Combustible Celluloid
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With: Niamh Algar, Nicholas Burns, Vincent Franklin, Michael Smiley, Sophia La Porta, Adrian Schiller, Clare Holman, Andrew Havill, Felicity Montagu, Guillaume Delaunay
Written by: Prano Bailey-Bond, Anthony Fletcher
Directed by: Prano Bailey-Bond
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 84
Date: 04/09/2021

Censor (2021)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Hello Nasties

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Featured at the 2021 SF Film Festival — and available to stream April 9 through April 18 — Prano Bailey-Bond's Censor is a clever, creeping meta-horror story that recalls a time when the genre was considered dangerous. It reminded me of Peter Strickland's Berberian Sound Studio, in all the best ways. Niamh Algar is highly effective as the dewey, wounded Enid Baines, the title censor, whose job in the early 1980s is to go through "Video Nasties" frame by frame, and cut out anything that could be considered morally corrupting. While viewing one film, she becomes alarmed by a story of two sisters that mirrors her own life, and the day her own sister went missing. So she tracks down the film's director to find answers, and instead enters a world of nightmares. Director Bailey-Bond, whose feature directing debut this is, really sinks into the forbidden world of those old VHS chillers, changing her aspect ratio and using fuzzy FX and stark, bold lighting to suggest menace as well as an increasingly slippery grasp of reality.

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