This horror feature debut of writer and director Corinna Faith steps up to take on a haunting tale of ghostly activity and a slow burn style, by combining both heavy dramatic moments with a psychological design, though there’s an overwhelming amount of dialogue which might bog down the viewers’ entertainment. There’s a few themes taking place in the story that use the term “power”, while some see it as electrical power, it also extends itself to political power which learn through a title card of a battle between trade unions and the government leading to political power; and then there’s the power to wrongfully wield sexual misconduct over any empowerment of women and finally the hierarchy of power within the confines of the workplace herein an East London Infirmary/Hospital all in the year of 1974.
The power struggle which occurs leads to blackouts at night, creating their own nightmarish consequences and revealing hidden horrors, which plague the lead character Val (Rose Williams), who thoroughly understands her place and role in the setting, submissively adhering to her class-status as a meek nurse in training. She was studying the correlation between her spoken words of poverty and health, which seem a tad spot-on concerning the downward spiral effecting the quality of life. She was also instructed about the rules, from a storm yet appears in tone more as principal Matron (Diveen Henry), instructions on how to wear her uniform, never question or ask a doctor as they talk above your level (noting again her place) and adhere to the ‘power’ chain of command while knowing what happens during the stay inside the hospital, more secrets. Val possesses a meek projection of herself, but her actions are all-well-being, she’s punished after being thrown into a situation without a solution. Also involved in the story is another meek child Saba (Shakira Rahman) her own personal walls up for defense against these strangers, who treat her as inferior, as she communicates and she worried of the surroundings, especially that she was (oops about to reveal too much) the darkness lays tripwires of doom and perhaps peril.
After Dr. Franklyn (Charlie Carrick (Trench 11 )) asks for her opinion, she is punished for speaking out-of-turn, no one coming to her defense, she’s given the nightshift, a mere candle/lantern to aid her in the darkness. Hence the usage long dark corridors allow for the depth perception to work against both Val the audience, though not too many jump scarers, a plus, but the suspense factor is well-paced, however it might miss some viewers that crave action scenes rather than slow progress. Val’s backstory has her as child growing up at the orphanage at Our Lady of Grace, and a target of bullying because of many issues including fear of ‘the dark’ which works on nerves in the darkness, and almost fearful of her own shadow.
Corinna makes sure to first lay the groundwork and stage the scene to maximize the dread and gloomy mood, while noting the greenish halls, cast against the sanitized white rooms, a warm glow of pale yellow, wonders if she didn’t hone some of Dario Argento’s style of subtle usage of color palate. There’s a lovely touch of a fiery glow of furnace the casts shadows in a hall, as Val utters the dangerous greeting ‘hello’ never wise to say in a horror situation, the scene also harkens to that of a boiling room for Freddy Krueger. The music and sound department work in concert to create an eerie tone that heightens the visuals shown in the latter portion of the second and third act. There’s subtle reference to her position prior to meeting her supervisor, she must squeeze around a group of male doctors focused on their discussion, either unaware or uncaring about this nurse, a contempt attitude she’s beneath them in all manners. While the scene is only 3-seconds it shows the detail of Faith’s suggestions in storytelling conveyed to the most astute viewer the power-play between the sexes.
The straightforward ghost telling stories, now find themselves replaced with tales of possessions, like many fans they seek a return to spooky creations; whether folklore or urban legends sprung to life, regardless savoring a return to it. Demons and Ghosts come back as a natural form, an invisible power or mist taking form of its entity, but alas that is not the essence found here, it’s the common contortionist freakish movements of the possess that occurs in the second act. There’s a brief scene likely unintentional that makes bit of reference to Halloween II , though I won’t expand on it, allowing you find that on your own. Another aspect, which is often overlooked is the filmmakers continually usage of hospitals, they are fearful locations, life, and death constantly at battle, costs rule the day and the danger of trusting those doctors in the pristine white coats, are they angels or merely power-hungry individuals with their own inner demons and vices.
This film is available on both Shudder network and DVD.
IMDb Rating: 5.5/10
Baron’s Rating: 5.0/10