Censor (2021 film)

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Censor 2021 poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPrano Bailey-Bond
Written by
  • Prano Bailey-Bond
  • Anthony Fletcher
Produced byHelen Jones
CinematographyAnnika Summerson
Edited byMark Towns
Music byEmilie Levienaise-Farrouch
Distributed byVertigo 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.



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[edit]

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]


  1. ^ "Censor (2021)". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 9 August 2021.
  2. ^ a b "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.

External links[edit]