A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Few if any positive messages. A character shows perseverance in trying to reveal what they believe to be the truth. But their quest is misguided, a result of paranoia and psychosis that leads to tragic results. Some sexism shown in the workplace.
Positive Role Models
Enid is dedicated to her work as a film censor. But she is also deeply troubled by a tragedy from her past, which clouds her judgment and soon becomes an obsession. Her parents care for her, but are also frustrated by Enid's actions. One of Enid's colleagues shows some empathy toward her, which she rejects. Others take advantage of her and talk condescendingly toward her. The cast is diverse, although Enid is very much the sole central character.
Violence & Scariness
Bloody and gory violence is shown in great detail throughout. This is often seen within the context of watching "video nasties," although the violence spills over into actual events. Beheadings, repeated blows with an axe, a head being drilled, and a syringe inserted into someone's eyeball are some of the more graphic depictions. Some of these acts are witnessed, and even carried out, by tweens and teens. Rape is mentioned on numerous occasions, as are other brutal and violent acts. While watching a gory horror film, a character is punched in the face and their blouse ripped open. They can then be heard screaming during what is presumed to be a rape -- although this is not actually shown. Jump scares, gory injuries, and hallucinations -- including a gaping wound forming a face. Multiple references to the abduction and possible murder of a seven-year-old child. The death of a parent is also mentioned. Characters are seen running scared through woods and are dragged along the ground. When a character makes unwanted sexual advances, a struggle breaks out resulting in a character falling back on a statuette, which pierces the back of their head and comes through their mouth. Mention of someone killing their two children and eating their spouse's face. Real news footage shows someone being hit by the police with a baton, resulting in bloody injury.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Comments are made about someone's attractiveness. Character asks a colleague out for a drink. Someone is seen in just a towel. Later, during an outfit change, they remove their top revealing their bra.
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There are a number of variants of "f--k" used throughout. Other language includes "s--t," "bloody hell," and "bitch." The term "pr--k tease" is used when a character rejects someone's sexual advances. Reference to someone "losing the plot."
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Products & Purchases
Brief reference to a brand of cake. A scene takes place in a video rental store, where banned films are purchased under the counter.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters are seen smoking, including in the workplace. Reference to drinking too much and having a hangover. A glass of wine is seen at a table in a restaurant. Two characters drink whiskey together, with one downing their glass in one.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Censor is a very bloody and gory British horror movie with graphic violence throughout. Set in 1985, Enid (Niamh Algar) is a film censor, whose job it is to watch "video nasties." There are few if any positive messages or role models, with Enid being a deeply troubled character, struggling to deal with a traumatic event from her past. Much of the footage from the films Enid censors are shown. This includes beheadings, heads being drilled into, and eyeballs being injected with syringes, some of which is witnessed and even carried out by children. During one viewing, someone is punched in the face and their blouse is ripped open. They are then heard screaming with the suggestion being that they are being raped. The violence is not restricted to the films Enid censors either. As her paranoia and delusions develop, she is involved in a number of gory and graphic ordeals. When someone makes unwanted sexual advances toward her, a struggle breaks out and her attacker falls back onto a statuette that comes through the back of his head and through his mouth. She is also involved in a brutal attack with an axe, which results in the death of two characters and much blood spatter. Variants of "f--k" are used throughout, along with "s--t," "bitch," and "bloody hell." Set in the 1980s, younger viewers may be surprised to see characters smoking in the workplace, and sexist and misogynistic attitudes being displayed so openly. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
A movie about "video nasties" is inevitably going to feature its fair share of blood and gore. And boy does Censor deliver on that front. This British horror movie from first-time feature director Prano Bailey-Bond is not for the squeamish. But if you have the stomach for it, then you'll be rewarded with a gripping tale about trauma, obsession, and even a fun -- albeit bloody -- revisit to the low-budget, exploitation horror movies that played out on VHS tapes in the 1980s. Indeed much of movie pays tribute to the "video nasty" genre. There's plenty of over-the-top violence, not just in the films that Enid must watch as part of her job as a film censor, but also in her own life too. Some of the scenes are incredibly gory. But while those films of the '80s often lacked a storyline, here Bailey-Bond has carefully crafted a narrative that when the blood and guts do fly, it never feels gratuitous.
Bailey-Bond is helped enormously by a superb performance from Algar (The Shadow of Violence) as Enid, who is in pretty much every scene. There's a scene where the camera focuses on Enid's face as she watches a movie and though we don't bear witness to the footage, her eyes perfectly capture the horror of what she's seeing, so we don't need to. Censor won't be for everyone and it's certainly not the kind of film for a family night in. But for those who grew up during the "video nasty" era of the 1980s, there's much to be found with this gory revisit to a bygone age.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.