Prospective viewers should not be fooled into thinking The Power is only concerned with a paranormal presence. In fact, power is a theme cleverly and pertinently underpinning what proves to be a glorious debut from Corinna Faith.
Nyctophobic Val (Rose Williams) is a new nurse on duty at an East London hospital and, at the behest of an authoritarian matron (Diveen Harry), is forced to work the night shift. This hospital, though, plunges into darkness at night because of the miners’ strikes of 1973. In darkness, Val not only has to contend with her fears, but also the labyrinthian layout of the new hospital, former classroom bully Babs (Emma Rigby), the concupiscent security monitor Neville (Theo Barklem-Biggs), and the ghost of Dirty Gail (Clara Read), whose possession of Val proves to be less minacious than the sinister authorities who conceal a darker secret that exists within the hospital.
The opening hour deploys all cinematic elements in an utterly thrilling and compelling way. Cinematographer Laura Bellingham draws every ounce of creepiness from the dreary Edwardian aesthetic that chills the viewer from the moment the blackout begins. Eerily underscoring Val’s early journeys around the hospital is the disturbing soundtrack of Gazelle Twin and composer Max de Wardener. It seamlessly evokes the discordant, high-pitched din that disturbingly soundtracked The Shining (a feature that the horror in the film was indebted to).
Once Val becomes possessed, the immaculately presented heroine becomes a bedraggled sight recalling the principle supernatural presence in Hideo Nakata’s 1998 Japanese horror flick Ring. Moreover, events take a turn for the gory. No longer is the narrative that of a traditional ghost story – it becomes a bloody tale of vengeance.
This amalgamation of horror styles may raise some eyebrows from ghost story purists, but Faith’s decision to explore the notion of power beyond the supernatural prevents it from being a significant complication. Indeed, the film shows viewers that it is the insidious effects of human abuses of power that are the most chilling. Fortunately, Faith shows her audience that perpetrators and accessories can get their comeuppance in, sometimes, the most violent of ways.
As a result, The Power raises Faith and Bellingham as a dynamic duo of the horror genre, leaving viewers relishing the prospect of future work with them in charge.
The Power is released via Shudder on 8th April 2021.
Watch the trailer for The Power here: