I saw this British supernatural horror film on Shudder last night and was reasonably impressed by it. It’s set in the early 1970s in London, during a period of frequent power outages caused by a miners’ strike. I sympathise with this situation very much, as we here in Ireland are apparently facing something similar this coming winter due to the energy shortage-slash-crisis.

I’m fully expecting our government at some stage to suggest that we all climb into big cardboard boxes this winter and hibernate till Spring, FATHER TED-style, to keep costs down. At this stage, after soaring energy bills and the government’s seeming inability to lift a finger to stop it, I literally wouldn’t be surprised.

Anyway, it’s on the night of one such power outage that a pretty young trainee nurse called Val does her first night shift in the East London Royal Infirmary where she hopes to work, if she gets through her probationary period. She’s already pissed off the hard-ass Matron and the spooky and unpopular night shift is her just desserts, lol.

The hospital seems mostly empty as a lot of patients have, I think, been moved to another hospital for the night while the power’s off. Doesn’t that sound like a ridiculous amount of trouble, if not downright unfeasible? Anyway, there’s still a few patients and staff remaining, and the janitor, a sleazebag called Neville, so Val won’t be entirely on her own.

She seems to spend most of her night shift wandering round the darkest, scariest parts of the hospital, including the basement and furnace room, looking for the charts requested by the spiteful and bitchy Nurse Babs.

Babs remembers Val from their past life when they both went to school together, but Babs was a regular schoolgirl and Val was one of the povvos from the local orphanage. It sounds like Babs went out of her way to make Val’s life worse than it already was.

As Val wanders around the dark lonely hospital with no company other than her trusty Florence Nightingale-style lantern, she becomes ever more conscious of the fact that she’s being stalked by an unseen presence. It touches her, pulls her this way and that, and generally puts the fear of God in her.

The other staff don’t believe her when she tells them. Her reputation for ‘telling lies’ about people, accusing them ‘falsely’ of things, has preceded her, they tell her. A very convincing display of demonic possession from Val persuades them that there might just be something to what she’s trying to tell them after all.

The problem with this hospital is that it’s shrouded in mysteries, secrets and lies. There have been abuses committed, and abuses covered up and swept under the carpet. Women and girls have been abused, then threatened and very effectively silenced. The perpetrators are whom the perpetrators normally are, rich white males whom no-one would dare to question or attempt to silence.

This bit reminds me that Jimmy Savile was at this time roaming freely through the hospitals where he served as a volunteer porter and hospital visitor- including Broadmoor- and committing the most appalling abuses which were going completely unchecked. He was Jimmy Savile, after all. Why would anyone question the nation’s most celebrated television star…?

So, the question now is, who is trying to attract Nurse Val’s attention and what is the message they’re attempting to get her to understand? And will Val be up to the task, or will the rich white males succeed in silencing her and all the other voices around her clamouring to be heard? You’ll have to watch the movie to find out for yourselves, folks…

I’ll admit I was quite bored for a lot of the running-round-the-hospital-in-the-dark bits. Plus, the darkness itself makes it hard to see what’s actually going on at times, which is unfortunate. It’s still an interesting one-off watch, though, with a strong message, and I liked the ending, so it’s all good.

Well, I suppose it’s time to get into my cardboard box now for the winter. I’ve told my sister about it, I’ve cancelled the milk and the newspapers, I’ve done a wee and I’ve packed my sandwiches and Thermos flask. See you all next Spring…


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

Her new book, THIRTEEN STOPS EARLIER, is out now from Poolbeg Books:

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:


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