The Power

07/27/2021 06:32

Film: The Power

Year: 2021

Director: Corinna Faith

Writer: Corinna Faith

Starring: Rose Williams, Charlie Carrick and Shakira Rahman



This is a movie that I heard about thanks to podcasts. It was one that popped up on Shudder and I’ve heard a few voices I respect talking highly about it. I did know a bit from the synopsis coming into this, but I made sure to avoid spoilers aside from that. The synopsis here is a young nurse is forced to work the night shift in a crumbling hospital as striking miners switch off the power across Britain. But inside the walls lurks a terrifying presence that threatens to consumer her and everyone around her.

For this movie, we start off with getting some images from our main character’s past. They are out of context, but Val (Rose Williams) wakes from a nightmare. We see that she has issues with the dark as she turns on all the lights in her small flat. She dresses for work and we see that she lives in a rougher part of town. I should also point out that this takes place in 1974. The movie does well in relaying background information through a radio broadcast.

Val has an interview with the Matron (Diveen Henry) of a nearby hospital who is hard in her demeanor. She delves a bit into Val’s past where we learn she is from this area. She is an orphan and has a bit of a history. The young woman is given her assignment and the rules to work there. She wants to work with children and gets that opportunity. This also creates problems when she takes a liking to a Doctor Franklyn (Charlie Carrick). With him goading her on, she disagrees with the Matron. This causes her to be punished by staying on for the night shift. The blackout is hitting that night so all the patients that can be moved are. There are some that are too sick, so a skeleton crew is staying to watch over them.

She has issues finding the floor she is assigned to as she didn’t get there before the lights went out. On her way she does meet two other nurses, Comfort (Gbemisola Ikumelo) and Terry (Nuala McGowan). They’ve been assigned to caring for babies whose mothers are too sick. Val is sent on her way to the intensive care unit. It is there she is working with a woman she knows, Babs (Emma Catherine Rigby). They have a history and don’t seem to get along that well.

Val’s fear of the dark makes her jumpy. She believes there is something in the darkness following her. Babs doesn’t help ease her fears and neither does the night watchmen of Neville (Theo Barklem-Biggs). She believes there is a ghost haunting this hospital, She is out to prove it. The question becomes, is there an entity here like she believes or is there a more logical explanation to everything that is happening?

Now I wanted to go vague here with my recap to get you just up to speed with fleshing out the synopsis just a bit more. Where I want to start is that I didn’t realize this was a real thing. From my brief research, England was using coal for electricity. Due to a workers’ strike, they were turning off the power at night and rotating the areas. This is an interesting basis for the concept here, coupling this with having it take place in an inner-city hospital. It is underfunded and most of the patients are poor. They aren’t given the best care and this is something that is still happening even today. This leads to some interesting social commentary here.

The first concept I want to explore is that of classism. We see this at first with Val. She is from the area and the Matron is hard on her. Comfort, Terry and Babs amongst other nurses also treat her less because of this. She is an orphan, from a local orphanage and still lives in the area. It is sad to not treat her as a person or at the least give her a chance to prove herself. It doesn’t stop here though. It is coming from the top first. Matron states to Val that she is not talk to the doctors and especially don’t contradict them. Since this goes for all of the nurses, they are treated poorly by the doctors and like most bullies; they take it out on someone they feel superior to, which is Val. The patients are also given the most basic care due to the lower funding here. Those treating them feel superior there as well.

Going along with this, I want to talk about victims and being attacked. Something happened to Val in the past. I’m not going to spoil what it is, but it is haunting her. There is child that could be haunting this hospital that is targeting her. When Val approaches Comfort and Terry about being attacked, they question her. This is a social commentary on victims not being believed. Val changes what she says after she is questioned. It made me feel bad for her. Her class along with patients here isn’t believed due to them being a lower class as well. This also correlates back to one of the patients in this hospital that could be haunting Val.

I think that is all I needed to delve into for the social commentary, so I want to flesh out a bit what is going on with this movie. This is one of those movies where something supernatural could be happening while also there being a logical explanation. I want to start with the latter here. While Val is cleaning, she notices there is some thick dust on the vents. I wasn’t sure if it was dust, mold or burnt material. If it is mold, we have a big problem here. She could be hallucinating. This could also be making patients sicker. This idea is introduced when Val meets with Franklyn. I like this call back here.

The other side of this is easier to lay out. We would take everything at face value. What I will say, when Val is experiencing things at first, there is no one around. It has a bit of possession, which could be explained as her snapping with the mold in her. Either explanation could work but disprove supernatural it is just we are seeing things from Val’s point of view who is an unreliable narrator. To me, I think this isn’t supernatural, but I love who it is presented where we can decide.

Then to move away from the story completely, I’ll go to the acting. I thought Williams did an excellent job as our lead. She is unstable from when we meet her. I think she holds it together until pressure mounts. Matron isn’t nice to her. All the nurses treat her with little or no respect. It is only Franklyn. She wants to succeed, but things are against her until she snaps. I though say that this movie Val is our star with the rest in support. I will credit to Henry, McGowan, Carrick, Ikumelo, Shakira Rahman, Rigby, Barklem-Biggs, Clara Read and the rest of the cast rounded this out for what was needed.

Next would have to cinematography and the effects. I’ve already said that I liked the location for this movie. This old hospital looks and feels real which adds character. Being that it is without power for the night makes it even scarier. I think the cinematography works well here, especially with framing to make us question if something supernatural is happening to Val or not. There aren’t a lot in the way of effects here, but it also doesn’t need them. What we do get looked good.

So then in conclusion here, I think this movie does some interesting things. We have a setting that I like and the real history of the event adds to ambience. I think Williams’ performance as Val was good with the rest of the cast in support. The concept and premise are solid, but I do have to admit, they are something that we’ve seen many times before. I thought it was shot well and the effects work. Aside from that, the soundtrack fit for what was needed without standing out too much for me. I would say that this is an above average movie. It is worth a watch in my opinion if what I’ve said ticks boxes for you.


My Rating: 7.5 out of 10