Citadel (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner12/07/2013

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 84 mins

Engaging British hoodie horror that delivers some decent shocks and scares and features strong performances from Aneurin Barnard and James Cosmo, but the reactionary tone leaves a bit of a nasty aftertaste.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Ciaran Foy, Citadel stars Aneurin Barnard as Tommy Cowley, a young man who watches helplessly (trapped inside a lift) as feral, syringe-wielding hoodies attack his pregnant wife in their tower block corridor. Months later, with his wife still in a coma, Tommy is now an agoraphobic single father on a rundown housing estate, but when spectral hoodies (who may or may not be real) begin targeting him, he realises he has to fight back to protect his daughter, so he teams up with a firebrand local priest (James Cosmo) who's decided to take matters into his own hands.

The Good
Rising star Aneurin Barnard is excellent as Tommy, convincing both in his horrifically realistic panic attacks and his terror at the evil monsters who have targeted his daughter. There's also terrific support from James Cosmo in full take-no-nonsense form (he gets several great lines) and from Wunmi Mosaku as a kindly nurse advocating a more liberal approach (which the film summarily rejects).

Foy's direction is effective throughout, delivering the requisite number of shocks and scares in the time-honoured fashion (lots of screeching, things jumping out at you and so on). He also achieves a high level of tension, derived from the fact that, for the majority of the film, you're never quite sure whether the creatures are supernatural, a figment of Tommy's fevered imagination or just your common or garden feral hoodies; either way, the film will have the knock-on effect of making you cross the road the next time you see someone in a hoodie, so plan your route home carefully.

The Bad
Writer-director Foy based the film on his own experiences, when he was attacked and left housebound, which perhaps goes some way to explaining both the reactionary tone and the proposed solution for dealing with the creatures. That said, the film still leaves something of a nasty aftertaste, not least because the initial attack is so utterly horrific that it wouldn't be out of place in one of the Death Wish movies.

Worth seeing?
Citadel delivers shocks and scares in efficient fashion and features strong performances from both Barnard and Cosmo, but it's often both upsetting and oppressive to watch and might have benefited from a slight change in tone.

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Content updated: 20/10/2017 13:23

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