Weeklies

Movie: "Sick Nurses"
Year: 2007
Rated: R
Genre: Horror
Directed by: Piraphan Laoyont, Thodsapol Siriwiwat
Writing credits: Piraphan Laoyont, Thodsapol Siriwiwat

Reviewer: Kitsa
Posted: 10/25/2010

Plot: A nurse is murdered after threatening to expose a high-profile doctor’s black-market organ trafficking. Seven days later, she’s back to wreak some vengeance on her killers.

Review: What I really love about this genre is the reliable wtf-factor. It never lets me down. The wtf-factor in Asian horror far surpasses the wtf-factor in any other foreign films. Acting is over the top, plot is out the window, and reason has usually fled the scene. That’s why these films are so fun to watch.

"Sick Nurses" is Thai. When we did the audio setup, I accidentally turned on the English dubbing in addition to the English subtitles, which made the whole thing even more hilarious. The dubbing was done by some American and Thai actors, some of whom had incredibly thick accents but were on a mission to make the whole experience as American as possible. Half the time, it didn’t even match the subtitles, but I decided to leave it that way and keep the entertainment coming.

The film opens with strategically cropped shots of an attractive and apparently unconscious woman being stripped (corner of a breast, panties being pulled down a leg, that kind of thing). We gradually see a young, attractive doctor and four improbably attractive nurses, dressed in varying forms of Generic Nurse Fantasy clothing, stationed around the gurney. They give each other apprehensive, significant looks as one of them dabs at the doctor's face with a moistened cotton ball. One nurse in pigtails hands the doctor a syringe, which he jabs into the naked patient's neck. As the nurses continue working, he turns away to make a call. "Hello? I have a new body for you."

It turns out that whomever wants this body doesn't want it for seven more days, which means he has to store it in his trunk. As he walks and talks, we see two more nurses, who are also dressed out of the Fredericks of Hollywood catalog but seem to be in varying stages of freakout. One is covered with blood. We cut back to the naked lady as the nurses are binding her with strips of garbage bag. Just as her face is being covered, her eye snaps open and focuses on the camera before the screen goes black. In an Asian horror movie, this means Shit Will Go Down.

Seven days later, we're looking at a Tarantino trunk shot of dry ice being dumped on the bag-wrapped corpse by one of the nurses. Everything goes blue, and now we're in flashback-land. The nurses are wrestling a woman who is screaming, "Let go of me, I'm going to tell them that you make money from dead bodies!", which, if you think about it, is the one thing you probably don't want to tell murderers if you want them to let you go. Let me go so I can tell on you! Yes! Good idea! She’s quickly subdued by the others, then stabbed to death when the doctor nods his assent.

We learn that the doctor's name is Dr. Tar or Dr. Taa, but it doesn't really matter because the dubbers think we can't handle it and just call him Dr. Tad. (As a matter of fact, they figured that despite the fact that we're bothering to watch a Thai movie, we can't handle any Thai names, so they all have ridiculously incongruous English names.) He takes time out to make a call to argue with his customer, who wants to delay pickup of the dead body a while longer. He drops a photo, which we see says "Let's Get Married" on the back and is signed by Tawaan, or "Tammy" to us stupid westerners. The screen jitters around, triggering yet another flashback sequence.

Tawaan/Tammy is apparently engaged to the doctor, and tends to be pathologically clingy about it. She’s always hanging on the doctor, pestering him to go shopping for wedding rings, etc. Her sister Nook ("Nora" to you) is also quite enamored with him, which causes some strife and some weirdly inappropriate sexy moments between the women. As a matter of fact, I might as well tell you right now that this movie is pretty much softcore porn and there are many, many such moments.

We watch Dr. Tad receive the prestigious Bouquet of Flowers for No Particular Reason at a banquet, then cut to some sort of employee lounge, where a bunch of the murderous nurses are getting ready to start their shift. Actually, I'm not really sure the shift ever starts, because even after they leave the lounge the hospital is dark and utterly devoid of patients. Either that, or a "shift" consists of prancing around empty rooms in a Naughty Nurse costume with white garter stockings and your ass hanging out. It could be. I've never been to Thailand.

The first nurse we meet is Aeh, or "Erin", who has a penchant for red lipstick, gaudy handbags and ornamenting herself with magazine cutouts of jewelry. She sledges the exposition into our heads... namely, that everyone had better watch out because the dead chick's coming back for her man. After having a bitchfest with the other ladies, she walks off, inexplicably balancing a purse on her head, to begin her shift. As I said, her shift consists of pasting paper jewelry to herself and admiring herself in a reflective window. Her preening is cut short by an ominous black figure who grabs her and then chases her through the hospital.

You know, it doesn't really matter what the rest of the nurses' names are. There's a bulimic one who looks like Tila Tequila; there's an athletic one that seems to exert some Darth-Vader kind of control over the others. The last two are a set of nauseatingly cutesy identical twins, who not only dress and talk alike and wear little-girl clothes, but also seem to be having some sort of pseudo-lesbian relationship. Incestuous or not, they're irritating as hell and you want to see them get it the minute they start giggling and playing pattycake.

They all live in strange little apartments (bedroom and a toilet stall with a shower stall at one end) inside the hospital. In these apartments they illustrate various nasty aspects of their personalities, engage in titillating little scenes, and eventually get visited and slapped around by the ghost, who shows up as a menacing woman in greenish-black body paint. She has the usual long black hair, although this time with blond highlights, and for some reason she's wrapped in a giant black lace shawl. She often carries out her tortures while perching provocatively on a table or couch. True to the Horror Movie Code, the tortures and grisly deaths usually have something to do with each girl’s unique type of bitchiness.

Nora seems a little bewildered by all of this and does a lot of panicked running around in a foofy Minnie Mouse style white dress and Jackie Kennedy pillbox cap, looking quite silly. She’s got a weird little quirk of her own...she carries around a little cocktail clutch that is filled to the brim with pregnancy tests, and seems to reaffirm her pregnancy every time she needs to pee. When a horde of faceless nurse-ghosts comes after her, what does she fend her attackers off with? A pregnancy test, of course.

All of this is spaced out with some scenes that don't make much sense - the middle-aged hospital president and his wife arguing at Dr. Tad's award ceremony, Dr. Tad and some dude named Terry having some homoerotic moments and meeting up at various places around town.

Meanwhile, the ghost is after Nora, who gets pinioned by some stakes that are inexplicably holding up some hospital screens out on the grass. There’s a struggle and Nora manages to stab the ghost in the heart, only to see her giggle and dance as glitter shoots out of the gaping wound. Meanwhile, blood rains down on the participants of the award ceremony inside. Sure it does, why not.

The whole thing is resolved in a long series of flashbacks explaining the ghost’s relationship to Dr. Taa/Tad and to the other nurses, most of which you could easily figure out by watching their interactions to this point. Asian horror movies love flashbacks. I think near the end of the Ju-On series they were using about 10 minutes of new footage per movie. As a matter of fact, the climactic scene at the end was lifted almost entirely from a Ju-On movie... they just tweaked a few details.

It was a bizarre movie and utterly cliche all at once. Every scare tactic they did was pretty much ripped off from another Asian horror movie. As a matter of fact, take this flashback and this assortment of cellphones and that elevator scene and throw in some reincarnations, mix in a liberal amount of omnipresent female ghost with long black hair, and you could have just about any one of them. If you could play a good vengeful long-haired female ghost, you'd never lack for work in Asia.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeWhole
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

pickled
Oct 26th, 2010, 09:10 AM
It may be cliche, but damn.


Them asian womens are hot.
It's about time
Oct 26th, 2010, 05:01 PM
Good job, Kitsa! A fine review indeed.
You have a knack for bashing the hell out of a movie and making me want to see it at the same time.
Jest and youthful Jolity
Oct 26th, 2010, 05:43 PM
@Nick. Dude, shut the hell up. I'm tired of that racist generalization Wapenese kids like you have with anyone Asian.

Anyway, this movie was beyond hilarious. The subtitles not matching the English translation was astounding.
Sympathizes with the foo'
Oct 26th, 2010, 06:27 PM
You raise a good point, Kitsa: do other forms of horror movie actually exist in East Asia? If not, it's gotta suck to be a horror fan over there if you don't find stringy-haired ghost women scary.

@Chayote: I'm only generalizing about stringy-haired ghost women because I've never seen any Asian horror movie without them, so don't get your panties in a wad.
teacup of sunshine
Oct 26th, 2010, 08:03 PM
Thanks.

@Mister Tea...I don't know, I think onryo are more or less the trend lately. It's a scary concept...a ghost who's been wronged and is mightily pissed, but tends to go after innocent or only marginally guilty parties. Usually there's a mystery to be solved, but solving it doesn't necessarily make you safe. Breaking of that rule, along with other horror movie rules like being safe if you haven't done "wrong" (had sex, taken drugs, etc), unsettles people.
Member
Oct 27th, 2010, 10:35 PM
But, Chayote, the actresses in this film ARE hot...
teacup of sunshine
Oct 28th, 2010, 08:08 AM
Some of them are, although they may have made Tawaan a little less so on purpose.

I thought the white stuff dripping off the bulimic one's face was a bit gratuitous.
Forum Virgin
Oct 29th, 2010, 05:29 PM
If you havent seen the Thai film "Sars Wars", you need to immediately go to Netflix and watch it. IMMEDIATELY!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkRJpjNoH1k