Censor (2021 film)

Last updated

Censor 2021 poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Prano Bailey-Bond
Written by
  • Prano Bailey-Bond
  • Anthony Fletcher
Produced byHelen Jones
CinematographyAnnika Summerson
Edited byMark Towns
Music by Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch
Distributed by Vertigo Releasing [1]
Release dates
  • 28 January 2021 (2021-01-28)(Sundance) [2]
  • 20 August 2021 (2021-08-20)(United Kingdom)
Running time
84 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office$361,699 [3] [4]

Censor is a 2021 British psychological horror film directed by Prano Bailey-Bond. It was produced from a screenplay by Bailey-Bond and Anthony Fletcher. The film stars Niamh Algar, Nicholas Burns, Vincent Franklin, Sophia La Porta, Adrian Schiller and Michael Smiley. [5]


Censor had its world premiere at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival on 28 January 2021. [2] It received the Méliès d'Or for Best European Fantastic Film. [6]


In 1985, Enid Baines works for the British Board of Film Classification during the height of the Video Nasty controversy. Enid's co-workers call her "Little Miss Perfect" due to her strictness in recommending that violent content be cut or banned. While Enid is having dinner with her parents, they discuss the disappearance of Enid's sister Nina when the two were little. Enid's parents have since declared Nina legally dead, but Enid is convinced that her sister is still missing.

Shortly after a man murders his wife and children, a tabloid newspaper links the killings to a film Enid had rated several months prior, naming her as the censor who approved it. Enid starts to receive phone calls threatening and insulting her on a regular basis. One day, Enid is approached by Doug Smart, a film producer who claims that a veteran horror director named Frederick North has personally requested that she screen one of his old films, Don't Go in the Church. During the screening, Enid notices that events depicted parallel her memories of her sister's disappearance.

Investigating North further by acquiring a copy of one of his banned films, Enid notices that the film's lead, Alice Lee, bears a resemblance to her missing sister. Enid soon becomes obsessed with meeting North, believing that Lee is her missing sister, and needs to be saved from the exploitation film industry. When Enid visits Smart, hoping to learn North's whereabouts, he tells her that North is making a sequel to Don't Go in the Church near his home, and attempts to rape her. Enid rejects Smart, causing him to become more aggressive before Enid pushes him back, tripping and accidentally impaling him on a film award. Smart dies as Enid stares in shock, unable to process what has happened.

After stealing North's address from her work, Enid finds the set of North's latest film, where he and the crew assume her to be an actress. During a climactic scene, Enid kills an actor named Charles with an axe, thinking that he was going to hurt her "sister". A terrified Alice flees from Enid as she begs for Alice to "please be her" before collapsing in the woods. A remote control appears in Enid's hand, and she presses a button.

Enid is awoken by a seemingly happy vision of her sister, thanking Enid for finding her. Nina and Enid leave the woods and drive to their parent's home. During the drive, the car radio announces that all violent films have been banned, crime has been eradicated, and unemployment no longer exists. Enid's fantasy is sporadically interrupted, revealing that she has kidnapped Alice, who is begging Enid's parents for help as Enid smiles. The camera then pans out of a TV screen, and a VHS tape with the title Censor comes out of a VCR, implying that the film was just a movie someone else was watching.



Filming primarily took place in Leeds and Bradford in West Yorkshire, England. [7] The set of 'Gerald's Videos' store was created in Pudsey. [8] The film was primarily shot on 35mm film, with some Super8 and VHS footage. [9]


The film had its world premiere at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival on 28 January 2021 in the Midnight section. On 23 February 2021, Magnolia Pictures acquired the US distribution rights to the film, with plans to release it through its Magnet Releasing banner in theatres in the United States on 11 June 2021. [10] It was released across the UK and Ireland on 20 August 2021 via Vertigo Releasing. Additionally, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer owns the film's worldwide home media rights and international television rights, especially on Blu-ray releases in which the 2021 MGM logo is shown at the beginning and end of this film.

Critical reception

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 89% based on reviews from 149 critics, with an average rating of 7.30/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Occasionally uneven but bold and viscerally effective, Censor marks a bloody good step forward for British horror." [11] Metacritic , which uses a weighted average , assigned the film a score of 69 out of 100, based on 26 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". [12] Writing for RogerEbert.com, Simon Abrams concluded that "Censor is, in [a] sense, a success, if only because it winds you up, and leaves you wanting a lot more where it came from." [13] Mark Kermode of The Observer rated the film five out of five stars. [14] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian described the film as a "very elegant and disquieting debut" and rated the film four out of five stars. [15] Kevin Maher of The Times called the film a "half-baked horror" that is "all context and no content" and rated the film two out of five stars. [16]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Clea DuVall</span> American actress, writer, producer, and director

Clea Helen D'Etienne DuVall is an American actress, writer, producer, and director. She is known for her appearances in the films The Faculty (1998), She's All That; But I'm a Cheerleader; Girl, Interrupted ; Identity, 21 Grams, The Grudge (2004), Zodiac (2007), Conviction (2010), and Argo (2012).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mark Kermode</span> English film critic

Mark James Patrick Kermode is an English film critic, musician, radio presenter, television presenter and podcaster. He is the chief film critic for The Observer, contributes to the magazine Sight & Sound, presents a weekly Scala Radio film music show and the BBC Four documentary series Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema, and is a co-presenter of the film-review podcast Kermode & Mayo's Take alongside long-time collaborator Simon Mayo.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mary Elizabeth Winstead</span> American actress and singer

Mary Elizabeth Winstead is an American actress and singer. Her first significant role was that of Jessica Bennett on the NBC soap opera Passions (1999–2000). She went on to appear in series such as Tru Calling (2004) and films including the superhero film Sky High (2005). She came to wider attention for her roles in the horror series Wolf Lake (2001–2002), the giant monster film Monster Island (2004), the supernatural horror film Final Destination 3 (2006), the slasher film Black Christmas (2006), and the exploitation horror film Death Proof (2007).

<i>Vampires Suck</i> 2010 American vampire parody film

Vampires Suck is a 2010 American parody vampire film written and directed by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. It stars Jenn Proske, Matt Lanter, Christopher N. Riggi, Ken Jeong, Anneliese van der Pol, and Arielle Kebbel. The film is a parody of The Twilight Saga franchise. Just like the previous Friedberg and Seltzer movies, the film was panned by critics for its humor and plot. 20th Century Fox theatrically released the film on August 18, 2010.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Killer Films</span> American independent film production company

Killer Films is a New York City-based independent film production company founded by movie producers Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler in 1995. The company has produced a number of the most acclaimed American independent films over the past two decades including Far From Heaven, Boys Don't Cry, One Hour Photo, Kids, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Happiness, Velvet Goldmine, Safe, I Shot Andy Warhol, Swoon, I'm Not There, Kill Your Darlings, Still Alice and Carol. Killer Films executive produced Todd Haynes' five episode HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce featuring Kate Winslet and Guy Pearce, which went on to win five Emmys, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

<i>Excision</i> (film) 2012 horror film

Excision is a 2012 American horror film written and directed by Richard Bates, Jr., and starring AnnaLynne McCord, Traci Lords, Ariel Winter, Roger Bart, Jeremy Sumpter, Malcolm McDowell, Matthew Gray Gubler, Marlee Matlin, Ray Wise, and John Waters. The film is a feature-length adaptation of the 2008 short film of the same name. Excision premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Excision played in the category of Park City at Midnight.

<i>Oculus</i> (film) 2013 American horror film directed by Mike Flanagan

Oculus is a 2013 American supernatural psychological horror film co-written, edited, and directed by Mike Flanagan. It is based on his short film Oculus: Chapter 3 – The Man with the Plan, and stars Karen Gillan and Brenton Thwaites as two young adult siblings who are convinced that an antique mirror is responsible for the death and misfortune that their family had suffered.

<i>31</i> (film) 2016 American film

31 is a 2016 American horror film written, directed, and produced by Rob Zombie, and starring an ensemble cast featuring Sheri Moon Zombie, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Meg Foster, Richard Brake, Jane Carr, Judy Geeson, E.G. Daily, and Malcolm McDowell.

<i>Under the Shadow</i> 2016 film

Under the Shadow is a 2016 Persian-language psychological horror film written and directed by Iranian-born Babak Anvari as his directorial debut. A mother and daughter are haunted by a mysterious evil in 1980s Tehran, during the War of the Cities. The film stars Narges Rashidi, Avin Manshadi, Bobby Naderi, Ray Haratian, and Arash Marandi.

<i>Complete Unknown</i> 2016 film

Complete Unknown is a 2016 drama mystery thriller film, directed by Joshua Marston, from a screenplay by Marston and Julian Sheppard. It stars Rachel Weisz, Michael Shannon, Kathy Bates and Danny Glover. It had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2016. The film was released on August 26, 2016, by Amazon Studios and IFC Films.

<i>Come Away</i> 2020 fantasy drama film

Come Away is a 2020 fantasy drama film directed by Brenda Chapman and starring David Oyelowo, Anna Chancellor, Angelina Jolie, Clarke Peters, David Gyasi, with Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Caine and Derek Jacobi. The film is a homage to the stories of Peter Pan and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. In this movie, the title characters of those stories are siblings who try to help their parents overcome the death of their eldest son.

<i>Amulet</i> (film) 2020 film directed by Romola Garai

Amulet is a 2020 British horror film written and directed by Romola Garai and starring Carla Juri, Imelda Staunton and Alec Secareanu. It premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, was released in the United States on 24 July 2020, in UK cinemas on 28 January 2022 and was Mark Kermode's film of the week for the Kermode and Mayo's Film Review programme on BBC 5 Live.

<i>Scare Me</i> 2020 American film

Scare Me is an 2020 American comedy horror film written, directed, and produced by Josh Ruben. It stars Aya Cash, Ruben, Rebecca Drysdale and Chris Redd.

<i>Calm with Horses</i> 2019 Irish drama film

Calm with Horses is a 2019 Irish crime drama film directed by Nick Rowland in his feature debut, and written by Joseph Murtagh. It concerns an ex-boxer who works as an enforcer for a criminal family in rural Ireland while providing for his autistic son. The film stars Cosmo Jarvis, Barry Keoghan, Niamh Algar, Ned Dennehy, Kiljan Moroney and David Wilmot. It is adapted from the short story of the same name from the collection "Young Skins" by Colin Barrett. The film was released in the United States under the title The Shadow of Violence.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Niamh Algar</span> Irish actress

Niamh Algar is an Irish actress. She is known for winning Best Actress in a Leading Role - TV Drama at the 2020 IFTA Film & Drama Awards for her performance in The Virtues. Other roles include MotherFatherSon, Raised by Wolves, and Pure. In 2021, she appeared in Wrath of Man and Censor. For her role in Calm with Horses she was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

<i>The Wonder</i> (film) 2022 film

The Wonder is a 2022 period drama film directed by Sebastián Lelio from a screenplay by Emma Donoghue, Lelio, and Alice Birch. It is based on the 2016 novel of the same name by Donoghue. The film stars Florence Pugh, Tom Burke, Elaine Cassidy, Kíla Lord Cassidy, Niamh Algar, Toby Jones, and Ciarán Hinds.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Prano Bailey-Bond</span> Welsh film director and writer

Prano Bailey-Bond is a Welsh film director and writer. Her debut feature film, Censor, premiered in 2021.

Deceit is a British four-part television drama miniseries, based on the true story of a controversial undercover operation carried out by the Metropolitan Police in 1992. Niamh Algar stars as the undercover police officer, codenamed "Lizzie James", who attempts to entrap a suspect in a murder investigation. It premiered on Channel 4 on 13 August 2021, and all subsequent episodes were made available for streaming on All 4 that same day after broadcast. The series, written by Emilia di Girolamo and produced by Story Films, received critical acclaim.

Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch is a French pianist and composer based in London. She signed with FatCat Records' post-classical imprint 130701 in 2014 and Manners McDade in 2019. Her original score for Sarah Gavron's Rocks (2019) was nominated for a British Independent Film Award.

<i>Emergency</i> (2022 film) 2022 film by Carey Williams

Emergency is a 2022 American comedy-drama thriller film directed by Carey Williams from a screenplay by KD Dávila. It is a feature-length adaptation of Williams and Dávila's 2018 short film of the same name. It premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Distributed by Amazon Studios, it had a limited release on May 20, 2022, followed by an Amazon Prime release on May 27, 2022.


  1. "Censor (2021)". British Board of Film Classification . Retrieved 9 August 2021.
  2. 1 2 "Sundance - FPG". Sundance. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  3. "Censor". Box Office Mojo . IMDb . Retrieved 16 July 2021.
  4. "Censor". The Numbers . Nash Information Services, LLC. Retrieved 24 July 2021.
  5. Grater, Tom (16 December 2020). "First Look At Niamh Algar In Sundance Midnight Selection 'Censor'". Deadline Hollywood . Archived from the original on 4 January 2021. Retrieved 3 January 2021.
  6. Mack Correia, Andrew (17 October 2021). "Sitges 2021 Méliès d'Or Awards: Prano Bailey-Bond's Censor Wins Best Film". Screen Anarchy. Retrieved 23 October 2021.
  7. "Censor". Screen Yorkshire. Archived from the original on 24 August 2021. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  8. Macnamara, Felicity (19 October 2019). "Film crews in Pudsey as work starts on new horror film Censor". Telegraph & Argus . Archived from the original on 21 October 2019. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  9. Jones, Emma (19 August 2021). "Censor: Video nasty film explores the power of horror". BBC News . Archived from the original on 23 August 2021. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  10. Debruge, Peter (15 December 2020). "Sundance Film Festival Lineup Features 38 First-Time Directors, Including Rebecca Hall and Robin Wright". Variety . Archived from the original on 1 July 2021. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  11. "Censor Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes . Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  12. "Censor". Metacritic . Red Ventures . Retrieved 25 May 2022.
  13. Abrams, Simon (11 June 2021). "Censor". RogerEbert.com . Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  14. Kermode, Mark (22 August 2021). "Censor review – a brilliantly adventurous horror debut". The Observer . ISSN   1756-3224. Archived from the original on 24 August 2021. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  15. Bradshaw, Peter (29 January 2021). "Censor review – disturbing descent into video nastiness". The Guardian . ISSN   1756-3224. Archived from the original on 24 August 2021. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  16. Maher, Kevin (20 August 2021). "Censor review — horror about scary movies falls flat" . The Times . Retrieved 24 August 2021.