NEW IN THEATERS! Revisiting the late ’90s is a little strange if you lived through them. That is only one strange element to Brea Grant’s 12 Hour Shift. Although seeing the fashion choices that the characters make in this film is a pretty hilarious if not embarrassing high point of the film. The film also takes place in Arkansas, which isn’t technically the South, but the ethos behind everything is very similar. So, basically, the entire atmosphere of the film is incredibly familiar to me, even though I never worked in a hospital, which is where the film takes place.
12 Hour Shift follows a nurse who also happens to be a junkie named Mandy (Angela Bettis) who is working her double shift at an Arkansas hospital. Right off the bat, shady sh*t is going down. Such as a black market organ sales operation she runs with her other nurse friend Karen (Nikea Gamby-Turner), which includes her not so bright cousin-by-marriage who delivers the organs to a criminal organization run by a scary kingpin named Nicholas (Mick Foley). Her cousin, Regina (Chloe Farnworth), loses the organs she’s supposed to deliver to Nicholas at the beginning of the film, so Mandy needs to find another “source” for the organs. Mandy’s idea is to get them from a murderer brought in from prison (David Arquette). Regina goes through the hospital trying to find a source herself.
“…religious musical number that accompanies two murders…”
When I first saw the description of 12 Hour Shift, I immediately thought of the Showtime show Nurse Jackie, but other than a nurse with a drug problem, the similarities pretty much stop there. This is a wild, over-the-top ride through ’90s drug-addled white-trash hysteria. It is great to see Angela Bettis again, in typical sardonic hilarious form, considering I love the movie May. It’s also wonderful to see David Arquette, who hasn’t aged a minute since the Scream franchise. The score by Matt Glass (who also serves as cinematographer) is a frenetic drumline with occasional operatic vocals that puts you in a state of unease that matches Mandy’s.
12 Hour Shift offers up a lot of laughs to counterbalance the anxiety that Grant’s writing and direction make us feel along with Mandy. The dialogue and repartee amongst Mandy and the other nurses are quick-witted and fun. Chloe Farnworth as Regina is the ultimate dumb blonde who continues to get in Mandy’s way. Her performance stands out and makes me want to see what she does next. Then there’s the religious musical number that accompanies two murders that certainly hasn’t happened in any other movie I can think of at the moment. Overall, 12 Hour Shift is a hilarious and unique comedy-thriller that people who love horror will certainly appreciate.
"…...wild, over-the-top ride through '90s drug-addled white-trash hysteria."