No time at all is wasted in introducing Abigail Russell. She lures a married man up to the roof, and cuts his femoral artery. She explains how she is actually doing his family a favor so they won’t have to tolerate his philandering shenanigans; then pitches him over the side. The surreal shots of his plunge and vivid subsequent 3D-friendly impalement on an iron fence set the tone for the movie.
The setting is further emphasized by the credits which rock out grindhouse-style over pulp covers featuring drawings of the main cast.
Maybe (but only maybe) this not-quite-reality enables Paz de la Huerta to pull off her role. Because in the harsh light of the real world, this is not a hot nurse. Also, not much of an actress. But ya know what? In this movie, I was willing to accept her.
Everything about her is jarring. Her line readings are as stilted as C. Walken, but to less effect. Her body, though great, is certainly unusual in its angles and lankiness. It is also specifically clothed (or not) to achieve a certain effect. Often slutty to the point that she would be arrested around decent folk; sometimes with nothing below the waist — still a rare enough sight in movies to change the vibe of a scene. Her face is like one of those sculptures that must be turned at a precise angle to cast a shadow of something entirely new — the beauty is there, but holy crap do you have to use precision instruments to find it.
Also clearly not from this world is Katrina Bowden playing Danni, a new nurse and Paz’s protege. She is beautiful in every way that Paz is not. But she could never have played the titular Nurse 3D.
On her first day on the job, Danni freezes at the sight of a badly injured patient. After getting chewed out by Judd Nelson, she goes to the shower for a good cry. Sadly, all realism is forfeited in this scene by having Danni take a shower in her panties. Another way she is the anti-Paz.
This includes Danni’s psychiatrist step-father who they see out with another woman. Abby quickly insinuates herself into his life as a patient. She then seduces him by walking in front of his car in a very shear white dress (and frankly looking a little like a tranny). Maybe he digs trannies — different strokes (weird, weird strokes), and they are soon making out in the car. She then jabs him with a syringe to paralyze him. Abby puts the car in reverse, bails, and lets it back slowly out of the cozy ally they had pulled into. Fortuitously, a huge truck rams the car, killing him.
There is another murder that I won’t reveal. OK, it was Bender.
Soon thereafter, Danni arrives at the hospital to stop Abby. The film then really goes into full action mode, and also steps up the obvious 3D-whoring effects. Lots of girlfighting, some interesting kills, maybe even a surprise.
The ending ultimately plays out a twist revealed earlier, and capitalizes on yet another over-the-top cartoonish character introduced earlier. But, again, it worked for me in this hyper-world. This is the only time you will see one of these here, as it actually relates to the final scene:
- Douglass Aarniokoski <> Darren Aronofsky.
- It is strange the emphasis that is put on Abby’s vendetta against bad husbands & daddies for the first 2 kills, plus in a flashback to a formative trauma in her childhood. After that motive is established, the film really forgets it and focuses on her obsession with Danni.
- I have seen one of Aarniokoski’s other pictures — The Day. I remember almost nothing, but gave it 3 stars on NetFlix.
- Writer David Loughery was one of the writers on Star Trek V, so this is clearly a step up. At least no one is singing “row, row, row, your boat.” The life of a screenwriter must be bizarre. He had some high-profile movies, a gap of 13 years, then a few more.
- Trying to think where else I’ve see these kinds of purposely over-the-top performances. So far, just coming up with Raising Arizona. Anything else N. Cage did, I don’t think was on purpose.
- In another scene later, she does it again! C’mon!