Supernatural ghost story Nails, starring comedian Ross Noble and The Descent’s Shauna McDonald, comes to home release.
After being hit by a car, track coach Dana (McDonald) is stuck in a run-down hospital trying to recover. However, she starts hearing and seeing strange things in her room. Convinced she’s being haunted, she uncovers the shady past of one of the former staff members.
The haunted hospital genre isn’t exactly an original one, and Nails never manages to find any new ideas in its concept. That’s not to say it’s not a complete write off though. The design of the intimidating Nails (Richard Foster-King), with his sharp nails, white eyes, towering frame and tooth-filled mouth is strong enough to unsettle and it does conjure up a couple of creepy moments and mildly effective jump scares. He cuts a ghoulish silhouette, especially as we hit the final act.
The film places a lot of the action in one room. The hospital never really feels like a real place, just a creepy deserted horror location, and the excuse of poor insurance never really cuts it. Nails frequently enters through a storage cupboard that looks like it comes from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, located opposite the end of Dana’s bed; a spooky sight but quite never believable. Nails is set predominantly just inside of Dana’s room and it pushes itself to the limit in keeping the location interesting enough for us to stay with it for almost ninety minutes.
The acting sways a little. Shauna McDonald does well with a character who mostly talks through a computer. Ross Noble wobbles a bit, out of his comfort zone in a largely non-comedic role. The plot throws in a couple of twists to keep things moving along, but you probably won’t be too surprised at the revelations. Functional rather than startling. Though it’s nice to see that it doesn’t hold any nostalgia for its characters, so anyone is fair game for the Freddy Kruegered-manicured cuticles.
As far as a debut feature for writer/director Dennis Bartok, it’s alright. There seems to be enough potential for you to hope that he could make better things in the future, but it is hindered by a lack of new ideas and some unintentional humour in the denouement. Nails is probably only going to be remembered for starring Noble, which is a bit of a shame because it’s more than that. The extras on the disc are slim with only a trailer and a Making Of that barely stretches to ten minutes.
Nails has enough in it to make for an alright evening watch, but its lack of originality means you won’t remember it for very long. It has nothing to mark it out in the genre but it just about does the job while you’re watching it.
NAILS / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: DENNIS BARTOK / SCREENPLAY: TOM ABRAMS, DENNIS BARTOK / STARRING: SHAUNA MACDONALD, LEAH MCNAMARA, ROSS NOBLE / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW