NURSE 3D (2013)
It’s been a while since I’ve seen a guilty pleasure like Nurse 3D that not only wears it’s exploitation movie status proudly, but gleefully revels in it. It’s not perfect, but has a good, gory time with it’s twisted story and isn’t afraid to be trashy when it wants to be.
The ‘Nurse’ in question is Abby Russell (Paz de la Huerta) an angel of mercy at a NYC hospital by day and murderess, who preys on married men who cheat on their wives, by night. Abby also develops an unhealthy infatuation with pretty new nurse Danni (New Jersey native Katrina Bowden) and if anyone has seen Fatal Attraction, you know where this is heading. Abby takes advantage of an upset Danni and while on a girls night out, she drugs her for a night of depraved sex between the two and a man they met at a club…which Abby documents with her cellphone. When Danni starts to become afraid of Abby’s obsessive behavior…which includes murdering her cheating step-father (Martin Donovan)…and jealousy of her boyfriend, Steve (Corbin Bleu), she rejects her and sends Abby off the deep end of revenge, blackmail and murder…which she tries to pin on Danni. Meanwhile, Danni does some investigating and finds out the horrifying truth behind her deranged co-worker…but is it too late to save herself, Steve and anyone else in Abby’s bloody path?
Directed and co-written (with David Loughery) by Doug Aarniokoski, Nurse 3D is a stylish, fast paced and fun exploitation flick that is only held back by it’s reliance on the all too familiar ‘crazy jilted lover’ storyline we’ve seen so many times before. Abby’s antics to get back at Danni are blood-soaked fun and taken to extremes, but it’s still a tale told many times and we wish the story focused a bit more on Abby’s vengeful nighttime activities than her psychotic attachment to Danni. Though, the lengths she will go to salve her broken heart are gleefully sadistic and blood-spattered.
The cast go with the material and have a good time with it, especially NYC girl, de la Huerta. As Abby, the actress goes nicely over the top, not being afraid to walk around stark naked, or covered in blood, or both, as she delights in her depraved actions and walks a nice fine line between over-the-top and camp without crossing it. The rest of the cast play it fairly straight and the fact that de la Huerta is the only one to really go into overdrive, makes the film work very well by giving it some contrast between the normal world and the demented fantasy world in Abby’s head. Katrina Bowden is a strong heroine and does a really good job at portraying the object of Abby’s twisted affections and a woman forced to fight back against a literal nightmare on two legs. The two actually have a nice chemistry together which makes things click all the more and we only wish it was the same with Corbin Bleu’s generic boyfriend, Steve. You wonder why Danni bothers with the guy, they just don’t seem to really click all that well, but it does make Abby’s obsession work all the better, as there seems to be a bit of a bond till Abby’s Single White Female behavior forces Danni away. We get solid work from the supporting cast too, with Judd Nelson playing a hard-nosed, philandering doctor, Melanie Scrofano as a way too perky head of human resources and Kathleen Turner puts in an appearance as the head nurse.
On a technical side the film looks very good with an arty visual style that suits the film’s audacious, fetish-laced, tone. There are some very gruesome moments, such as impromptu surgery and what might be the goriest hospital bloodbath since The Re-Animator and all the gore is exceptionally rendered. There is also a lot of nudity from the voluptuous de la Huerta, who also has quite the wardrobe of fetishistic clothes, which makes the sexy and scary character all the more vivid. This does tie in to one of my minor complaints, though. I respect actress Katrina Bowden not wanting to do nude scenes, but then, at least film her shower scenes to try to hide that she’s in her underwear. No one showers in their underwear, certainly not more than once. Either film in close-ups to give the illusion she is naked, CGI her underwear off as they did with Jessica Alba in Machete… sorry to ruin that for you, but Alba filmed the scene in her skivvies and her Fruit Of The Looms were removed digitally…or hire an actress that will do nudity. It just seemed silly.*(see updates below)
Overall though, despite some flaws, Nurse 3D is a fun guilty pleasure that is twisted, gory, a bit trashy and is quite pleased with itself on all counts. It may not be quite as good as it could have been, but is certainly entertaining enough as a neon, candy-colored grind-house flick with some fun plot reveals along the way. And that adds up to 84 minutes of decadent entertainment that is a bit refreshing when surrounded by remakes and endless sequels.
*UPDATE: Concerning Katrina Bowden’s shower scenes… some online research has led me to believe that there is a version of the film where CGI was used to simulate nudity, but for reasons only speculated at, the original shot scenes using Bowden in her underwear where used for the home media release. If I get a straight story, I will update again!
Rated 3 (out of 4) surgical saws.
*UPDATE #2: The scene in question… home media scene on the right, other version on the left. Being a photoshop artist for over a decade, I can see anomalies in the left side photo that lead me to believe that the photo was altered to make Bowden look nude (the glare on her right butt cheek in the right photo is the exact same glare on her left butt cheek in the left photo. Just moved over), but then the original footage was used for Blu-ray and DVD release. Can’t find any official word why this occurred though, since the actress has yet to actually do nude work, we can speculate she might have protested the simulation. Nothing substantiated at this time.