2014 - 84 minutes
Directed by:Douglas Aarniokoski
Written by:Douglas Aarniokoski, David Loughery
Starring: Paz de la Huerta, Katrina Bowden, Corbin Bleu, Judd Nelson, Martin Donovan, Nicey Nash, Boris Kodje
Nurse 3D aims low and hits the middle. It’s a film that wants to be unapologetically lurid, but despite copious amounts of nudity and CGI blood there’s not a lot to apologize for, other than stretches of tedium. Sandwiched between a sleazy fun opening and a madcap, blood-soaked finale is a lot of posturing and standard thriller tropes, all lacking in sordid barrel-scraping. Much of the sashaying, fornicating, and wooden delivery of ridiculous dialogue comes across as more mundane than trashy.
By day sexy Abby (Paz de la Huerta) is a nurse at All Saints Hospital in New York City. We know she’s good at her job because she’s the reigning “Nurse of the Month.” By night Abby prowls the New York social scene, seeking out philandering men to punish and kill, giving in to her deep-rooted hatred of cheating hubbies. New nurse Danni (Katrina Bowden) was a promising student but is having difficulty dealing with the intense real-world demands of the job. She’s chewed out by Dr. Morris (Judd Nelson), and as Abby notes in droll voiceover, “she lost her virginity and the blood flowed” after multiple casualties arrive on her first night. Attracted to the neophyte, Abby takes Danni out on the town, forcing her to over-imbibe and participate in a sexual encounter she can’t remember, taking several photographs just in case future blackmailing is needed. In typical obsessed-woman fashion, Abby stalks Danni and tries to earn her favor through misguided means that involve murder and mayhem.
Keeping the murderous intentions of Abby refreshingly transparent, Nurse 3D opens with her donning a see-through dress and caked-on makeup while on the prowl for cheaters. Within a few minutes she has a sad sack cornered on a roof, where she compliments a photo of his lovely family while slicing him with a scalpel. Following an obligatory 3D impaling and a kitschy opening title sequence, the film sadly settles into a standard Single White Female scenario with Abby trying to dig her claws into Danni while only occasionally digging medical instruments into victims.
We know Abby’s insane from the get-go, and with no descent into madness plot to follow, the process of tightening the screws on Danni is just a matter of routine. As is Danni’s investigation and discovery of Abby’s scarring past. Dealings with Danni’s lustful stepfather (Martin Donovan), her boyfriend (Corbin Bleu), and a cursory investigation from Detective Rogan (Boris Kodje) are treated as just a few more boxes of necessity to check off.
Performances are consistently flat, which is disappointing for a would-be exploitation romp. Nelson and Donovan are set up as villains, but neither is given the opportunity to chew scenery before their inevitable demise. Paz de la Huerta does a fine job of being bad, including with her performance. Whether by accident or not her consistent monotone, breathy delivery occasionally hits a humorous tone. Much of her performance, though, is based on a sexy strut and her body in various state of undress – with which she does very well. Bowden retains her character’s sweetness with naiveté decked out in lingerie. Man, these nurses shower a lot.
Director Douglas Aarniokoski and co-scripter David Loughery start their film off with a bang and finally arrive at a climax of chaos, but in an 84 movie it feels like it takes a long time to get there. Not as fun as Piranha 3D or as inventive as Hobo With a Shotgun – two comparable recent films attempting the grindhouse aesthetic – Nurse 3D isn’t a good bad movie or a bad bad movie. It’s an unfortunately innocuous one.
© 2014 by Blake Crane