What can one do if just the simple idea of going outside evokes a staggering fear? The main character of Ciaran Foy’s feature film directorial debut Citadel suffers from agoraphobia due to a vicious attack he witnessed which resulted in his wife going into a coma. Tommy played by Welsh actor Aneurin Barnard was unable to help his wife because he was trapped inside an elevator and was forced to watch his pregnant wife beaten. Tommy’s daughter survives but unfortunately his wife is taken off life support nine months later as she never woke up from the coma. Tommy is forced to face his fear everyday as he knows he has to take care of his daughter.
Written and directed by Foy, he depicts a very dreary, gritty, abandoned world. The town Tommy lives in looks war torn and forgotten; leaving very little to be grateful for. The town is plastered with flyers for missing children and you tend to wonder if maybe Tommy is the only one left. The extra ingredient Foy adds to this world is the involvement of somewhat demonic, violently rabid, deformed children who feed on fear. This sick, psychotic cult wears grey hoodies and sweatpants which is freaky as hell because when you see a bunch of them you automatically think of children. Their attacks are random and extremely vicious; they’re reminiscent to a giant gorilla pounding down on the ground. It is revealed by a Priest played by James Cosmo (Game of Thrones) that they are demons that feed on fear, much like a heat indicator that can only see objects that are fearful as they appear as a bright purple light. With all this information thrown in it’s incredibly difficult to watch Tommy try and save his daughter, who has been kidnapped by these demon children. What can a father do when he is afraid of everything?
Barnard seemed right for the role as he looked completely down and out even when doing the simplest task. His emotions evoke such fear and anxiety that you can feel Tommy’s pain. Cosmo is wonderful as he portrays such strong qualities that he feels right as the mentoring Priest who knows all about these creatures. The film is shot wonderfully with the attack scenes bringing you to the edge of your seat as it mixes both fear and action. The film seems drawn out on some scenes but keeps you intrigued as you want to discover more about these creatures. I was pleased with Foy’s feature film directorial debut as it keeps you guessing what’s coming next and the payoff was entertaining.
3.5 out of 5