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It seems my desperate quest for the next interesting and original horror film leads me into still deeper depths of stupidity. I will have to face the fact at some point that the market for intelligent or at least solid horror is limited. Current estimates stand at 2 out of 300 films are watchable or good, the rest is boring, pointless or outrageously stupid.

The makers of “Outrageously Stupid” bring you “Citadel”, their latest achievement in really not knowing how to do horror. The premise is not too bad, a bunch of hooded kids kill, apparently without motive, a pregnant woman, leaving her husband or boyfriend (can’t remember which) to helplessly watch. After her death he takes care of the baby, which survived, but falls into a phase of utter paranoia, almost unable to leave the house, in constant fear of himself or his kid falling victim to more violence.

So far, this could have been a tremendous film. I was thinking of Friedkin’s “Bug” or Cronenberg’s “Spider”, challenging explorations  of fear, maybe also of Michael Shannon’s tour-de-force against all these people who do not believe him when he tells them the world will end and they seriously need a shelter.

This is not where “Citadel” is going, however. While the characters’ psychology  may be the interesting aspect about this script, the film makers decide to establish it, and then render it completely irrelevant. All the characterization of fear being your own worst enemy (“we have nothing to fear but fear…” etc.) would require the plot to play out in exactly the way it does not. I hesitate to give away what the crucial realisation is we are helped to make with the support of a crazy-ass doctor, but suffice it to say that up until the very last moment, I was very very much hoping that this is all not the way they make us believe it is. Can they really decide to play it out in such a primitive way? Do they really find this resolution more interesting or thrilling or worrying than any other? You can argue of course that giving us this least plausible  scenario is exactly the surprise they have in mind for the unsuspecting audience, and that they played with my expectations in the way they did to show me how cleverly they have read my mind, and now feed me something that I did not see coming. Thing is: I did see it coming, I just could not believe that anybody in his right mind would write the ending in this way. Why? Because it’s stupid!

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/citadel_2012/

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