My Cat Persephone Wrote this Review on her Smartphone. It was better than Mine. .
The new horror movie The Power would have you believe it’s novel to expect rooms in complete darkness to be scary, without providing any real scares itself. You have the power to not watch this movie before you regret it. But if you’re into really dark rooms and characters walking around really dark rooms and characters pointing out that these rooms are dark, then by all means, enjoy The Power and more power to you.
But if you want to be entertained, you might as well watch Godzilla Vs Kong or even Shiva Baby again, because that’s the closest you’ll get to something enjoyable this week. Even if you’ve seen it more than once, it’s better than slogging through this cliched horror movie in which you’re not really scared at all. At least GVK had monsters punching each other. At least Shiva Baby had bagels and lox.
With The Power, you’ll just be punching yourself and wishing for bagels.
The Power begins in London sometime in the mid70s. We’re in the middle of a war. A title card tells us that the government is forced to shut off power throughout the city in order to conserve energy. There should have been a title card that told you that sitting in an empty room with the power off is more entertaining than The Power.
We meet our main character Val (Rose Williams).
It’s her first shift as a nurse, and she couldn’t have picked a worse day. Tonight, all the lights will turn off throughout the hospital and only base generators will be running. Val wants to say she’s terrified of the dark due to trauma that won’t be revealed until the third act, but she really needs this job. Val lived in an orphanage not far from here and is looking forward to giving back to her community.
Val gets the job, but she’s not really impressing her boss, a matronly woman only known as Matron (Diveen Henry). Matron has a perpetual scowl on her face and the last time she smiled was when she watched the elderly suffer needlessly. Matron warns Val to follow every order as she will be closely watched. Matron is also looking forward to seeing bulls gore people in Italy.
Though Val isn’t Matron’s favorite, she does seem to be hitting it off with dreamy Dr. Franklin (Charlie Carrick, looking like a Mediterranean Jeff Goldblum mixed with Thomas Jane). Matron tells Val to stop talking to Doc Franklin.
Dr. Franklin relents and says he needs Val with him…for help. Wink, wink.
Matron gives Val the evil eye and then pulls an IV out of a random patient because she has the power(!) to.
Dr. Franklin apologizes to Val as he realizes he might have gotten her in even more trouble with Matron.
Dr. Franklin doesn’t know how right he is.
Because they need people while the hospital is without power(!), Matron says that Val needs to stay overnight. Val says it’s her first day. Matron disconnects someone on life support for fun and says that if Val wants to keep her job, she needs to stay.
Val is afraid of the dark. Val has deep seeded issues that can only be revealed through exposition. Val will tough it out. After all, nothing bad has never happened in pitch black when the power goes out.
At least Val made a new friend, a young patient named Saba (Shakira Rahman) who has taken a shine to Val and who will probably be in great danger in the final 15 minutes of the movie.
Speaking of friends, there’s someone from Val’s childhood that also works at the hospital. Her name is Babs (Emma Rigby) and she knew Val when she was less than pristine. Babs wonders why Val would even be working at a hospital because when they were kids, Val was the least likely person to be helping anyone.
Val will try to make the best of it. She will get through the dark night with little or no trouble because it seems like a noticeably quiet night even though you can’t see too far in front of you. Though she and Babs don’t really get along, at least Saba is there, along with an immensely helpful security guard named Neville (Theo Barklem- Biggs) who seems like a nice guy except he has a bad habit of sneaking up on people in the dark.
Val is looking forward to a quiet night.
Except it looks like her past is catching up to her.
Along with something else in the dark. Her co-workers think she’s paranoid because it’s her first night on the job.
Val thinks that something is following her in the dark. Something she can’t see. Probably because it’s dark. That’s why she can’t see it. That’s why they call it dark
It’s not just Val that’s keeping secrets. This hospital has secrets too…
What Works With The Power
- The only time The Power has a scare that’s not telegraphed from four scenes away involves a toy dog. It’s the only instance you’re really engaged and worried that something bad will happen. As opposed to knowing exactly where the scares are coming from. Keep in mind that the previous four sentences take longer to read than the scene in the movie.
What Doesn’t Work With The Power
- Most of The Power’s 90 minute running time is populated by generic jump scares that you couldn’t see coming only because you’ve never seen a horror movie before. Every time a character inches toward the frame while the camera doesn’t follow, you know someone will walk in front or behind them in a way that’s only scary in mediocre horror movies reaching for something to keep you from getting bored. Any seasoned horror fan will be ahead of 95% of the attempted scares. Anyone with a pulse and not blind will be ahead of 80% of the scares.
- Somewhere in writer/director Corinna Faith’s screenplay there’s a decent narrative about listening to women and being equals in terms of power. There’s nothing wrong with any performances as the actors are relatively solid with what’s given. But the story is buried in cheap cliches and a by-the-numbers formula that will surprise no one. There are countless ways one could have made a hospital without electricity terrifying. Faith misses out on most of them.
There are worse movies you could see than The Power, but why waste 90 minutes of your life finding that out. Godzilla and Kong would love to mindlessly beat each other up for you again. This Power has no juice.