Despite completing filming in 2011, the Doug Aarniokoski directed Nurse 3D was shelved for two years while Lionsgate acquired the rights.
Last year, the film was released on VOD and screened in selective theatres but has since attained a UK DVD and blu-ray release, showcasing both 2D and 3D versions.
Abby Russell (Paz de la Huerta) is a devoted nurse, keen on supporting and mentoring new recruits into the job. However Abby leads a seductive yet deadly double life, at night she lures unsuspecting cheating men to their death. She takes new nurse Danni (Katrina Bowden) under her wing, but Danni soon realizes there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to Abby. When Abby doesn’t get what she wants she unleashes hellbent revenge on those who’ve ‘wronged’ her meaning Danni must watch her back before Abby hurts her and those she’s closest to.
Nurse 3D is semi-entertaining but for the majority it’s problematic as it doesn’t seem quite sure what it wants to be. The film emulates Sin City in the sense of creating this highly stylized film noir complete with a constant voice over from Paz de la Huerta’s character but at the same time it goes down both the exploitation and sexploitation route. It attempts to be incredibly camp but fails to plant its tongue in its cheek and bizarrely plays things completely straight, resulting in a mean-spirited mess of a film that doesn’t manage to garner any empathy for its protagonists or many laughs either.
Its Single White Female thriller plot is what keeps it engaging enough to sit through despite its evident predictability. There is something that is difficult to decipher but somehow manages to keep us watching.
On the whole Paz de la Huerta does an excellent job as the psychotic Abby and Katrina Bowden compliments her as the innocent wholesome girl-next-door type Danni. Huerta is ideal for the role, playing the scorned woman/femme fatale, she shows she means business and ensures her character is a major threat throughout. Sadly, Huerta doesn’t bring any hint of likability to the role and the performance isn’t exuberant enough to allow us to side with her, making the entire film all the more unsatisfying. It’s quite odd including Abby as the main feature of the film but depicting her as this all out despicable person. Unlike American Mary where we have a deadpan yet empathetic antagonist or Serial Mom where we have an over the top performance of a suburban housewife committing crazy murders however has a message and understanding behind it, there’s no redeeming qualities for Abby Russell, but hey that must have been the intention.
Speaking of Serial Mom, Kathleen Turner makes a brief cameo at the beginning of Nurse 3D as the head nurse which is completely wasted given her talents as an actress, I’m left wondering why we didn’t get to see more of her.
Despite being incredibly stereotypical depiction of a ‘sassy’ African-American female, Nicey Nash is pretty hilarious as Regina, her character tells it like it is and provides a decent amount of comedy amongst the strangely put together script.
There’s a great deal of female-fronted nudity included which borders on either being feminist (the female body should be celebrated) but given the subject matter of sex as a weapon and its anti-male vibe it diverts from being empowering to simply being T&A for the purpose of titillation. Everything is just a confusing mess.
On the plus side, the film certainly looks good and the blu-ray quality enhances the stunning cinematography, particularly the eye-catching establishing shots of the city. As stated the soundtrack is a saving grace with some catchy tracks including ‘Kill the Night’ by Gin Wigmore (which plays on the title menu) which certainly packs a punch. Also ‘I Eat Boys Like You for Breakfast’ performed by Ida Marie is a fitting soundtrack highlight.
Channelling my inner Roger Ebert, Nurse 3D most definitely gets a thumbs down. I’m not going to advise everyone to rush out and pick up a copy, that’s for sure. It’s simply too much of everything and doesn’t work. Trying to be a noir, thriller, grindhouse, slasher is being too ambitious in this case. For a more entertaining performance from Paz de la Huerta I highly recommend her supporting role in Astron-6’s The Editor, a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously but uses all its intended elements well and gets it right.
Nurse 3D left me cold. It’ll take a large prescription dose to get over this one!