Nurse 3D is a grindhouse flick that starts out with its tongue firmly planted in cheek, knowing what it is and with no aspirations beyond delivering gore and T&A. However: along the way it loses its air of levity, forgets its intention of being terrible and cheap, and from that moment on it stops getting away with awful writing and its ludicrous (not in a good way) central performance by Paz de la Huerta. Additionally, for a grindhouse joint it’s not nearly as crazy, thrilling or imaginitive as you want it to be. Instead Nurse 3D is a trashy drag.
There are no two ways around it: Paz de la Huerta can’t act her way out of a paper bag. Her blank stare, sleepy line delivery and monotone voice can’t make the obsessed serial killing nurse Abby interesting and take you right out of the movie. The object of her obsession, nurse Dani portrayed by Katrina Bowden, doesn’t fare much better. Bowden walks around with a fixed look of surprise on her face, is mainly hired to look pretty, but unfortunately pretty can’t make a conflict interesting. There have to be layers to the performances and story to keep you invested, however grotesque these layers are. But that’s the films main flaw: it doesn’t commit to the insanity of it’s premise. There’s a constant clashing of individual parts, because performances and plot lines are all over the place tonally.
An example. In the film’s hospital all the women walk around in fetishistic nurse uniforms, ridicilously stylized skimpy white outfits. The doctors on the other hand are seedy men (no pun intended), like Judd Nelson’s character, a guy who can’t keep from ogling and harassing the nurses under his care. Nelson plays his character so overtly bad, with such a moustache-twirling abandon, that’s it’s clear we’re not supposed to take anything that’s happening seriously (I doubt Nurse 3D‘s trying to make a point using satire here). But when we get outside of the All Saints hospital we dive straight into soap opera territory, and gone is Nurse 3D‘s penchant for all things over-the-top. Everyone’s acting normal (badly) and gone is the strangeness of the movie’s cast of characters. The story has a similar change of heart: first it’s all about Abby elaborately killing men who cheat on their wives, but that plot line suddenly gets dropped because she falls for Dani for seemingly no reason whatsoever. From a dumb exploitation slasher it turns into a dumb obsession thriller, but it’s far less effective as the latter than it is as the first.
Nurse 3D is a bloody mess: its tone is all over the place, its central performance so bad you start envying the victims of a killer nurse. 2/10