Infected by the syringe the hoodlums plunge into her, she ends up in hospice, but doctors are able to save the baby, a girl who’s happy and healthy — basically, everything Tommy is not.

In fact, the trauma has turned him into a barely functioning agoraphobe. Not only is he afraid to leave the house, he fears “they” are coming to get him and his child next.

Graduating from shorts to his first full feature, writer/director Ciaran Foy has pulled pieces from Roman Polanski’s Repulsion and several works of John Carpenter, from Assault on Precinct 13 to The Fog and even Vampires. Hey, if you’re going to borrow, borrow from the best. Foy has done that, but he’s not content to rest there; the back half of Citadel puts a spin on these familiar things that feels original and has the benefit of being frightening.

To keep this review free of spoilers, I’ll say only that the hoodie horde is not quite as it appears. How much of what we see is due to Tommy’s paranoia is left open for interpretation, but there’s no denying Foy has pulled off a chilling and atmospheric debut — all the more remarkable given that Ireland is hardly known for horror. —Rod Lott

Rod Lott

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