Being a nurse in this day and age is certainly stressful, but as you’re about to find out, 21 years ago in a calm, little hospital, things are about to reach a whole new level of tension. Throw on your scrubs, steal some medicine, and get ready to start a tedious “12 Hour Shift”, as the film made its international premiere at this year’s Fantasia Festival.
In an Arkansas hospital in 1999, Mandy (Angela Bettis; “Carrie” (2002), “Toolbox Murders” (2004)) is a junkie nurse who doesn’t care much for her patients, nor her job. She even starts her shift by snorting some medicine which she obviously has an easy access to. Mandy doesn’t even have a problem selling organs under the table to her cousin Regina (Chloe Farnworth) who is supposed to transport it to her own cousin Nicholas (WWE Hall of Famer, Mick Foley), a hardened criminal. Unfortunately, the forgetful and clumsy Regina lost the kidney and must find a new one; otherwise her own organs will end up in Nicholas’ hands. The two women are now scrambling to obtain some fresh ones in a crazy night of murderous, unusual events.
“12 Hour Shift” is, ironically as it sounds, a lighthearted, dark-humored, thriller/horror about organ stealing. There are some hits and misses in terms of gags (mostly misses), yet we still get to laugh out loud, once in a while. Writer/director Brea Grant does a great job at getting us hooked into the characters, the plot, and the humor in the first half of the film. Angela Bettis is incredibly authentic as the exhausted, disheveled nurse at the end of her rope while Chloe Farnworth is very credible and amusing as her ditzy cousin. We even get a great cameo from wrestling legend Mick Foley as well as a small role for horror-familiar David Arquette as a cop-hating prisoner.
Unfortunately, the second half of the film seems to lose its momentum and credibility in regards to the entertainment factor as well as characters’ decisions and sudden personality trait changes. Nicholas’ right-hand man, Mikey (Dusty Warren) makes some questionable decisions as the muscle of a criminal gang, while Regina suddenly transforms into a stone cold, remorseless and non-hesitant killer, making them quite disputable, character-wise. In addition to this, from patient to security guard to cop, almost every male seems to act like a dummy for one reason or another throughout the movie, adding some questionably credible humor. Not to forget that we barely get to see Mick Foley’s character at all, and Arquette’s prisoner persona brings little to nothing to the storyline.
With a great first act, introducing the characters and problematics appropriately, Brea Grant makes her film appealing to the audience. Unfortunately, that interest fades away, piece by piece, as the film drags on, not to mention a rather anti-climactic ending. You will most likely be disappointed by the end of this “12 Hour Shift” and will surely want to call it quits, as Grant’s film receives a 5/10 rating.
Article written by SIMON ROTHER