You'll feel Aneurin Barnard's fear in fresh thriller Citadel.
Citadel (Ciaran Foy). 85 minutes. Opens Friday (November 16). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNN
One of the simplest and most direct thrillers in a while, Citadel arrives fresh from the Toronto After Dark Festival to twist the nerves of a much larger audience.
Writer/director Ciaran Foy focuses on Tommy (Aneurin Barnard), an agoraphobic young father who must overcome his fears to save his infant daughter from a fate worse than death when she's targeted by a pack of hoodie-clad malevolents from the abandoned projects - possibly the same ones who assaulted Tommy's wife nine months earlier.
Initially, Foy's narrative is so spare that Citadel feels like a short inflated to feature length, but when things properly get rolling in the second half, it plays as a solid, uncompromising little shocker.
The premise is ingeniously rooted in urban legends and existing horror movies - I won't spoil it by saying which ones, but you'll figure it out - and the performances are first-rate. Barnard does a fine job playing the terrified lead, and James Cosmo provides an unexpectedly complex interpretation of the bellicose priest who becomes Tommy's only ally. It's a barking-madman role that seems written for the bluster of Brian Blessed or Ray Winstone, but Cosmo gives it his own specific spin.