Over the weekend, new British horror movie, The Power landed on Shudder. The film – written and directed by Corinna Faith – stars Rose Williams, Emma Rigby, and Charlie Carrick, and tells the story of a young nurse, who uncovers a dark secret while working a night shift at the East London Royal Infirmary.
Set in 1974, during the UK’s infamous ‘Three Day Week’ – a period of time when the Government restricted the use of electricity due to power shortages – the movie focuses on Val, a young nurse on her first day at work. Val is a quiet, unassuming woman, who is keen to help others, so takes a job at the local hospital in the hopes of making a difference to the community.
During her first day, Val is asked to work over night – which is referred to as the ‘dark shift’. Due to restrictions with the electricity, the whole of the city is regularly plunged into darkness, including the hospital, and this means working overnight equates to carrying out duties by lamp light.
Val agrees to work, but soon starts to regret her decision when she senses something lurking in the shadows. Whatever it is, it is keen to connect with the young nurse, leading to a night of terror on the wards.
The Power is an interesting but flawed low budget horror, which has some strong ideas but loses its way in its execution. It takes a real-life event from the UK’s past, uses it to form the backdrop of a potentially imaginative feature, then falls apart somewhere in the middle.
This is a shame, because when I started watching The Power, I could feel that this film was starting out on the right tracks. The early scenes of the film managed to convey an overwhelming sense of forbidding which got me hooked, and as it progressed, I felt as if I was being set up for a pure fright-fest, designed to scare me witless.
Unfortunately, after a great opening, the tension and suspense began to disappear. This was due to a messy mid-section which sacrificed its atmospheric gains for a run-of-the-mill ghost story, and that’s when my heart began to sink.
The scares that were promised, quickly disappeared and the film suddenly deflated. What followed was watchable, but no longer as exciting or engaging as what had come before.
Things picked up a little towards the end, but by this point everything became fairly predictable. The big ‘reveal’ came as no surprise and the movie went through the motions in order to reach a satisfactory conclusion.
What started strongly, limped over the finish line. Shame.
Despite my disappointment, I think it’s important to note that The Power isn’t a bad movie – it’s just not an amazing one. On the plus side, the film boasts strong performances from the cast, makes great use of the lighting (or lack thereof), and has a strong message at its core about the abuse of power. However, it struggles with its own identity and relies too much on clichés, and that’s when the cracks begin to appear.
For me, The Power is a slight misfire, but one that is not without merit. There’s some good stuff in here, it just gets a little lost in the mix, so it remains watchable, just not as powerful as it could be.