Censor is a 2021 psychological thriller written and directed by Prano Bailey-Bond, and this is her first full-length feature film. The movie is set in the 80s and follows a censor in charge of approving Video Nasties. One of the films she is reviewing reminds her of an incident involving her sister, and she sets off looking for her missing sibling. The movie has Niamh Algar in the lead role and is an intriguing take on the 80s when VHS Movies got people very worried about what gory films would do to society. Here’s the plot and ending of the movie Censor explained; spoilers ahead.
To find where to stream any movie or series based on your country, use This Is Barry’s Where To Watch. Oh, and if this article doesn’t answer all of your questions, drop me a comment or an FB chat message, and I’ll get you the answer. You can find other film explanations using the search option on top of the site.
Hollywordle – Check out my new Hollywood Wordle game!
Where To Watch?
To find where to stream any movie or series based on your country, use This Is Barry’s Where To Watch.
Oh, and if this article doesn’t answer all of your questions, drop me a comment or an FB chat message, and I’ll get you the answer. You can find other film explanations using the search option on top of the site.
Here are links to the key aspects of the movie:
- – What are Video Nasties?
- – Movie Meaning
- – Plot Explained
- – What happened to Nina?
- – Enid
- – Deranged and The Amnesiac Killer
- – Don’t Go In The Church
- – Did Enid Kill Doug?
- – Did Fredrick North kidnap Nina?
- – Does Enid kill Fredrick North and Beastman?
- – Ending Explained
Censor: What are Video Nasties?
Video Nasties was slang in the early to mid-80s in the UK for excessively violent and gory films released directly to tape. These films resulted in a moral panic in society that led people to believe these movies would create the next generation of murderers. The worry was, as opposed to a cinema hall that could control the audience, kids could potentially get their hands on these tapes and re-watch the violence endlessly. The coincidentally increasing crime rates (at the time) were also attributed to these films. Censors were put in place to screen every Video Nasty and either ban it or approve the film with plenty of cuts.
Censor Movie Meaning
As Censor’s director explains in this interview, there was a certain amount of hypocrisy concerning the concept of censors. The authorities believed that while the general public’s morals could be corrupted by watching these gory movies, the same film would somehow not affect the censors. The movie follows the life of Enid, a censor, and how her job impacts her life.
Censor Movie Plot Explained
I think we need to address the most pressing question that the movie brings up, and unfortunately, there isn’t hard evidence one way or the other.
Censor: What happened to Nina? Did Enid kill Nina?
Yes, Enid caused Nina’s death and has blocked this out of her conscious memory. As kids, Enid took Nina to a forest and nudged Nina to venture deeper. While Enid may not have hacked Nina to death, Enid did make Nina do something reckless, causing her death.
We know the trauma was so intense that Enid has suppressed this memory because of the vast amounts of guilt in her heart. Therefore it was probably not a kidnapper who took Nina away because that wouldn’t make it entirely Enid’s fault. I’m guessing that Enid got Nina to go off the marked trail, and Nina fell and injured herself and possibly went unconscious. Enid, overcome with guilt and shock, probably left the area. Nina may have been unconscious but still alive at that point, which is why Enid believes that Nina is not dead even in the present day. The guilt of something this grave can surely result in repressed memory.
Why was Nina’s body never found?
Well, Enid’s trauma makes her forget the event and details of where they were. So when her parents and authorities try to question her, she’s unable to recollect any details. There was an effort to search for Nina, but no one knew how deep and which part of the forest the girls went to and hence Nina was never found.
Years pass, and in the present day, Enid works as a censor who takes her job very seriously. She is precise, meticulous, and considers herself to protect people. Enid continues to believe Nina is still alive and that she will find her one day. As shown in one scene, we can imagine Enid approaching many redheads, hoping it is Nina. Enid’s parents want closure and go ahead and create Nina’s death certificate dated the day of her disappearance. Enid is disturbed by this and rebels, saying, “I would have known if she was dead”. Once again, this indicates that when Enid left Nina in the forest, she might have still been alive.
Deranged, The Amnesiac Killer and the relevance to Censor
Deranged, a movie that Enid happens to pass, has scenes of a person eating his victim’s faces. Unfortunately, somebody kills his wife and eats her face. The media declares that the movie influenced the crime, and the censors are responsible for passing it. This arc is significant for three reasons.
- A mind can edit out or censor details of an event to protect itself from trauma. The Amnesiac Killer’s mind has done this, so has Enid’s.
- The killer discloses later in court that he has never heard of the film Deranged. This shows us society pounced on the film and the censors because they have already decided that the movies will lead to criminals, and all they are looking for is the opportunity to say, “Look, it happened!”.
- Enid, who protects people, has made a mistake, and this causes her to doubt herself and her morals while evaluating these movies. This is the first blow that results in unearthing those suppressed memories.
Don’t Go In The Church, Alice Lee, Fredrick North and Doug Smart
One day, a producer, Doug Smart, visits Enid’s office and asks her to take a look at one of his films, Don’t Go In The Church. He mentions that the director, Fedrick North, wanted a woman’s eye on the film. As part of her work, Enid watches the movie. It has two sisters going into a forest, and one of them urges the other to enter a cabin. The elder sister then picks up an axe, enters the house, and hacks her sister to death.
Enid’s own experience in the woods with Nina comes flooding, and she leaves the viewing to throw up. Just like The Amnesiac Killer happened to eat his wife’s face identical to the killings in Deranged even though he had never seen the film, Enid’s experience with her sister matching the visuals in Don’t Go In The Church is only coincidental.
On the way back home, Enid hears a whimper and follows the sound into darkness. This scene indicates that Enid is now descending into the dark patches of her subconscious. She begins having nightmares with her mother blaming her for Nina’s death.
Enid goes to a video store to get her hands on other films made by Fredrick North and gets one called Asunder. The actress Alice Lee looks like Enid and this makes Enid believe that Alice is her long lost sister, Nina. Enid tells her parents about this, and they are clearly tired of her pointless search for Nina. We can see that her father still blames Enid for Nina’s disappearance.
Censor: Did Enid Kill Doug?
Yes, Enid accidentally kills Doug, but her brain edits that memory out. While Doug is a womanizer, there is nothing sinister going on here. Alice Lee is an actress starring in Fredrick North’s sequel to Don’t Go In The Church, being shot near Fred’s house. This will be her last film because Doug doesn’t see a promising future for Alice. Enid, who is nearing the mouth of madness, assumes that the crew will kill Alice after the film. Enid pushes Doug, who makes a move on her, and his head is accidentally impaled on his trophy.
Enid receives a call from Doug back at her home, but this is only her imagination. Observe how Doug’s voice randomly says, “He is shooting a juicy sequel”. Enid’s mind is spitting out sentences in Doug’s voice.
Did Fredrick North kidnap Nina in Censor?
No, Fredrick is only a director working with Alice, and she is not Nina. Enid steals Fredrick’s home address and drives over. The coincidence is that the actress playing Alice Lee’s sister in Don’t Go In The Church 2 has not shown up. Thanks to Enid’s resemblance to Alice, the make-up artist mistakes Enid to be that actress and takes her inside. The make-up person also mentions that it’s strange Doug didn’t show up as he never misses a gory murder scene – confirming that Doug is indeed dead. Fredrick prefers to use natural elements to set the mood and utilize the resulting intensity to power his scenes. When Fredrick says the sisters scene was inspired by a true story, he is not referring to Enid’s story. Fredrick is honestly mistaking Enid to be his cast. However, the entire setup makes it all too real for Enid.
Censor: Does Enid kill Fredrick North and Beastman?
Yes, she kills both Fredrick and Beastman. Fredrick points Enid to the cabin, the shoot location for his movie scene. Enid enters to be embraced by Charles, the actor playing Beastman. When Enid sees Beastman holding Alice, she protects her sister and hacks Charles with the axe. Charles exclaims, saying, “This is not in the script” when Enid goes at him. We can see from Alice’s expression that she, too, is confused by Enid approaching with the axe. By now, Enid sees things in the format of Video Nasties, with over-the-top blood and gore. Beastman’s heart says, “I am the horror”, indicating that the horror is in the hearts of people already, and movies don’t cause it. Enid then kills Fredrick in a fit of rage, which is also visualized unrealistically by her. Alice makes a run for it, and Enid chases her.
Censor Movie Ending Explained
The ending of the movie Censor reveals that Enid has completely lost her mind, and the guilt of Nina’s death has altered her perception to a point where she imagines an entirely false happy ending for herself. Notice how the scenes from when Enid lands up at the shooting spot begin having a narrower aspect ratio. By the end of the movie, the settings have taken on a 4:3 just like the old TV sets. Even the colouration goes from the current cinema to an 80s tone. This frame change happens in tandem with Enid’s mind spiralling into insanity.
Alice screams at Enid, saying it was only a movie and that she’s not her sister. After this, Alice gets the hell out of there. Enid imagines a video control in her hands which she operates. After this, Enid enters an alternate utopian reality painted by her mind where Alice returns claiming to be Nina. The two sisters run happily through the forest, and Enid takes Nina back to her parents, and everyone is thrilled.
The news states, “The video nasties have been eradicated completely. The crime rate in Britain has actually dropped to zero. It’s just like we said, the streets of Britain are safe at last. The employment rate is at a record high. The criminals are all locked up”. This is as far away from the truth as Enid is from sanity. The overly cheerful frames are interspliced with glimpses of reality, showing Alice and Enid’s parents in agony because of the killing spree Enid has embarked on, and the film comes to a close.
What did you think about the plot and ending of the movie Censor? What were your theories on Nina’s disappearance? Do share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Barry is a technologist who helps start-ups build successful products. His love for movies and production has led him to write his well-received film explanation and analysis articles to help everyone appreciate the films better. He’s regularly available for a chat conversation on his website and consults on storyboarding from time to time.
Click to browse all his film articles