They really knew how to make exploitation films in the seventies. An outrageous yet slightly thin plot, but not so much that things don't make sense. Passionate but not quite over the top performances. Death, mayhem, murder and villainy in abundance. And of course, beautiful women, often undressed and splattered with blood. Director Douglas Aarniokoski brings all of this back and more in his exploitation homage Nurse.
Paz de la Huerta plays Abby, an experienced nurse who has definite ideas about cheating men, as in, if she discovers you are a cheater, she'll go to great lengths to seduce and then kill you. She sees this as important work, and always gives the wayward gentlemen an opportunity to turn her down. But mostly she kills them in various ways.
Abby takes a liking to newly minted nurse Danni (Katrina Bowden of Thirty Rock and Tucker and Dale vs. Evil fame), and is incensed to discover that her psychiatrist step-father is unfaithful to her mother. Most of the film is the tale of Abby trying to get closer to Danni, and interest her romantically, while separating the younger woman from her family and boyfriend, EMT Steve (Corbin Bleu).
Nurse has blood, nudity and violence in abundance. De la Huerta plays the deranged Abby with detached, psychotic flair, clearly relishing the role, and not at all shy about taking her clothes off, even when not strictly necessary, in traditional exploitation style. But it also has quite a bit of humor, with Niecy Nash as a snarky and put upon nurse, Adam Herschman as Abby's well-meaning but simple neighbor, Judd Nelson as a lecherous doctor, and just a lot of sly observations and chuckle inducing moments.
But it doesn't really play as a comedy. This is straight up revenge horror with an off kilter attitude. The old fashioned nurses' uniforms, and gusto with which Abby slaughters anyone who gets in her way just add a dash of flair to the proceedings. Bowden is excellent as the stalked and out of her depth young woman who just wants to live her life, but can't escape Abby's web of craziness. But fine performances aren't really what are called for here, and most of the acting turns in Nurse could be better classified as "fun" than "really good". But that's okay. It all fits together into an enjoyable gonzo experience.
The kills are for the most part exuberant and well executed, though there are some moments with CG effects that would have been better served with practical. The imagery and camera work is innovative and engaging. Technically, there really isn't much to criticize in the film. But mostly, it's blood soaked, gory, crazy fun. Nurse is a real throwback to the grindhouse fare of thirty or forty years ago, with slick production values and known actors. It's a blast to watch. Highly recommended.