While the story may not exactly win any points in the originality department, Nurse 3D successfully embraces its exploitatively sexy and sleazy demeanor with a wink and a nod, going for broke with such gonzo-style gusto that you just can’t help but admire the end result. For those of you who have been looking for the horror-fied version of Showgirls, Nurse 3D is your movie.
Nurse 3D follows model nurse Abby Russell (de la Huerta), who’s exactly the kind of nurse you want tending your bedside- that is, unless you’re a no-good, cheating husband. That’s when Abby gets a little angry and uses her medical training to off the cheaters of the world in a marvelously bloody and creative fashion. Her obsession with cheaters isn’t the only thing driving Abby- she’s also taken an extreme fancy to a nice new nurse at her hospital named Danni (played by Katrina Bowden) and, when Danni shoots her advances down, Abby’s reaction gives new meaning to the term “off the deep end.”
If you’ve seen any of the marketing for Nurse 3D, then you precisely know what kind of movie you’re in for. Being a fan of films like the aforementioned Showgirls or Single White Female, The Hand that Rocks the Cradle or the criminally under-discussed Never Talk to Strangers, Nurse 3D was every bit the blood-soaked smut fest I was hoping for and then some. While Aarniokoski may not necessarily done anything wholly original here with the story (which he co-wrote with David Loughery), I don’t necessarily think that was his intention either.
Rather it seems like Aarniokoski was trying to give his own deconstructed vision of all those exploitation films we grew up loving instead with every shot and scene dripping in style, sleaze and confidence you rarely see these days. I enjoyed his previous film The Day, but with Nurse 3D, Aarniokoski proves he’s continuing to make strides as a storyteller and his enthusiasm for exploitation cinema is clearly evidenced here.
And de la Huerta is well- baaaaad, like really, really bad but in the case of a project like Nurse 3D, her worst asset is actually her greatest strength, with her robot-like line delivery and utter fearlessness as a performer making the film work as well as it does. Bowden, an actress who I have enjoyed in pretty much anything she’s done in her career, holds her own well against the larger-than-life de la Huerta by giving Nurse 3D a bit of heart and balanced humor. Supporting players Judd Nelson, Niecy Nash, Boris Kodjoe and Martin Donovan are all given their respective moments too with Nash being an unexpected treat throughout.
That’s not to say the film doesn’t have a few unintentional missteps, thought. Some of the characters make quite possibly some the worst decisions I’ve seen in a horror movie and others are just dumb as rocks. Aarniokoski never fully explores just why it is Abby becomes so obsessed with Danni , which I felt was a missed opportunity. It seemed to be wholly outside of her character’s nature, as there was never a mention of her becoming obsessed with other women before and when someone has an addictive nature, they develop patterned behavior. None of it really derailed Nurse 3D for me, but I think the film could have been a complete home run had there not been these issues weighing it down.
For those of you who delight in the movies that “are so bad, they’re good,” you’ll undoubtedly find much to enjoy with Nurse 3D. The beauty is that Nurse 3D is anything but bad- more of a celebration of those bad movies we all love, making it a perfect example of how to successfully balance tone in horror and exploitation cinema. While it definitely won’t win over the prudists out there any time soon, Nurse 3D delivered on everything I was hoping for and then some.
Film Score: 3.5/5