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Double Impact (1991)
Tonight's Feature Presentation

NURSE (2014)

Starring: Paz de la Huerta, Katrina Bowden, Judd Nelson, Corbin Bleu, Boris Kodjoe, Melanie Scrofano

Written By: Douglas Aarniokoski, David Loughery Directed By: Douglas Aarniokoski

The Short Version

Ah, good old fashioned sex-n-violence exploitation!

Think of it as a Skinamax movie with a real budget.

Of course Nurse is over the top; it’s supposed to be.

Paz de la Huerta acts on a wonderfully jagged edge.

If exploitation flicks are your thing, check in with Nurse.


The Long Version

What Kind Of Cheese Is It?

PORT WINE SPREAD.

Lots of big red streaks, easy to smear over everything, and tasty without pretense; proof that something doesn’t need to be artisanal to be good.


Pairs Well With...

HONEY WHISKEY.

It’s got bite but that sweetness makes it so smooth and easy to enjoy.  It can also knock you on your ass if you let it.

“For you nurses out there: lighten up.  You do your job, and I’ll do mine.  I love my fucking job.”


The above is the advice that Abby (Paz de la Huerta, Enter the Void), our title character, gives to the audience during an early voice over.  (She’s astride a gent whose chest has become a pin cushion for roughly a dozen giant syringes at the time.)  It’s good advice, not just for the nurses in crowd, but for everybody.  After all, Nurse is a shameless exploitation flick, and everyone involved knows and embraces that fact.  The least that a savvy viewer can do is play along and see where the ride goes.

As it turns out, the ride goes through a bunch of sex, tons of innuendo, lots of nudity, buckets of blood, and plenty of double take moments designed to make audience members’ jaws hit the floor.  What is not to be found at any point along the way is a single drop of shame.  If that kind of sex-n-violence exploitation doesn’t sound like your thing, then you shouldn’t bother making any appointments to see Nurse.  But if that kind of sex-n-violence exploitation does sound like your thing (represent, old school Cinemax fans), Nurse is a bloody good time.

The movie tells a chapter in the life of Nurse Abby Russell (at least we’re pretty sure that’s what her name is for a while), who capably see to the needs of patients at All Saints Hospital.  But while she is indeed very good at what she does – a picture placard in the hallway indicates that she was recently named the hospital’s “Nurse of the Month” – her true passion lies with her extracurricular mission: making cheating men pay for their sins… permanently.  How does she find the cheaters?  Why, by using herself as very alluring bait, of course.  Paints a pretty straightforward picture so far, right?

But soon after Abby introduces herself to the audience, things get complicated.  There’s a new nurse she’s mentoring, Danni (Katrina Bowden, Piranha 3DD), who’s had a bad first day on the job.  Abby’s cure for the bad day blues?  A girls’ night out, drinks… and rufies.  And a wild threesome, with photographic evidence.  But much to Abby’s shock and disappointment, Danni doesn’t seem very grateful the next morning, and even spurns her mentor’s efforts to become her new special friend.

Looks like Abby has two special missions of vengeance to busy herself with now…

Let’s be honest, folks: Nurse wasn’t made to win any Oscars.  It’s straight up, self aware exploitation, and that’s that.  It doesn’t even bother with any of the usual dramatic pretenses put forth by most representatives of its genre (no one’s even pretending that this is a noir erotic thriller); instead, it goes straight for the over-the-top crazy from the very first moment, warns the audience to “lighten up,” and doesn’t let up on the blood-soaked gas until after the very last. 

You want depth?  Check the red puddles on the floor and see how deep they are, because that’s pretty much all you’re going to find.  With Nurse, what you see is what you get, and what you see are butts, boobs, bodies, and blood.  (And I suspect there will be plenty more of all four “B”s on display in a future unrated cut.  I hope so, anyway; if there isn’t one, I will be sorely disappointed.)  The characters are who they are; don’t expect them to develop anything other than sudden cases of becoming deceased.  And sense?  Not so much.  Sure, Abby’s given a mission at the start of the movie (not to mention two spectacular kills), but she branches out in a hurry, quickly reaching a point where she discriminates only slightly more than Michael Myers does in the Halloween flicks.  By the time the Third Act is reached, her primary goal appears to be upping the ante in the “That’s Just Wrong” sweepstakes.

And you know what, folks?  It’s great.

Nurse is a murder spree with the fun atmosphere of a caper, the gore of a horror flick, and a main character with the sort of charisma generally found in only the best slashers.  All things considered, it’s impossible to call Abby a “hero,” per se, but she’s just too much fun to call a “villain,” either.  Like Jason Voorhees in a good Friday the 13th flick, she’s a killer the audience can’t help but root for, and like the slasher bait Jason chases after, even the most sensible and good hearted of Abby’s victims (they’re not all scumbags) are easy to root against precisely because they’re supposed to be Abby’s victims.  Sure, Danni’s nice and all – indeed, she’s remarkably normal and level headed – but, well…

And let’s not forget to give credit where credit is due.  The script is very smartly written (it doesn't need to be groundbreakingly different to be smart), walking that fine line between “not taking itself seriously” and “farce” extremely well, always staying on the former side of the line even as a hundred sharks are jumped.  Director Douglas Aarniokoski (Highlander: Endgame) keeps everything on a well-handled leash even as he lets it all run wild.  Paz de la Huerta makes Abby not just sexy and crazy, but also smart and interesting, giving the character that all-important presence required to make it all work.  Nurse lives or dies based on her performance, and even though a lot of characters wind up dead, the movie itself is very much alive and stabbing.

It’s also nice seeing former brat packer Judd Nelson (The Breakfast Club) making an appearance as the sleazy doctor who prowls the hospital floor, and the quick cameo by femme fatale emeritus Kathleen Turner (Body Heat) as the Head Nurse is an especially outstanding touch.

As is the very last scene, which I’m absolutely not going to spoil for you.

I went into Nurse with a pretty good idea of what to expect (the fact that all but one version of the officially sanctioned advance poster art involves nudity and blood gave me a clear indicator, if nothing else), and on almost every score, it exceeded my expectations.  (As noted before, I expect a future unrated cut to fill in anything still missing.)  I was looking for a bloody exploitation flick, and hot damn, did I ever get it.  I had fun from start to finish, and really, what more can anyone ask of a movie of this nature than that?

Bottom line, if blood soaked murder flavored with sex and nudity and a heavy medical fetish sound like your kind of getaway flick, this Nurse delivers.  Don't take it seriously, and you will be rewarded.

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- Reviewed by Ziggy Berkeley, February, 2014


More From The Bar! | Crash (1996) | Basic Instinct | Killer Nun |



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