Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sick Nurses

Wonderfully weird Thai-flavored J-horror from 2007. I didn't know what to think, from title to first minutes, but something told me "stick with it, it'll be worth it." I wasn't wrong.

Dark films set in hospitals are usually quite demented (The Hospital, Horror Hospital, The Kingdom, Britannia Hospital, Infection), and Sick Nurses is no exception. There are no patients to speak of, but it really doesn't matter -- the thoughtful character development and vengeful ghost plot line are so engrossing (and deliriously surreal) that you quickly forget about such pesky elements of continuity. Who needs sick people when you've got a bevy of Thai hotties being butchered in demonically inventive ways by a lady ghost with pitch black skin and blond highlights?

I've been to Bangkok. There's a palpable sense of, well, sensuality about the place. And as claustrophobic as this picture is, that sensual sensibility comes through. Each of the wicked nurses (who collaboratively murder one of their own at the outset) has a physical hangup: One is an exercise obsessive; one covets jewelry to the point of cutting out images from magazines and wearing them; one has an eating disorder; one pair of twins are so vain, they can't help but take pictures of each other and engage in inappropriate affection. And then there's the murdered girl's fiancé who was having it off with her sister (yet another nurse). Needless to say, when our enraged ghost starts in, she has a wealth of themes with which to wreak her revenge. Scalpels and bone saws fit so easily into her diabolical scheme …

I wasn't in the mood for an unpleasant film. But after a couple of dodgy minutes, I was hooked. You gotta be into Asian film and horror to dig it, but if that's the case, brother, you will be pleased.