The term “acquired taste” was made for movies like Nurse. It brazenly wears its exploitation status on its sleeve, daring critics to condemn it and then laughing in their faces when they do. It’s not overtly camp — the wit is too sly and the jokes too subtle for that — but it knows exactly what it is, and that knowledge serves it extremely well. Naturally any movie about a homicidal nurse who seduces philandering men before disposing of them in creatively violent ways won’t tickle everyone’s fancy. But for those attuned to such grindhouse depths, the treats on display are far too tasty to resist. Hit the jump for my full review.
Chief among them is leading lady Paz de la Huerta, whose sole task here is to look good naked while spattered in blood, and who performs that duty (if no other) with style and panache. Her character is quite comfortable visiting righteous justice upon the wicked, until she strikes up a friendship with a fellow nurse (Katrina Bowden), who soon gets wise to her reindeer games.
The resulting game of cat and mouse helps drive the plot forward, as de la Huerta’s killer finds the perfect stalker target and Bowden’s good girl tries to stop her before she kills again. It’s serviceable, but not the purpose of the exercise. Nurse 3D exists mostly for the innovative kill shots, and an over-the-top tone that I could just eat up with a spoon. De la Huerta alone doesn’t seem to be in on the joke. The rest of the cast takes ample opportunity to deploy Maximum Ham like they’re having a contest to see who can chew on the most scenery. (And when their ranks include Judd Nelson, competition is fierce.)
Nurse 3D thrives by taking that ball and running with it: grinning with every ridiculous moment and reveling in the fun we’re having. Its low-rent Fatal Attraction set-up shouldn’t amount to anything, but couple it with an “I’ve got to take your temperature” fetish and a whole lot of gore, and something quietly special starts to form. Every moment smacks of ridiculousness; every scene takes on the tone of a grand prank writ in day-glow letters on the side of the tallest building in town. It owns its tone completely, which at times may be the only thing separating it from genuine awfulness, and in the process turns what could have been a direct-to-video throwaway into a genuine good time.
It’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, and if the prospect sounds excruciating to you, there’s plenty of legitimately good films out there to spend your time on. But for the right sort — the kind who cackles with glee at the sight of that poster and who quietly relishes the thought of a two-timing husband bleeding to death through his dick — then Nurse 3D represents a rare and wondrous gift. There’s a thin line between laughing at a film and laughing with it, especially with material like this. Nurse 3D definitely falls into the latter category, a world of difference that turns a simple bad movie into an exquisite guilty pleasure.
The Blu-ray image is clean and sharp, which is beneficial since extra features are very sparse (a short behind-the-scenes doc, a disappointing video diary and a decent audio commentary with writer/director Doug Aarniokoski). Best of all, the package contains a 3D Blu-ray, something most of us probably ignore, but which add to the films trashy credentials in the best possible way.