like the horror movies Edith and her colleagues are forced to watch (and ban) on a daily basis and more an intense and enthralling psychological thriller. This film hangs on the main performance and Algar really gives a stunning turn as Edith.
From the start, we sense she is a woman just about holding it together and therefore her descent feels entirely earned and unfortunately believable. Bailey-Bond is able to skillfully challenge Edith’s perception of reality, as well as our own, by using old horror film footage mixed with her own striking visual style. There are some moments that feel slightly drawn out or where the pacing of the film sags slightly but the last quarter of the film more than makes up for it.
Censor is a bold first feature from Bailey-Bond and showcases her potential as a filmmaker of great ambition. If she is the future of British horror films then I feel that it is a genre in very safe hands.