Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Advent of Atrocities - Day 3: Nurse (2013)

So, at the end of Nurse, we find out that Abbie the killer nurse is actually Sarah Price, who had been living under a fake identity after escaping the mental hospital she'd been committed to after killing her father as an 8-year old.

That's right. I just spoiled the whole plot in the first sentence. I did this because:
A) I'm an asshole, and
B) To make the point that the film's plot is entirely beside the point.

This "twist" is just tacked on to make it seem like Nurse is telling an actual story. But the glory of Nurse is that it manages to be a great time despite lacking such fundamental things as story and character development. Further, it creates a new horror icon for the ages. Abbie Russell stands tall among some of the most sinister villains in the genre. And to think, I fully intended to skip this one.

I never wanted to see Nurse. It looked like nothing more than a cheesy, money-grabbing excuse to show boobies in 3-D. And it kinda is. But in a good way. The narration is sharp and funny, delivered in Paz de la Huerta's drawn-out monotone that kills every one-liner the script throws at her. At one point, she has just offed her therapist by seducing him in his car, shooting him up with a paralytic, then letting the car roll backward into traffic where it promptly gets totalled by a semi. As the victim's bloody corpse smashes through the windshield, she narrates, "Larry made me come after all."

Half the reason Nurse didn't initially appeal to me was that I never thought too much of Paz de la Huerta. Maybe she's pretty, but not in a way that appeals to me, and I figured she was cast because of her willingness to take her clothes off (SPOILER: She does.), but aside from the killer script, she's the reason Nurse is so much fun.

Her part is written so she doesn't really have to act. She just has to vamp like crazy. But somehow she ends up being a totally compelling character and hilarious to boot. Her every line is simultaneously overplayed and underplayed, if that makes any sense.

The fun part of Nurse is watching Abbie gleefully (yes, she remains stone-faced, but the glee is implied) dismantles her new coworker, Dani's entire life, all the while justifying it to herself. When Dani graduates from nursing school, Abbie takes her out on the town, drugs her drink, sets her up with a 3-way, and takes photos to use against her. None of this is out of spite, by the way; Abbie has quite the thing for Dani. But Dani's got a boyfriend she needs to get rid of. Everything Abbie does is completely malevolent, but she still sees herself as the hero of her own story.

The violence in Nurse is pretty strong throughout, but the last 15 minutes becomes a pretty decent bloodbath, The gore isn't stomach-turning, but the blood does flow freely. Nurse isn't a pull-the-covers-over-your-head-and-sleep-with-all-the-lights-on horror movie. It's a wicked, mindless hoot for a drunken Saturday night. So there's your weekend. You're welcome.

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