It’s easy to make a cold, bleak horror film and fill it with shadows and jump scares, but it’s a much harder thing to root the scares of your horror film into the very specific anxieties of your lead character. Ciarán Foy has manage to accomplish such a feat with Citadel, presenting the agoraphobia of its lead character in such a way that we are scared with him rather than just for him. From its first scene Citadel is built to frighten you through circumstantial trauma as seen through Tommy’s eyes rather than jump scares, as we witness Tommy lose his wife to gang of vaguely zombiefied, roving children. Months later Tommy cares for his surviving infant, but is gripped by a crippling fear of the outside world that becomes more unmanageable as the children return to finish what they started.

There’s something oppressively colorless and “samey” about the imagery of Citadel that prevents it from being a particularly iconic horror film, but there’s no doubt it’s a stellar debut and effective piece of horror filmmaking.

Perfectly slick (and in English) though it may be, anyone wanna place a bet on how long it takes a studio to option a US remake starring Elijah Wood..?

–Renn Brown

Citadel Details:

Director(s): Ciarán Foy

Screenwriter(s): Ciarán Foy

Principal Cast: Aneurin Barnard, James Cosmo, Wunmi Mosaku, Jake Wilson, Amy Shiels

The dilapidated suburbia of Edenstown casts a shadow over Tommy Cowley’s life. Trapped there by his agoraphobia since his wife was fatally attacked by twisted feral children, he now finds himself terrorized by the same mysterious hooded gang, who seem intent on taking his baby daughter.

Torn between the help of an understanding nurse and a vigilante priest, he discovers that to be free of his fears, he must finally face the demons of his past and enter the one place that he fears the most…the abandoned tower block known as the “CITADEL”.