If there's one thing about horror that most non-fans seem to misunderstand, it's that as the genre isn't limited to frights and gore. It can be so much more than that. Sure other films do this too, but I really find horror fans embrace a little bit of everything. Horror films can and should have scares, but they also make you feel so much more than just terror. Great horror stays with you. The shivers up your spine, the hair standing on end -- this is all well and good but why do these movies touch you so?
I'm not a father or a family man and I don't typically relate to such stories or characters, but Citadel had me empathizing with its main character. Our hero's name is Tommy (Aneurin Barnard) and his need to keep his daughter safe in a run-down world is awe inspiring. I truly believe Aneurin's acting could be called Oscar worthy; he carries the film. You can see in his eyes, in the way he stands, his absolute fear of being a victim again and of losing his daughter. I say again, since Tommy's wife is attacked and left for dead in the first moments of the movie by little hoodied assailants. Tommy keeps seeing these figures everywhere; he can't escape them. The world he lives in is ramshackle at best. It seems the whole of England is falling apart. Revitalization is promised but never seems to come. Power outages are the norm and most seem to have already moved on or have already perished. Only junkies and the infirm remain. This makes Tommy's plight bleak in every way, as the movie visually illustrates. Still he struggles on despite fears of being hurt or losing his daughter, be it to social services or the hoods that haunt him.
Things take a turn for the truly terrifying when a priest (played by James Cosmo) tells him the hoods aren't children, but demons. Of course this is crazy, according to Marie (Wunmi Mosaku), the one social worker around that seems to care enough to help. They're just damaged children with nothing to lose. In the squalor they inhabit they're just trying to survive and they need love just as much as anyone.
Love. Tommy had it and it was stolen away viciously. My lip was quivering from the very start. On the brink of tears I couldn't help but hope for the best but things do not look good for Tommy.
Look out for this gem. It's stuck with me. Citadel is quite possibly going to be my pick of this year's Toronto After Dark Film Fest and it's definitely going to be one on my shelf once it's released. I applaud writer/director, Ciaran Foy, and his cast for making such a touching and scary movie. Seek it out. Tweet it. Share it with your friends. You won't be let down.
CITADEL was featured on October 22, 2012 at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival
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