Censor Ending Explained & Plot Analysis

Reality cannot be changed: the essence of the film Censor (2021): plot summary, ending explanation, meaning of the film, similar movies.

Country: UK

Genre: horror, detective

Year of production: 2021

Director: Prano Bailey-Bond

Actors: Neve Algar, Michael Smiley, Nicholas Barnes

Slogan: “Reality cannot be changed”

One of the absolute advantages of this film is the aesthetics of England in the 80s. Stunning sound design and interesting references to the splatterpunks of that time contribute to the creation of a powerful and oppressive atmosphere.

What is the movie about

Brief description of the contents of the picture. The main character of the film, Enid, works as a censor in a government company. Together with her colleagues, she reviews B-grade horror films and decides whether they can be released.

Nive AlgarNeve Algar as Enid Baines. Still from the film.

One day she is given the opportunity to test the hypothetical impact of snuff works on herself. The fact is that in one of the films with the rather ominous title “Don’t Go to Church,” she watches a frighteningly true dramatization of her last walk with her sister Nina through the forest. After this walk, Nina went missing.

The film was directed by Frederick North – once very popular, but now almost forgotten. Convinced that there is some sinister meaning in everything she saw, Enid wants to find the artist: in her opinion, he may know what happened to Nina.

To begin with, she goes to the video rental store and watches one of his previously banned films called “To Pieces.” The main role in the film is played by actress Alice Lee, who bears a striking resemblance to Nina. Enid thinks about this for a long time and eventually comes to the conclusion that this is Nina. Now, to find out the answer to everything that is happening, she needs to contact the artist himself.

Her search leads her to the house of producer Doug Smart. One of the rooms in the house seems familiar to Enid – it turns out that a terrible rape scene was filmed there. On the producer’s desk there are several photographs, one of which depicts Alice Lee. “We look alike, don’t we?” – she asks and the man agrees.

A little later, Enid asks Smart to tell her about Frederick North. He believes that there is no particular point in talking about him. “He is a provocateur and a genius. True, unrecognized,” the man smiles and says that North is filming a sequel to his film “Don’t Go to Church,” called “The Beast.” Having learned that Alice Lee is starring in the sequel, the girl decides to go there.

Michael SmileyMichael Smiley stars as Doug Smart. Still from the film.

Suddenly, Smart begins to harass Enid and she, in self-defense, accidentally kills him. Carrying out further analysis of the situation, Enid becomes more and more convinced that Frederick North is a pervert who kidnapped Nina and is now passing her off as Alice Lee.

She arrives on the set and the make-up artist suddenly mistakes her for an actress. “You’re different in the photo,” the girl says coquettishly and invites her in, because filming, according to her, is already in full swing. According to his new “colleagues,” the director is waiting for the girl in the forest.

At the end of the film, Enid meets with the director and directly asks him where Alice Lee is. He laughs it off, and the girl asks him to talk about the film “Don’t Go to Church,” or more precisely, about the mise-en-scène in the forest. The director says that scene was based on real events. “People say I make horror,” says the director. – “But they are mistaken: horror lives in each of us.”

Looking at Enid through the lens of the camera, North plays with her and provokes her. “Play,” he commands. And Enid, like the girl from the movie “Don’t Go to Church,” picks up an ax.

Taking what is happening on the set as reality, Enid begins to act and kills one of the actors playing the role of a monster and holding the heroine Alice Lee captive. Then, with an ax blow, she blows off North’s own head.

A frightened Alice Lee runs away from her through the forest, and Enid rushes after her and calls her Nina. The actress begins to become hysterical, Enid tries to calm her down and says that he is simply protecting her from psychos and perverts. Alice runs away in horror, and Enid falls unconscious and repeats the same phrase: “You are my sister. Please be her.”

Ending explained

Explanation of the ending of the film. Suddenly Nina appears to her, takes her hand and invites her to return home. The girls get into the car and the radio on tells them that after all the “bad” films were removed from Britain, everything has become very good – crime has decreased, the unemployment rate has also fallen. The girls arrive at their father’s house and, watching Nina’s meeting with her father and mother, Enid smiles happily. However, this is only an illusion…

The meaning of the ending of the film “Censor” is that Enid, having experienced the trauma associated with the disappearance of her sister in childhood, never accepted that reality. Her psyche created another, happy reality, in which she managed to find Nina and defeat “evil.” In fact, she killed several people and what will happen to her after the trial, one can only guess.

The meaning of the film

In recent years, we’ve seen structural changes in the horror genre. If earlier it only frightened, now the very nature of fear has become an allegorical tool for revealing all sorts of issues related to certain aspects of our life and society as a whole. We are talking about the emergence of a unique direction in the genre – the so-called “psychological horror”. “Censor” can also be attributed to this subgenre.

The film has a rather interesting concept: shot by a debutant director, it enters the field of social issues of violence in society. Additionally, the film is an homage to the horror cassette films of the 1980s. However, this effect is only used as an artistic device – in the foreground there is still a clear storyline, in which several confusing and strange stories are surprisingly intertwined.

Danny Lee WinterDanny Lee Winter as Perkins. Still from the film.

The main character works as a censor and takes her work very seriously: b-movie for her is not just a movie, but high art with a deep hidden meaning. One day she comes across a film, one of the mise-en-scenes of which seems very similar to events from her childhood. Enid remembers them poorly and the only thing that sticks in her memory is Nina’s disappearance.

While conducting the investigation, Enid plunges more and more into the dark abyss of true and false memories. One day a sudden interpretation comes to her mind: what if she did something to her sister and doesn’t remember it? So she becomes obsessed with Frederick North and against this background she begins to be haunted by either hallucinations or waking nightmares.

Overall, Prano Bailey-Bond’s film was well received by critics and was almost unanimously accepted by them. The audience received the film coolly, and for good reason. In particular, the plot of the film is very confusing and incomprehensible, and the main idea, idea and purpose of the story is quite difficult to establish. The ending leaves us completely stunned – instead of answers, we only get new questions.

However, if you dig deeper, you can see a lot of interesting things. So Enid starts looking for her sister. She has strange dreams in which events from the past are mixed with footage from the film and the fantasies of the censor. In her dream, she sees Nina, who has become very similar to the actress Alice Lee, entering a church, where she is met by a monstrous man who becomes a symbol for the main character of the horror genre as a whole. So Enid comes to the conclusion that her sister simply fell under the influence of horror films. It’s simple: you need to eliminate the cause and then your sister will definitely return.

Sofia La PortaSofia La Porta played the role of Alice Lee. Still from the film.

Slowly, Enid “reaches out” to producer Doug Smart. At some point, the evening ceases to be languid and Smart lets go. Enid kills him purely by accident, but practically does not worry about this – after all, Smart produced “evil”.

Later she meets Frederick North, who embodies all horror makers. The moment of truth comes: on the set, Enid sees a man from a nightmare, personifying the genre as a whole in her sick imagination. “Saving” her supposed “sister”, she kills him (do not take this literally and forget that Enid is a censor. That is, everything that happens is a metaphor that should be read like this: censorship protects people from “corruptive influences”). Then the director also falls under the hot hand.

Alice does not accept such “rescue” (just as the audience does not accept the stifling care of the censors) and runs away. What does the heroine do? He puts on rose-colored glasses and comes up with a new reality in which everything is fine…

What is the essence of the film? There is no detective story here – this is a story about insanity and childhood trauma that did not find a way out in the best way. And yet… Do officials have the right to decide what people watch and what not? And is violence on screen really capable of turning mentally healthy people into sadists and maniacs?

Prano Bailey-Bond masterfully puts all the fake experts in their place and makes it clear that, contrary to the opinion of the censors, the source of violence and cruelty is not at all in horror films. It is this idea that runs through the plot of the picture. After all, terrible, nightmarish human actions have always existed – and even in those times when horror films and cinema itself did not exist.

According to the story, there is a real surge in murders in Britain. However, as it turns out later, the criminals did not see the films with which the public associated their actions. And those crimes that Enid committed were associated with unlived psychological trauma. Truly, Mr. North with his phrase “horror lives in each of us” was right.

heroine watching horrorStill from the film.

Similar films

Here are several films that are somewhat similar in plot and meaning to the film “Censor”:

  • “Berberian Recording Studio” (Great Britain, Germany, Australia, 2011). 1970s. The main character, a British sound engineer, is invited to Italy. There he will have to do work for which he is mentally unprepared.
  • “Evil Ed” (Sweden, 1995). A horror film producer hires editor Ed to edit several of his films for screening. Immersed in on-screen violence, the guy one day goes off the rails.
  • “Phobia” (Norway, 2017). After the death of her father, the girl decides to return to the family home, which she inherited. However, she cannot live peacefully there.
  • “Abigail’s Curse” (UK, 2021). 1970s, East London. Nurse Val, who takes up her duties for the first time at a large city hospital, will have to deal with something unusual.
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