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Proper Lighting: Sickle's take on "The Power"

The Power follows a young woman in 1973 Britain during a time in which there are nightly power outages. During her first night shift as a nurse in the middle of an outage, she comes under attack by a supernatural force that appears to have some vicious motives and a dark past.

Slaxx comic

The Power Review

I think I can break down my feelings on The Power in one sentence: powerful message, fantastic sound design, great acting, bland execution. That about sums it up. Thanks for reading! Okay, if you want to know how and why I reached these conclusions, read on! But, a caution of spoilers is worth noting as I discuss the voice of the picture, which reveals some motivations and events that occur after the first act.)

The Power has a driven message at its forefront...that of sexual assault (and for those that tend to avoid explicit scenes of such events, know that any instances are implied in this film). The plot doesn't settle simply on a black and white tale of supernatural revenge (though that is definitely the thickest thread in the weave), it also tackles very real elements of the trauma and social deformities that pervade many cultures in regards to sexual assault. What is as important as the vile act is the inaction, silence, and dismissal from others. It is this very real moral calamity that drives the message home through its horror vehicle. Unfortunately, the message itself is much stronger than the horror around it.

This film is powered (pun happened) by the strength of its setting, atmospheric score, and performances. This strong backbone keeps the message within from being completely wasted. Unfortunately, there are many scenes that feel lacking. The film tends to drag when it should be building. We have several moments that feel repetitive, insignificant, and even contradictory to the motif in light of the scenes included in and leading up to the final act. It makes the second act dull and bloated, and sometimes utterly pointless.

The gradual nature of the film's entity is draining rather than invigorating. We've seen hauntings and possessions before and this film brings little new to the genres from a horror perspective. Even the lightless tunnels of the hospital feel wasted at times, saved only by this raspy breath that heaves into the score throughout the film, as if giving a dark life to the hospital and keeping your mind uneasy. The performances also help to keep you engaged in the narrative that is equal parts eye-opening in its moments of realism and unoriginal in its execution of horror tropes.

There was something missing in the horror for me. Perhaps it was that the message itself was horrific enough, or it was simply my desensitization doomed me to a complacent viewing experience. Whatever is to blame, The Power succeeds more as a film of social critique than a horror film, but it unfortunately identifies as a horror film at its core and on the surface, which leads me to harshly call it a disappointment. But, it is a disappointment I would recommend someone watch and judge for themselves, for the message alone and the voice it symbolically and literally wishes to share, is worth hearing.

Horror Rating System

Horror Qualifier: 9/10

Horror Quality: 5/10

Film Quality: 7/10


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