Crimson Quill’s Appraisal #453
Number of Views: One
Release Date: August 28, 2013 (Zurich), February 7, 2014 (United States)
Country of Origin: United States
Running Time: 84 minutes
Director: Doug Aarniokoski
Producer: Marc Bienstock
Screenplay: Doug Aarniokoski, David Loughery
Special Effects: Paul Jones
Visual Effects: Jeffrey Kalmus, Jon Campfens
Cinematography: Boris Mojsovski
Score: Anton Sanko
Editing: Andrew Coutts
Studio: Lions Gate Entertainment
Stars: Paz de la Huerta, Katrina Bowden, Corbin Bleu, Judd Nelson, Boris Kodjoe, Melanie Scrofano, Niecy Nash, Martin Donovan, Chris Hoffman, Brittany Adams, Kathleen Turner, Jake Michaels, Adam Herschman, Patrick Kwok-Choon, Tracy Michailidis, Jeff Pangman
Suggested Audio Jukebox
 Ida Maria-Katla “I Eat Boys Like You for Breakfast”
 The Federal Ft. Rachael Kime “You Don’t Want Me Around”
“There is no cure for the married cock. Only me, the Nurse.”
My infatuation with nurses started at a young age. B-grade seventies fodder such as Rosie Dixon-Night Nurse and What’s Up Nurse! sealed my fate and I was left cursing my strong bones as I never once had the pleasure of an overnight hospital stay in a clean bill of health which has run over forty years and to this very day. To be frank, I think I may well have dodged a bullet as, if air hostesses are anything to go by, their bedside manner is nothing like the Carry On team would have you believe and these buxom blondes in white lace suspenders and overspilling D cups are more likely to resemble Sid James than Pamela Stephenson. Thank the heavens above for my overactive imagination.
Doug Aarniokoski’s Nurse 3D has been the subject of some fairly rough justice over the past couple of years and controversy has never been too far away. Costing around $10 million, it struggled to recoup one twentieth of its outlay after enduring a torrid time from critics and only ever receiving a diminutive theatrical release. Soon after it found its second home on Video On Demand and has had to be content with word of mouth and some hefty pinches of salt in order to find its own little demographic. To compound Aarniokoski and Lionsgate’s agony, its lead Paz de la Huerta decided to sue after her career took a significant nose dive seemingly as a result of her misstep. However, more recently, she has been quoted to champion a sequel proving that time may well still be the great healer.
If ever a film needed time to marinate then Nurse 3D is that movie. It may be years before the penny drops and it receives the kind of adulation I believe it will ultimately claim. You see, nobody had the vaguest idea how to take it upon its unveiling after it spent two years languishing on the shelves after principal filming wrapped. The most memorable factor for most was the audacious marketing campaign, depicting de la Huerta straddling a hypodermic needle or naked and covered from head to toe in deep red coulis. It appeared that not everyone was in on the joke and the expectation for horror provided a deception to the masses when it arrived with its tongue firmly in its cheek. Aarniokoski and co-writer David Loughery’s film is satire all the way and, the sooner we accept that, the sooner we allow ourselves to enjoy it on its own exclusive terms.
If you are searching for logic, then good luck with that. This is bereft of reason and preposterous in the über-extreme from stem to stern. At All Saints Hospital, pretty much anything goes, and one would imagine the morgue is inundated with fresh stiffs on an hourly basis. This is the kind of institution where the only thing shorter than the life expectancy of its population are the nurses’ dresses. Led from the front by Abby Russell (de la Huerta) in wedge heels and whore’s garters, the interns here are enough to make a pacifist self harm. Have you ever heard the term gonzo? If not then you have now. Nurse 3D offers age-old exploitation by the bedpan-load, wraps it up in sterile linen, then proceeds to spray it crimson. And it does so entirely unapologetically.
The plot is as ridiculous as it is knowingly contrived and there’s a good reason why we’ve seen it all before, albeit never quite as openly presented. Those watching it in hope of finding fault should be careful what they wish for as there’s no need to play detective. Its faults will find you regardless of putting in the legwork so I would advise applying that pinch of salt before booking in for that colonoscopy. Any film whose main protagonist claims to do what she does in order to protect innocent vaginas from infection courtesy of duplicitous husbands and their philandering ways clearly isn’t aiming for the grey matter and is far more concerned with sending the blood southward to the very hub of our loins and lady purses. On these counts, Aarniokoski is not culpable of malpractice, as there’s a veritable transfusion of carnal candies on the roster and de la Huerta knows precisely how to spend her ward rounds.
Katrina Bowden has already dipped in the odd bloodbath after turns in Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, Hold Your Breath, and Piranha 3DD, and is perfectly cast as stunning girl next door protégé Danni Rogers, of whom Abby takes under her wing and presses against those bodacious bosoms like the newborn fawn that she is. Now that’s my kind of mentor.
What begins as infatuation soon swings violently into obsession territory and, to make matters worse for the fledgling nurse, her keeper takes great umbrage to a few key figures in her personal life. These include her lecherous psychiatrist stepfather Larry (Martin Donovan) and goody two shoes boyfriend Steve (Corbin Bleu), and it isn’t long before she drops the charade and shows exactly how big her brass balls are. Bad shit starts happening and, a little date-rape later, Danni decides to call time on their friendship. On this evidence, I would suggest Nurse 101 incorporating views of Barbet Schroeder’s Single White Female into the curriculum for the next intake of interns.
Bleu may be finding it hard to shake the identity of Chad from High School Musical and appearances in all manner of other PG friendly fodder but, in 2012, gave a highly creditable account of himself as Emmett in Michael Emanuel’s standout segment of Scary or Die, namely Clowned. Alas, here he is little more than tofu, and the same can be said of most male members of the cast. Again, this is wholly intentional. One-dimensional, sexually repressed, pre-ejaculating neanderthals largely, any hopes of being the dominant sex are dashed the very moment de la Huerta mans those defibrillator paddles. Even Abby’s unsanitary superior, Dr. Robert Morris (a wonderfully sleazy Judd Nelson), can’t stem the estrogen rush while offensively chirpy HR administrator Rachel (Melanie Scrofano) really walked into the wrong ER. Abby is scrubbed and ready to safeguard those innocent vaginas. Hot damn is she ready!
“My schedule’s been murder”
I first became aware of de la Huerta from Gaspar Noé’s magnificent Enter The Void which, along with an extended stint in Boardwalk Empire, helped establish her as one of the hottest properties on the market. In both she showed that she has no issue with losing her linen and performing in the altogether and again here she takes every available opportunity to get naked. Indeed, she merrily disrobes entirely from the waist down while she goes about her business and inhibition is one charge which certainly can’t be leveled at her.
Having said that, her performance has come under much scrutiny, and anyone who watched her in Enter The Void should know better than to question her ability as an actress. Here she delivers her lines largely in monotone, coming across almost anesthetized, and this is very much intentional on her part. It’s bizarre to watch and never less than absolutely compulsive.
In stark contrast, Bowden plays the rabbit in headlights to perfection, and there’s also a spirited and wonderfully typecast turn by Niecy Nash as Regina which provides many of the film’s numerous lighter moments. Our investment in the players is confirmed despite some truly cringeworthy dialogue and it is here that Aarniokoski and Loughery play their gonzo card exquisitely. Forget the distracting 3D as it is purely a gimmick and, considering the lack of a wide theatrical release, is utterly superfluous to proceedings as most will watch this from the confines of their own living room. But one foot is firmly planted in the past at all times and the costume design offers proof that we are deeply entrenched in nurseploitation territory and expected to appreciate the irony.
It moves with the velocity of a rattlesnake on adrenaline and revels in cascading crimson at every available opportunity. In this respect, the marketing campaign was pretty much bang on the money as there is more than enough grue on exhibit to sate all but the most insatiable appetites. Sadly, a little over-reliance on CGI dulls the sheen somewhat and many of the effects were added in post due to budgetary constraints, where practical splatter would have served it better. However, inexplicably, it could also be argued that this actually lends further kitsch appeal to Aarniokoski’s film and there’s far too much outlandish bloodshed to go splitting hairs. Meanwhile, the cinematography of Boris Mojsovski is never in the faintest question and optical seduction is very much on the cards from the opening frame to our eventual discharge 84 literally barking minutes later.
Ultimately, your enjoyment of Nurse 3D depends largely on your ability to accept its inconsistencies and indeed embrace them. In some respects I would liken it to Paul Verhoeven’s gregarious Showgirls as it knows it’s a car crash and is also aware that we all slow down at intersections to investigate such tragedies. The fact that it isn’t afraid to wear its smiley sticker proudly throughout should convince as to its chosen tact and it’s great to see a movie which doesn’t take itself too seriously while always playing it straight down the line. At times it veers perilously close to parody but, should you have buckled in for the duration, then you’re in the best possible position to simply enjoy the ride. Trash of the highest order then? Straight from the trailer park although it could never be accused of being sterile and few films are so perfectly primed for repeat viewing. After forty plus years of evading hospitals, and against all odds, Abby Russell just convinced me into taking up that overnight stay after all.
Crimson Quill’s Judgement: 8/10
Grue Factor: 4/5
For the Grue-Guzzlers: Surgery is rather extensive to say the very least and de la Huerta has many grim instruments at her disposal. These include scalpel, defibrillator paddles, bone drill, spiked railings, and paralyzing injection amongst others. It is the desensitized manner in which she approaches each kill which truly convinces and makes Abby Russell the most delightful strain of on-screen monster imaginable. On a closing note: Gentlemen hold onto those femoral arteries as one particular early dispatch reminds any playaway husbands of the dangers of going all in before the flop proving once and for all why picking up loose women in bars is a decidedly dicey pursuit.
For the Pelt-Nuzzlers: As for flesh, there’s a veritable smorgasbord of flesh on display and, while Bowden tantalizes with the usual strategic shower washdowns and glimpses of lace, de la Huerta flaunts the assets God gave her without so much as a blink of the eye. Higher forces were evidently at play when putting this woman together as one can’t help but salivate even though her character is borderline masculine to the point of us questioning whether she is, in fact, a post-op transsexual. It takes some doing to act nonchalantly whilst stripped nude from the waist down and I just don’t possess adequate kudos for María de la Paz Elizabeth Sofía Adriana de la Huerta to compensate her for laying herself out on the autopsy table with such indiffidence. Perhaps a closing gallery will speak on my behalf.
Paz En Exceso
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2015