In the 1970s Britain, when the government and the unions were at war, regular power cuts were ordered to retain power. During one of those dark nights, a shy young woman named Val (Rose Williams) finds herself working the dark shift on her first day on duty as a trainee nurse at a run down London hospital. Writer and director Corinna Faith doesn’t wait for the lights to go out to unleash unease in “The Power”. The creaky and eerie atmosphere is felt even in the light of day as Val begins to hear the indecipherable whispers of the children. “A place where people are dying should never be allowed to get so dark,” says one nurse, agonized by the fears to come, which operate to varying degrees.
When the lights go out, the terrors intensify with bent finger joints, bodily fluids, and a throbbing synth score when a deranged mind clings to Val. Faith displays a familiarity with the language of horror with these shows and shots of ghostly reflections that effectively play with the notion of spectral possession. She also complements supernatural tensions well with hostile human tensions as Val clashes with other employees, namely the hospital matron and an old friend who also works as a nurse. But Val stays wide-eyed and naive for so long that you spend most of the running time wondering when she might develop a spine.
By the final act, “The Power” reveals a double meaning with its title, with Faith introducing a predominantly feminist social commentary – it refers not only to electrical energy, but to the manipulative nature. Unfortunately, this message and the preceding events seem so rambling that the film stumbles in delivering a cohesive vision.
Unclassified. Duration: 1 hour 32 minutes. Look on Shudder.