BLU-RAY REVIEW: NURSE 3D / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: DOUGLAS AARNIOKOSKI / SCREENPLAY: DOUGLAS AARNIOKOSKI, DAVID LOUGHERY / STARRING: KATHLEEN TURNER, KATRINA BOWDEN, JUDD NELSON, PAZ DE LA HUERTA / RELEASE DATE: JANUARY 5TH
From the outset, it’s clear that Nurse (2D or 3D depending on your preference) has its medically trained eyes firmly fixed on the always popular exploitation market. Director and co-writer Douglas Aarniokoski would appear to have formulated a check list composed of themes and influences drawn from the work of classic genre directors such as Russ Meyer, and from modern exponents of the art like Eli Roth. Sadly, if predictably, Nurse doesn’t reach the heights of either of those filmmakers.
Outwardly, Abby Russell (de la Huerta) is the perfect nurse. She wins monthly awards for her commitment, mentors young newly-qualified nurses and sets a shining example in everything she does. Behind the facade, however, she is a malicious, murderous vixen who hunts unfaithful men for sport and consigns them to a bloody, guilt-ridden fate. Her carefully constructed world begins to unwind though when she meets newbie Danni (Bowden) who begins to suspect Abby may harbour some very dark secrets.
From the sexualised nurses uniforms (which seem to include obligatory stockings) to the excessively free-flowing blood, Nurse comes across almost comic in its premise. The fact that everything is played very straight indicates this is more than likely unintentional which leaves the whole film slightly awkward and never quite sure of itself. As Abby continues her murderous spree utilising sex and drugs as her weapons she becomes increasingly unbelievable as a character, inhabiting a fabricated world that falls apart the moment anyone begins to ask questions. It seems improbable she could have continued for so long undetected but in retaining a serious tone to the action Aarniokoski insists we buy into the story, and that becomes an expectation impossible to deliver on.
The casting and performances are also sporadic in their success. De la Huerta always seems a little out of place; her steady, monotone delivery never really convincing and the manipulative control she apparently exudes over those around her never really rings true. Bowden is perfectly fine as the reluctant heroine but spends the majority of the film looking shocked and horrified and is given little else to do. Most criminal is the woeful under-use of Turner who makes a promising gravel-voiced appearance early on as the Head Nurse, but then disappears without mention or trace despite the terror evident in her hospital.
Without giving too much away, the majority of the final act is a combination of very ropey 3D (as obvious as Abby’s backstory) and gallons of the red stuff. It feels like the filmmakers are throwing everything they have at the story in order to generate a reaction from the audience, but instead of one of disgust and shock it is more likely to be a weary sigh as the action becomes repetitively dull and desperately over the top.
Nurse is a film made up of many elements you will have seen before and while in some films this works, when carefully blended by a skilled directorial surgeon, here it all feels just a little too tiresome. Not worth making an appointment to view.