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Thursday, March 29, 2012

SICK NURSES -- movie review by porfle

(This review first appeared online in 2007.)

SICK NURSES (2007) is a mind-boggling horror flick from Thailand that plays around with all those Asian ghost-story cliches and offers some of the most flabbergasting, over-the-top death scenes I've seen in quite a while.  It's a wickedly fun tale of revenge, summed up pretty well by Michael Madsen's "Budd" in KILL BILL:  "That woman deserves her revenge...and we deserve to die."  But Budd got off easy in that movie, because if he'd been in this one, he would've ended up worse off than Paula Schultz.

Dr. Tar (Wichan Jarujinda) is a celebrated young doctor who's engaged to the lovely nurse Tahwaan (Chon Wachananon).  But when she catches him fooling around with another nurse--her own sister, Nook (Chidjan Rujiphun)--she goes ballistic and threatens to expose the dirty secret that he sells bodies on the side.  As the rest of the nurses hold Tahwaan down, one of them stabs her to death.  Exactly seven days later, right before midnight, the ghost of Tahwaan returns to the hospital to wreak bloody vengeance upon Dr. Tar and the other nurses. 

This is one weird, gory, surrealistic movie.  Tahwaan's ghost is jet-black with piercing eyes and long, long black hair, which she uses for all sorts of fun things like cocooning people or hanging them from the ceiling.  And that's just for starters.  She can also turn your arms and hands black and take control of them, causing you do commit grave and usually very ironic injury to yourself.  A bulemic nurse who spends most of her time binging and purging ends up stuffing herself with some extremely unhealthy items until her jaw-dropping demise, while a couple of cute twins who deeply admire one another's beauty are eventually compelled to lay into each other with hacksaws.  As for Nook, who is pregnant with Dr. Tar's child...well, you can imagine her ironic fate.

The setting is what must be the emptiest hospital since HALLOWEEN II--there isn't a patient in sight--and the nurses all seem to have their own private, girly bedrooms and don't ever actually do anything except scamper around in sexy uniforms.  It's more like a big giddy sorority house run by SCTV's Johnny LaRue than a hospital.  This doesn't matter, though, because once the terror begins, logic would just get in the way.

At first it seems as though there's barely any story at all, but little scraps of the narrative fall into place along the way, mostly in flashbacks, to make things interesting between bursts of bloody horror.  And there's an awesome twist ending which, I must admit, I didn't see coming at all.  It doesn't make total sense, but that's one of the endearing things about this movie--it's so freakishly entertaining that it doesn't have to.

The simple premise is similar to dozens of killer-on-the-loose borefests we've sat through over the years, but here, lots of visual style and a truly imaginative sense of the bizarre set it apart.  SICK NURSES benefits from an enthusiastic young cast (composed mainly of lovely young ladies), impressive gore effects with a minimum of bad CGI, and an attitude that's as gleefully sick as those titular nurses.

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