The Power (UK, 2021)

A trainee finds herself up against more than a veteran staff in a hospital in this psychological thriller from director Corinna Faith.

In 1970s London, Val is a young trainee who is starting her first day at a local hospital. There, she finds that since she is new, she is automatically considered inferior. When she questions one of the doctors about the work there, her superior, the Matron, punishes her by forcing her to work the night shift. Unfortunately, due to a strike with the miners, the country has been forced to conserve energy by shutting off all the lights at night. It is there when Val discovers something extremely haunting.

Val discovers that some of the staff are not exactly following protocol with patients let along themselves and when Val questions what is going on, she once again is reprimanded. However, it doesn’t compare to a malevolent force that turns the innocent Val into something she never imagined as she finds herself possessed by the force. As she slowly goes on the brink of insanity, will she find a way to be saved or will it be too late?

A dark film with a title that has a double, no triple entendre if you will. Writer-director Corinna Faith crafted a film about not only the “power” being the abusive power of the veteran hospital through the eyes of our young protagonist, but the fact that the film is set where London is forced to shut off their power at night due to a strike with the local miners. Then, there is another type of “power” in the form of the malevolent spirit that haunts the hospital and changes our protagonist. It may seem confusing as to what is what, but somehow Faith makes it run very smoothly without resorting to the usual horror tropes give or take a few things.

Rose Williams brings in a very exciting performance as Val, a young nurse with a very rough childhood who wants to just move on. Of course, when one works a new job there is going to be that curiosity factor and for Val, it is quite unjust that her curiosity factor leads her superior to punish her. And if that’s not bad enough, she is pretty much seen as the bottom of the food chain to the hospital staff. This is evident when she sees one of the doctors and nurses pretty much canoodling rather than watch over the patients during the night shift.

The film moves at a bit of a slow pace in terms of scares and with only one major jump scene in the first half, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. However, what Faith does is slowly increase the tension and, in the film’s, pivotal moment, forces our protagonist to become possessed by the malevolent force which forces Val’s body to bend and twist in such a manner that is very cringeworthy but all part of the story. Perhaps the force is attracted to Val’s childhood and unleashes a dormant force that has long to be awakened. Williams owns the film especially with the possessed scene and showcases a range in which will impress fans.

The Power is a triple entendre film that has slow moving tension but Rose Williams’ performance drives that tension and amps it up during the second half of the film.

WFG RATING: B

RLJE Films and Shudder presents a BFI/Air Street Films/Head Gear Films production in association with Kreo Films FZ, Metrol Technology, and Stigma Films. Director: Corinna Faith. Producer: Matthew James Wilkinson. Writer: Corinna Faith. Cinematography: Lauran Bellingham. Editing: Tommy Boulding and Rebecca Lloyd.

Cast: Rose Williams, Amy Beth Hayes, Diveen Henry, Robert Goodman, Paul Antony-Barber, Shakira Rahman, Nuala McGowan, Anjelica Serra, Sarah Hoare.

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