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Citadel review

Citadel yellow light Aneurin Barnard

A familiar story of sinister creature frights and psychological horror gets a little boost from a gloomy mood of urban decay and isolation.
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Poor Tommy Cowley (Aneurin Barnard) can barely stand to leave the house, his agoraphobia is that bad. But he has little choice now: he’s the last one living in his condemned British housing estate (like projects in the U.S.), and the only bus in and out of the remote estate is about to stop running for good, so he’s gonna have to get out. His fear isn’t without cause, however: the complex of abandoned apartment buildings is infested with menacing, hoodie-wearing children — if they are children anymore — and it was an unprovoked, out-of-the-blue attack by them that killed his wife and left him alone with their infant daughter… and infected him with a terror that has him convinced the strange child-things are after the baby. Irish writer and director Ciaran Foy makes his feature debut here, and as psychological horror, it works best early on, when Foy and Barnard make Tommy’s terror palpable and commiserative, and when the gloomy mood of urban decay and isolation is at its peak. Its second half is a more familiar tale of creature frights, if deployed with a high quotient of sinister thrills. I’ll be on the lookout to see what Foy gets up to next.

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