A young nurse fights off ghouls in the dark in Corinna Faith’s electrifying directing debut…..
Its 1973 and Great Britain is having literally one of its darkest periods. A labour government in crisis and the miners on strike, the idea to switch off all electric power to save the country from a crisis between the months of New Year’s Eve 1973 and March 1974 is a well known fact, with every household facing darkness in the cold of the night and while that is one of the most well known documented part of UK history, what director Corinna Faith has ingeniously done, is put a young nurse right in the middle of it all and added a ghost story.
In this effective tale, young nurse Val (Rose Williams) is excited to start her brand new job and her first shift at the East London Royal Infirmary. Her first few hours does not go to plan with a stern telling off from the matron and the harsh reality that the doctors are in charge and the nurses are there just to serve. The hospital itself, a creaky, mazy rundown building where the camera lingers long and hard into the deep corridors where anyone or anything could be waiting. The set-up perfect for a spooky tale to develop and carried more so with terror thanks to the performance of Williams who excels from the very first frame.
Forced to do a double shift, soon comes the daunted and expected power shut off, leaving Val standing alone, with just the noise of the power generators and a lantern to keep her company and a weird burning smell that seems to follow her around. Is that whispering she can hear? Or is it all in her imagination? After all, she is scared of the dark thanks to a childhood trauma that will equally play a pivotal as the plot develops.
There are no cheap scare scenes here, Faith trusting her own camera work to deliver the chills as we the viewer wonder what is going to happen during this long night shift. The tension begins to rise as the hours pass by and soon the horror hand is revealed and the film turns on its head incredibly.
Val finds horror in the worst places, with a startling sequence that even had this horror veteran looking away uncomfortably with the thought that even Linda Blair would clap with approval. As the feeling of dread rises, so does the body count as Faith is not afraid to add the gore with scenes of eyes being gouged more than enough to please the bloodhounds.
But The Power is not just a UK rip off of The Conjuring franchise, the plot has enough deep layers to send out a much more powerful message and its also clever on its approach with a lovely nod to Stephen King’s “Carrie” proving to be more than just a playful in-joke.
The genre at the moment is awash with things that go bump at the night, but The Power is one of the strongest entries in years. It may require patience for some, but like all great horror films, when it delivers, it sends a ripple through your horror heart and gives us a gentle reminder that us humans are just as evil as the ghouls and monsters that haunt the dark….