The Power (2021)

The Power
Director: Corinna Faith
Writer: Corinna Faith
Cast: Rose Williams, Shakira Rahman, Emma Catherine Rigby, Theo Barklem-Biggs, Clara Read, Sarah Hoare, Anjelica Serra, Gbemisola Ikumelo, Charlie Carrick, Diveen Henry, Amy Beth Hayes, Marley Chesham
Part of: SLASH Film Festival
Seen on: 30.9.2021

Content Note: child (sexual) abuse

It’s 1974, and miners are striking. The government is reacting with power outages in London. This is especially difficult for Val (Rose Williams), not only because she is very afraid of the dark, but also because she is just about to start working as a nurse in a hospital that is about to be moved to a new location. But for now, Val has to work in the old building, and after a uncomfortable moments with two of her superiors, gets saddled with the night shift to boot. Even before darkness descends, Val feels that there is something wrong at the hospital, but it only gets worse once the power is out.

The Power is an atmospheric and well-done horror flick that may have profited from a little more subtlety regarding its central (and very heavy) topic, but was pretty satisfying other than that.

The film poster showing Val (Rose Williams) wearing a nurses uniform, holding up a lantern. Her image is inside the shape of a cross in front of a red background.

The Power really is an effectively scary film. There are quite a few jumpscares, placed at the right time, that really work, but the general atmosphere of the film is what really sells them. I’m not much afraid of the dark myself, but I could still go along with Val’s fear here.

I also liked the message and topic here. Unsurprisingly, the film is all about power and how power so very easily leads to abuse. The stronger the hierarchies, the harder it is to work against that dynamic. The film is not exactly subtle about it, especially not about the sexualized abuse. There’s no room for “was that really over the line already?” (the answer is usually yes), we’re in full-blown and almost cartoonish abuse territory here. It does manage to show the more inisidious ways of keeping people quiet, and it would have done well to show the same for abuse.

Val (Rose Williams) interviewing as a nurse.

Rose Williams was an interesting casting choice, in her earnest, child-like and soft-spoken manner that contrasts both with the violent moments and with the steel she discovers inside herself in the end – a steel that comes from solidarity, another element in the story that I really enjoyed.

All of this makes The Power an interesting watch and an effective horror movie, despite a couple of weaknesses here and there. I’d recommend checking it out if you get the chance.

Val (Rose Williams) walking the dark hospital floor with a lantern.

Summarizing: good horror with a heavy core.

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