For many seeing the name Ross Noble among the top billing of a horror film would no doubt confuse and astound them seeing as the comedian is better known for his stand up performances and panel show appearances.
Interestingly Nails is the second horror movie Noble has made the first being his starring role as the titulature character of Stiches a killer clown who returns from the dead to reap revenge on the people who caused his demise.
Playing it a lot straighter this time round Nails sees Noble playing Trevor Helms a health worker come handyman at the creepy Hopewell Hospital helping the latest arrival Dana Milgrom (Decent 1 and 2’s Shauna Macdonald) overcome her horrible accident and a lot more besides.
A super fit highly motivated track coach Dana is now bedridden and paralysed after a near-death car accident which left her trapped in her own body with only Trever as company between the sparse visits from her daughter Gemma (Leah McNamara) and husband Steve (Steve Wall).
Depressed and desperate to move and properly talk again without the aid of a computer Dana spirals down much to the concern of the staff and her family however when she starts hearing strange noises and seeing malevolent menacing figures they all fear she has gone mad.
Installing cameras which she can control form the console by her bed to appease her panic her nearest and not so dearest hope the hallucinations they think are in her head will pass but when someone or something switches off her ventilator Dana realises the horror in the hospital has set its sights on taking her life this time for good.
With solid direction, story and scripting Nails blends a whole host of horror concepts and clichés you would expect to find within this set up including corrupt management, family drama, a slightly psychotic psychotherapist in the form of Robert O’Mahoney Dr. Stengel, Noble’s comedic yet slightly creepy nurse and the revelation of the hospitals secret past all managing to remain entertaining and engaging regardless.
What holds it all together is Shauna Macdonald’s excellent turn as a woman broken in every way from her mind to her body to her soul and this grounded and greatly affecting performance keeps the fear factor high due to our loyalty to the character and our ability to imagine how truly defenceless she is to whatever or whoever is terrifyingly toying with her.
Nails also keeps its blood soaked cards close to its scar ridden chest in regards to of Dana’s disturbing dilemma keeping the viewer guessing to its true nature and whether it’s a supernatural stalker, a simple psycho or completely a product of her damaged and imprisoned imagination till the final act.
A fine little frightener with some nail biting tension and jump scares Nails may not excel in originality but more than delivers in other areas including Shauna Macdonald’s commitment to a difficult and demanding character who could have become just another screaming victim in another actors less capable hands.