An agoraphobic widower (Aneurin Barnard) receives help from a rogue priest (James Cosmo) when the same hooded predators who slaughtered his wife abduct his infant daughter.
Citadel is a 2012 Irish psychological horror film written and directed by Ciaran Foy, in his feature film debut. It was filmed in Glasgow, Scotland. The film stars Aneurin Barnard, as Tommy, a widower who must raise his baby alone, after an attack by a gang leaves his wife dead and him suffering from agoraphobia. It is an example of "hoodie horror".
Citadel tells the story of widower and single father Tommy Cowley, a man inflicted with chronic agoraphobia since the day his wife was attacked. He was unable to protect her. He lives in Edenstown, the council estate from hell. Here he finds himself terrorized by a gang of syringe wielding feral children, who are intent on taking his baby daughter. With the help of a kind Nurse and a renegade Priest, Tommy learns the nightmarish truth surrounding these hooded children. He also learns that to be free of his fears, he must finally face the demons of his past and enter the one place he fears the most - The abandoned Tower block known as the Citadel
Tommy (Aneurin Barnard) and Joanne (Amy Shiels), who is pregnant, live in a dilapidated apartment complex. One day, when Tommy is in an elevator, Joanne is threatened by a group of teenagers, all wearing hoodies. Tommy watches helplessly as the gang attack his wife, desperately trying to exit the elevator. He finds her beaten, with a syringe in her stomach. In the hospital, Joanne survives and gives birth to Elsa (Harry Saunders), a healthy girl. However, Joanne remains in a coma for several months, eventually being taken off life support. Grief-stricken, Tommy is consoled by a friendly nurse, Marie (Wunmi Mosaku), who attempts to help him with his agoraphobia, the result of his traumatic experience.
At Joannes funeral, Tommy meets a foul-mouthed priest (James Cosmo) who warns him that the gang will be back for his daughter. The next day, several kids in hoodies break into his apartment and ransack the place, apparently looking for his daughter. Tommy, desperate for help, calls Marie, but the call is disconnected before he can explain the situation. Marie finds Tommy barricaded in his bathroom, wielding a hammer. Trying to calm him down, Marie disputes that the same gang were looking to kidnap his daughter, instead suggesting that hes simply the victim of two random, violent attacks by different groups of teenagers. Unconvinced, Tommy demands to see the priest again, and Marie offers to help.
The priest wants to destroy the apartment complex, which he says has become a nesting place for creatures that are no longer human. Blind and feral, they feed on fear, kidnapping children and turning them into creatures like themselves. Danny (Jake Wilson) was partially transformed, before the priest rescued him. Danny, though blind, can sense fear and protect others from being detected. Overwhelmed, Tommy refuses to help the priest and returns to Maries apartment. Marie doesnt believe the story either, and she expresses empathy toward the youths, saying that they need someone to care about them. The next day, Tommy and Marie take walk in a bad part of town and are confronted by teenagers in hoodies. Marie attempts to reason with them, but they kill her. Tommy attempts to flee, but they kidnap Elsa.
Desperate to save Elsa, Tommy demands help from the priest. Reluctantly, the priest agrees to help Tommy, but only if Tommy will help blow up the apartment complex. They proceed to wire the complex with home-made explosives, but Tommy separates from the others, when he hears a baby crying. It turns out to be a trap, but the priest sacrifices himself to save Tommy and Danny. Before he dies, the priest reveals himself as the father of the original infected kids. Tommy and Danny make their way to the basement, where they find Elsa and many other children in cages. Danny, scared, reveals that he never had the power to protect anyone, but Tommy leads them to safety. They watch from afar as explosions go off, destroying the complex.Aneurin Barnard as Tommy
James Cosmo as Priest
Jake Wilson as Danny
Wunmi Mosaku as Marie
Harry Saunders as Elsa
Amy Shiels as Joanne
Production took five years to get off the ground. Shooting took place in Glasgow, Scotland.
Director Ciaran Foy based the film on his own experiences, including an attack by youths in hoodies, who threatened him with a dirty syringe. The youths did not steal anything from him, leaving him confused as to their motivation. Foy was left agoraphobic by the experience, using the film as a method of catharsis.
Foy was influenced by Stanley Kubrick, David Cronenberg, Adrian Lyne, and Chris Cunningham.
Citadel received mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 53% based on 30 reviews, with an average rating of 5.9/10. On Metacritic it has a 62/100, based on 13 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
In a mixed review, Jeannette Catsoulis, of The New York Times, says the film "occasionally veers into ludicrousness" and has an "atavistic pulse". In a negative review, John DeFore, of the Hollywood Reporter, cited the overtones of class warfare and poor timing, given the shooting of Trayvon Martin.
In a more positive review, Roger Ebert rated the film 3 out of 4 stars, citing young people in hoodies as being inherently scary. In another positive review, Noel Murray, of The A.V. Club, compared it to Roman Polanskis Repulsion, calling Citadel "a bare-bones man-against-his-worst-fears white knuckler, shot through deep, menacing shadows."