We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
Ciaran Foy's "Citadel" is a horrifying thriller painted on a small and very dark canvas. Told through the eyes of a young husband named Tommy (Aneurin Barnard), it opens on a sweet note and quickly turns tragic. He kisses his very pregnant wife goodbye and descends in an elevator to deliver their luggage to a taxi for the trip to the hospital. When he returns to their floor, he watches helplessly through the elevator window as three hooded youngsters savagely attack her.
The door won't open, of course. The elevator forcibly returns him to the lobby, and after Tommy races up 11 flights of stairs, he finds his wife has been attacked with a hypodermic needle. Why didn't he and his wife both go down with the luggage? Not to ask.
His wife lives long enough to deliver their baby daughter, then dies, leaving Tommy a panic-crazed basket case who becomes agoraphobic and imagines he sees the three hooded monsters everywhere — hunched over, scuttling sideways, merciless.
"Citadel," ironically the name of the couple's building, is basically a three-character movie about Tommy, a priest (James Cosmo) and a helpful social worker named Marie (Wunmi Mosaku). The social worker advises Tommy to pity the poor kids, who must be from broken homes. The priest all but goes berserk in condemning the kids and exhorting Tommy that he must go into battle against them. He says they're demonic, and indeed there seems to be something demonic and wraithlike about their creepy appearances.