Citadel – Ireland, 2012 – reviews

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‘They see your fear’

Citadel is a 2012 Irish psychological horror film written and directed by Ciaran Foy, in his feature film debut. The film stars Aneurin Barnard, as Tommy, a widower who must raise his baby alone, after an attack by a gang leaves his wife dead and him suffering from agoraphobia. It is an example of “hoodie horror”.

Tommy (Aneurin Barnard) and Joanne (Amy Shiels), who is pregnant, live in a dilapidated apartment complex. One day, when Tommy is in an elevator, Joanne is threatened by a group of teenagers, all wearing hoodies. Tommy watches helplessly as the gang attack his wife, desperately trying to exit the elevator. He finds her beaten, with a syringe in her stomach.

In the hospital, Joanne survives and gives birth to Elsa (Harry Saunders), a healthy girl. However, Joanne remains in a coma for several months, eventually being taken off life support. Grief-stricken, Tommy is consoled by a friendly nurse, Marie (Wunmi Mosaku), who attempts to help him with his agoraphobia, the result of his traumatic experience…

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Reviews:

“This is a basic story, simply and directly told by Irish writer-director Ciaran Foy. He doesn’t try to explain too much, he doesn’t depend on special effects and stays just this side of the unbelievable. As Tommy, Aneurin Barnard is very effective. He trembles and sweats with fear, he would seem paranoid if it didn’t seem the “demons” weren’t really there, and if they hadn’t really killed his wife.” Roger Ebert

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“The structure was in place for Citadel to rise above its tendencies towards melodrama, a trope evident in Tommy’s constant coddling, but the triumphant finish doesn’t wipe away the questionable handling of its main character and his interactions with the crumbling world around him.” Drew Tinnin, Dread Central

“Since they’re all wearing hoodies to hide their faces, it’s actually kind of similar to Them (Ils) at times, especially during the centerpiece home invasion scene where he has to barricade himself in the bathroom. Foy wisely never lets the film get too bogged down in their motivations or an explanation for their powers…” Horror Movie a Day

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Filming locations:

Glasgow, Scotland, UK

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