On the day that Tommy and his pregnant wife are due to leave their squalid tenement building (the Citadel of the title) for a new council house, she is brutally attacked by a gang of feral youths. in front of him. Twelve months on and Tommy is suffering from agraphobia (an incredible performance from actor Aneurin Barnard), while his wife lies in a coma in hospital. When his baby is kidnapped, the terrified Tommy must enlist the help of a deranged priest to return to the Citadel and rescue his child before it is too late. Director Ciarán Foy delivers a lesson in abject terror in one of the scariest films of the year.
Director Ciaran Foy talks to Twitch about how the film was inspired by a violent attack that he experienced when he was younger:
When I was 18 I was the victim of a completely unprovoked and vicious attack by a gang of kids who were maybe 14 years old. I was beaten with a hammer and I had a dirty syringe held to my throat. The scariest part about it was that they didn’t want anything or take anything — there was absolutely no reason for it. It left me with this trauma that eventually developed into agoraphobia. So I was housebound for a time, still living with my parents. At the time, I was scared shitless to even look at the front door, never mind contemplating walking outside. The door just became this Kubrick-like monolithic shape, which became important in Citadel eventually, with the design of the towers, the tomb etc. The idea for Citadel didn’t come about until I left film school and I was toying around with various ideas and concepts. The one thing I had was the idea of a creature that could see fear. Then it just occurred to me one day, “Why don’t I make a nightmare version of what I went through?” In a strange way, the more I thought about it, the more I thought that to really do an exploration of agoraphobia and the things I was going through, it almost required you to go into the fantastic.
Recommended rating: Cert 18