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‘The Power’ review: Classic ghost story with a modern take

Finding a voice.

The Power is about a young nurse named Valerie (Rose Williams) who is made to work the night shift her first day on the job as punishment. The movie is set in 1974 London as rolling blackouts are sweeping across the country. While most of the staff and patients are moved to another hospital, Val is left in a dark East London Royal Infirmary. 

The premise sounds like just another horror movie. This does not mean it will be bad, but chances are it will not stand out. The Power underscores this idea by opening with Val waking up startled. This changes very quickly, however. The film has its jump scares and creaky doors, but its terror is of a more classic variety. Sudden gusts of air are used to blow out candles, for example.

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Unsurprisingly, lighting is a big part of the film. Before the blackout begins, the building is almost impossibly bright. This makes the scenes only lit with a lamp especially ominous. The Power uses its setting perfectly. Classic ghost stories are filled with tales of malevolent forces terrorizing young women. The Power is a topical twist on these old stories. It is as much about women being forced to stay silent as it is a scary movie.

During the final act, The Power becomes more of a modern horror movie. The action becomes more fast paced and the story adds more twists. The plot builds well to its finale though it does run a little long. While many movies are willing to delve into horror’s rich past, there is also an insistence to modernize them. This sometimes ends up watering down the story as a whole. The Power manages to get the mix down perfectly.

The Power comes exclusively to Shudder April 8

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