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CITADEL (2012)

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Irish horror/thriller tells of young husband and father Tommy (Aneurin Barnard) whose pregnant wife (Amy Shiels) is assaulted by a band of deformed, homeless children and is placed in a coma from the savageness of their attack. His daughter is born healthy, but nine months later, his wife dies. This triggers a sever case of agoraphobia in Tommy which he is going to therapy for. But the vicious gang is still out there and stalking his little girl, Elsa (Harry Saunders). When she is abducted by them, he must get over his fear based condition and team with a hard nosed priest to venture into the vacant building that these fiends call home and get his baby back.

Flick is written and directed by Irish filmmaker Ciaran Foy (Sinister 2) and is a decent horror, though not entirely successful. Allegedly born from a personal incident, the flick presents a tale of a man driven into hiding by his own fears. This is one of the parts of the film that also wasn’t as successful as it needed to be, as Tommy was almost too much of a whimpering sap to really get behind. It’s understandable that he has been traumatized by the attack and murder of his wife, but the character comes off a bit too weak-kneed and his constant whining gets annoying after awhile. You’d think raising a baby daughter alone would give him focus and strength, but it only does when her abduction leaves him no other choice…by that point, it’s not that convincing that he would finally grow a pair, after sitting through an hour of his whimpering. The other aspect is Foy making his vicious gang of feral kids into some kind of mutants. Why? The explanation is a bit vague and convoluted as they seem to have been affected by eating some kind of mold or growth in their abandoned building and now that are blinded and can only see by sensing fear and by hearing their victims. It seems like an obvious plot device to make sneaking into their liar easier as keeping your cool and being quiet can get you right past them. It would be far scarier if these were actual heartless and cruel but very human kids than giving an excuse for their violent behavior by turning them into monsters out of Neil Marshall’s The Decent. Still, Foy does present some tense and disturbing sequences as these creatures hunt his child and try to take her from him. There are some brutally violent sequences that work very well and some atmospheric scenes in the run-down and abandoned buildings the film is set in. Foy does make good use of his dreary urban Irish locations and has a good visual eye.

Cast are fine. Aneurin Barnard is serviceable as Tommy and it is not his fault that the script made a bit too much of a wuss out of him. He plays the part well, though the transformation from cowering and frightened wimp into hero wasn’t as convincing. The only other leads are James Cosmo as a bullish priest with a extreme dislike for our feral band and a mouth like a truck driver. He had far more cojones than Tommy. Rounding out is Wunmi Mosaku who is a nurse who befriends Tommy and makes the mistake of feeling sympathetic to what she sees as a misunderstood band of kids.

Overall, this was an OK thriller that just didn’t quite hit the mark. There were some disturbing sequences and some effective atmosphere, but the lead was a bit too wimpy for the story’s own good and making it’s young villains into actual monsters seemed like an unnecessary plot device when real humans would have been more chilling. Worth a look but not deserving of some of the praise it’s gotten.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1/2 hoodies.

Men's Textured-Fleece Zip Hoodies - Medium Heather Gray



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