The 2021 horror film ‘The Power’ written and directed by Corinna Faith is representative of both the noun and verb definition of the word. The movie takes place in London of 1970s, where power cuts are quite the norm due to an economic crisis. So when a new nurse joins an infirmary, she is tortured by something supernatural in the darkness due to a power cut. The unfortunate situation is foisted upon her by a senior who abuses their power to bully the ‘new girl’.
The hospital setting is just perfect for the horror genre – you already have both the dead and the dying in the setting to make it eerie. However, ‘The Power’ start slowly, with nothing concrete happening in the first 30 minutes, or that’s what it feels like to the viewer in the first half. As the story unravels, little cryptic scenes that seemed like unnecessary distractions, start to make sense eventually.
Actor Rose Williams plays Valerie, the new nurse, who finds herself on the night-shift on her first day at work. Williams exudes an aura of helplessness that fits just right into the personality of the protagonist. Valerie is scared of the dark and having to work in a large hospital with people on their death-beds is quite frightening just in theory itself. Child actor Shakira Rahman does a commendable job as Saba, a shifty girl who constantly tries to run away from the hospital due to a sinister reason.
However, the director largely wastes the potential of the grim hospital setting, and too much time is wasted in long-pointless shots of Valerie just walking through dark corridors. While it helps build tension, the scene those long-shots culminate into hardly manage to scare the viewer. Some of the sequences seemed straight rip-offs of horror films from the 1980s.
What really works in favor of ‘The Power’ is the plot, which is stronger than most horror films that depend on jump-scares and gore. Director Corinna Faith does a pretty good job with concealing details and letting viewers fill in pieces of the puzzle in a way that very little is left unexplained. By the time the climax unfolds, all little anomalies fall into place and make sense. It has a powerful message against the abuse of those without voice and ends almost satisfactorily. While it has a great theme of both female oppression and women empowerment, it just doesn’t pack as much punch as it could have. So it sparks and sputters.
It’s a 6/10 from me.
‘The Power” is available to steam on Amazon Prime.
Fun fact: The character Saba speaks gibberish that is passed off as “foreign language” in the movie, just so that the viewers cannot understand what she is saying. I know this, because the “foreign language” is supposed to be Hindi, and what they speak in the film was just a bunch of random words, some of which were probably made up, others were from different Indian and Middle-east languages.
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