Nurse 3D (2014)

In the review I wrote for the terrible possession film Apartment 143, I made an off hand comment regarding the nature of my reviewing. I usually write a review rather quickly after I've finished watching a film. It keeps feelings and details fresh in my mind. It's a pretty efficient way to work. There are only two instances when I delay in writing. The first is when I am so moved by a film that I cannot exactly put into words what I am feeling. The second, and far more oft occurring instance when I delay in writing, is when a film is so bad or off putting that I can't even think of where to begin. Apartment 143 was that type of film. Unfortunately, Nurse 3D is also that type of film.

Paz de la Huerta is Abby Russell a serial killing nurse with a Dexter size chip on her shoulder when it comes to unfaithful men. She kills them as quickly as you or I would take a shower it seems. She has recently been tasked with mentoring new nurse Danni (Katrina Bowden). Their relationship quickly progresses, via some nefariously placed roofies, to a romantic one, at least for a night. It becomes clear to Danni, that Abby isn't quite the friend she seems or wants to be. She tries to enlist the help of both her boyfriend (Corbin Blue) and the cops, but Abby always seems to be one step ahead of her.

It doesn't seem like the worst idea for a film ever. Sexy, murderous, nurse stays one step ahead of her mentee, while continuing her murderous spree. You could sell that. But the execution of the idea is just so bad it ruins any promise that the concept of the film may have. Writer/Director Douglas Aarniokoski tries to turn the film into some genre leaping film noire that blends elements from everything from John Waters films to Felini satiricals. He makes a film that tries to be tongue in cheek, yet with a biting social commentary, but just comes off as a crude, jumbled mess.

Crude is being kind. There used to be a time when nudity was shocking. When you didn't have hardcore pornography on demand whenever you wanted it. Seeing Paz de la Huerta naked or kissing Katrina Bowden means nothing because, frankly, it's something we've all seen before. So without the visual shock factor, Aarniokoski resorts to such terrible dialogue as "...I finger fucked her to six orgasms last night..." to try and get a rise out of the audience. I'm not a prude, in fact I love when films push boundaries and challenge the way you think about things, but being crude simply for the shock factor of it all is nothing but a cheap ploy by a desperate film maker.

Case in point, compare Nurse 3D to that of a film with a very similar feel, the Soska Twins' American Mary. Where as Mary (the film) uses sex and sexuality to drive home many of it's main themes, it never becomes gratuitous. It never feels like certain things are being shown or said simply to get a specific reaction. Mary, as a character, while sharing certain vengeful, yet altruistic, characterizations with Nurses' Abby, she is able to straddle the line of righteous protagonist and evil antagonist. Abby, in comparison, as a character falls apart in the third act. What does she stand for? What happened to her ideals as a killer?

The main characters focus may be one of the reasons that Nurse fails but it's not the major one. While American Mary may have had it's pock marks, it was buoyed by a great performance from Katherine Isabelle. Nurse 3D is not so lucky. Calling Paz de la Huertas performance terrible is being kind. She tries to be sexy. She tries to vamp it up. But she's just so wooden, so vapid, that any hope the film had of having it's star save it is completely lost. It's really one of the worst performances that I've ever seen from a "name actress."

Nurse 3D is a mess. It never knows what it really wants to be. Sexy, psychological thriller? Righteous serial killer film? Soft core pornography? In truth it's really just an unfocused mess. There is plenty of blood and gore and frankly it looks pretty good, so there is that. The 3D gimmick is just a waste, the film works the same whether you see it with or without, so don't think you have to wait to see Paz de la Hertas labia in the third dimension.

Nurse 3D is available now on various VOD platforms. Watch it if you must.

* star out of *****

As always, thanks for reading and "enjoy every sandwich."

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