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Monday, September 20, 2021

When ‘The Power’ Goes Out: 10 of the Scariest Scenes in Horror That Take Place in the Dark

Corinna Faith’s supernatural chiller, The Power, takes place in 1974 London when mandated blackouts plunged the city into darkness every night. It’s the worst-case scenario for Val (Rose Williams), a young nurse starting her very first night shift in an old hospital that’s mid-relocation. Trying to navigate the unfamiliar labyrinthine corridors at night, save for a lantern to guide the way, would be daunting enough. Still, Val suffers from a debilitating fear of the dark, too.

Her fears prove correct when she discovers the shadows harbor a malevolent force hellbent on destroying everything around her. The near-empty hospital staffed only by a skeleton crew means the eerie place offers very little light to reprieve Val. The longer the night wears on, the more exposed to danger Val becomes. It leads to some intense, unnerving moments in the pitch-black spaces.

The Power releases on VOD, Digital, and DVD on September 21, 2021. In anticipation, we look back at ten of the scariest scenes in horror that embrace the darkness.

Hereditary – Annie on the ceiling

Just seeing a dim room in a horror movie puts you on edge as your mind immediately starts checking the perimeter for danger. Ari Aster exploits this to its fullest, training audiences to look for ominous, hidden figures lurking in the background. Then, after accidentally killing his sister, Peter (Alex Wolff) awakes in the middle of the night by strange sounds and startling images of her lurking in the corners of his room. It’s just a mere warm-up for later. In the climax, Peter awakens once more and heads downstairs to find his father. He’s unaware that his now-possessed mother crawls above him on the ceiling, watching him in bed then skittering to follow him into the living room. It’s so quietly handled that the slow realization that she’s there at all packs a potent punch.

The Conjuring – Hide and Clap

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James Wan offered no shortage of scares across the first two films in The Conjuring universe, which kickstarted a franchise still going strong. That means you could take your pick from unforgettable moments of fright that take place during the blanket of night. But it’s hard to beat the effective moment that helped usher in this franchise’s reputation for terror; the disembodied clapping hands that guided Carolyn Perron (Lili Taylor) to the dank basement then trapped her in the pitch black. It was just the start of her nightmare and ours.

Lights Out – Red Light 

David F. Sandberg established himself as a master of crafting bone-chilling nocturnal scares with the short that inspired this feature-length adaptation. He continued that same scare-crafting throughout, finding new ways to wield his menacing shadowed specter in the dark. In an early scene, protagonist Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) awakes at night and assumes her half-brother is hunched in the doorway, hidden by shadows. It’s not. The flickering red neon light outside the apartment window creates an eerie red light, green light game between human and malevolent presence.

Hell House LLC – Night Visitor

A Halloween haunt crew picks the empty Abaddon Hotel for their latest seasonal attraction and move in to get it ready in time. Naturally, they don’t realize it’s been uninhabited for a reason, and the hotel’s spooky denizens waste no time welcoming their new tenants. One of the most startling moments of this creepfest sees one of the members awakened in the middle of the night by a strange sound. He turns on the light, unaware that a ghost has been sitting in the dark, watching him. When he notices her, he turns the light off and buries himself under the covers. The ghoulish night visitor finds him anyway.

47 Meters Down – A Flare in the Dark

An impulsive diving expedition goes awry and traps two sisters at the bottom of the ocean with limited oxygen. Making matters worse are the hungry sharks on the prowl. All of it builds to one of the most intense jump scares. This pivotal scene sees the girls slowly making their way to the surface, stopping to acclimate to the pressure as they go. That makes them vulnerable to predators, and only a sole flare keeps them at bay. Then it fizzles out, leaving the sisters scrambling for a new light. It leads to one disturbing reveal of danger.

Lake Mungo – Alice’s vision

Teen Alice Palmer drowns while swimming with her family. Shortly after, strange things begin happening at the family home, prompting her brother to set up cameras around the house. It’s the start of a strange, haunting tale full of twists and turns, with surprising revelations about who Alice really was. One of those reveals is that Alice had a premonition about her death, and it culminated in one unexpected, terrifying moment in the dark. On a school trip to Lake Mungo, Alice wandered off into the night and encountered the bloated corpse doppelganger.

Cloverfield – Subway parasites

When a giant monster is rampaging across New York City, underground seems like the safer means of travel. The protagonists flee into the Subway, far from the chaos. Using the light and night vision from the camera to guide their way as they walk through the pitch-black tunnels, rats signal something far more threatening is closing in on them. It’s this suspenseful scene that introduces the monster’s parasites, followed by a harrowing reveal of what happens when you get bitten by one.

The Descent – Night vision reveal

A camera’s night vision is a handy tool in horror, but sometimes it proves ignorance is bliss. For the group of women on a spelunking adventure gone wrong, it’s perhaps a bit of both. Survival odds are already precarious when trapped in an unexplored cave system with no help on the way. That’s before the realization that these characters unwittingly stumbled into the den of humanoid predators. At first, they can be spotting in the background for eagle-eyed viewers. Then, director Neil Marshall delivers a massive jolt with its proper introduction; one sneaks up behind a character, and it’s only discovered last minute by the camera’s night vision.

Alien – The air ducts

Nostromo captain Dallas (Tom Skerritt) volunteers to enter the air ducts to flush the creature out and into the airlock. He crouches through the vents, using a flame thrower to help light his way while his crew guides him over the radio. The tension coils tighter the further Dallas goes, and the more the beeping indicates he’s getting closer to finding the creature. Dallas finally decides to flee, not realizing until it’s too late that he’s run right into the alien, which blends in perfectly with the dark, black ducts.

REC – The Penthouse

How do you wrap up a nonstop found footage outbreak movie that refused to give its characters a moment’s reprieve? With an even more breathless finale that sees the two remaining survivors finally get some insight into the outbreak while pitting them against its source in one nail-biting sequence set entirely in the pitch black. Trapped within the penthouse suite, Angela and Pablo attempt to evade the gaunt, starving Tristana, but when you can’t see her coming, the suspense increases tenfold. It ends with an unforgettable shot of Angela getting dragged into the darkness.

Discover more dark set scares when The Power releases on VOD, Digital, and DVD on September 21, 2021.


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