On the outside Mandy (Angela Bettis) looks like a lovely and caring nurse but what people don’t know is that she’s a junkie who is running an organ trafficking business with her cousin Regina (Chloe Farnworth). During her latest shift Mandy runs into trouble when a kidney goes missing and Regina shows up determined to help herself to a replacement. Add to that the unexpected arrival of Mandy’s brother and a convicted killer to the hospital, and the night turns into a disaster.
12 Hour Shift is the latest film from writer/director/actress Brea Grant and it’s a dark comedy with echoes of Nurse Jackie with added gore. The premise of a junkie nurse doing bad things is a familiar one but Grant creates a rich world in a short amount of time, that welcomes you in and immediately hooks you. Mandy may be a flawed heroine, and pretty despicable, but I think a lot of people will see elements of themselves in her. She’s not a heinous person, she’s just got herself in a scenario that could cost her everything.
With the help of colleague Karen (Nikea Gamby-Turner), Mandy flies under the radar taking organs from ailing patients and selling them on. Unfortunately for her, her cousin Regina who is part of the process is a total nightmare whose lack of intelligence leads to her making stupid, and dangerous, decisions. Rather than letting Mandy sort out a new kidney when the one she arrives to pick up goes missing, Regina takes it upon herself to pass herself off as a new nurse while she targets any patient she can get close to.
Things get further complicated when Mandy’s brother is admitted the hospital and murderer Jefferson (David Arquette) breaks out of his restraints to cause havoc. All of the plot strands come together with a healthy dose of humour and the film’s second half is a joyful melting pot of crazy. As Mandy tries to stop Regina, Officer Myers (Kit Williamson) turns up at the hospital causing yet another complication to what should have been a straightforward shift.
Grant’s script is razor sharp and very, very funny. Angela Bettis as Mandy is the perfect lead and she’s brilliant at the sarcastic comedy required of her character. She also brings humanity to a character that could very easily be unlikable. Chloe Farnworth is bonkers as Regina, turning every scene she’s in into a heap of crazy and her scenes opposite Bettis are some of the film’s finest. The scene stealer though is Kit Williamson who is delightfully zany as Officer Myers. He brings plenty of laughs and is fantastic to watch.
12 Hour Shift is a real hoot of a movie and it’s not what I was expecting when I started watching it. My only complaint is that there could have been more David Arquette (couldn’t there always?) but that’s a minor quibble. Brea Grant has created a quirk horror comedy that will make you laugh and gasp in equal measures. It was the perfect film to watch on a Friday evening while relaxing with a beer or two.
Cast: Angela Bettis, David Arquette, Chloe Farnworth, Kit Williamson, Mick Foley Director: Brea Grant Writer: Brea Grant Certificate: 18 Duration: 86 mins Released by: Signature Entertainment