I don’t know how to start this review (or whatever you want to call it) out, so I’ll start with a warning. The following essay will reference and talk heavily about actual historical events involving murder, mass murder, traumatic events, and detailed events of tragedies.
This pretentious excuse of a blog post will also contain light spoilers for the film Censor. You have been warned, read ahead with caution.
April 20th, 1999: Two teens, Eric Harris and Dylan Kebold, walk into Columbine High School armed with multiple weapons. They commit an unspeakable atrocity resulting in the death of 12 students, the injury of 24 students, and trauma and panic for millions across the nation. The resulting tragedy was theorized to be caused by many things like the two boys being social outcasts or frequent bullying, but the main focus for many was the finding that was made when inspecting their homes afterwards, learning that the boys were avid players of the 1993 fps game DOOM, among many other violent video games. This is what many people place the blame on, saying that the violent video games had encouraged their violent aggressions and desensitized them.
So why do I bring this up? Because Censor, is all about placing the blame of attrocities commited on violent media. The job of Censors in the film is to edit or ban violent films in hopes of lowering the crime rate in the UK, the film indulges and celebrates the underlying horror of violence in films, knowing when to show its violence and when to imply it. The horror of the film is knowing its a film within itself.
The idea of violence of media encouraging more violence in real life though rare is a common fear among many but hand and hand films progressively became more and more violent, the best example being the Saw franchise. The first film was violent but more focused on the mystery and suspension, while the later films become more gratuitous torture porn than suspenseful thriller.
Censor luckily, being a critique of this rampant increase of violence in shlocky horror films, knows how to swing hard but be modest in its violence letting the horror more come from atmosphere and tension, than senseless violence. The ending being the best example hiding its horrorfying ending with a literal censor.
The film is best experienced blind, and if you have the time and are willing to excuse it for a few of its outdated writing, Videodrome is a perfect film to double feature it with.
Censor closes you in and holds you tight, asking “what do you want?” as it shakes you down. The atmosphere is thick with tension and gives you a new fear of disillusionment. What do you want from a horror film? Why do you watch such senseless violence? The way we glorify and excitingly cheer for violence in films, makes what we can’t see all the more terrifying.
Censor is my underrated horror film for 2021, a must watch for any psychological horror film fans that want to feel like they’re being strangled by the ever claustrophobic atmosphere and tone, the senseless violence there only to remind you what a hollow shell horror had become. The horror you cannot see is the horror you should fear the most, and that’s what Censor brings to the table.