Brea Grant – Lucky, The Stylist – delivers a weird, violent, yet oddly character-driven thriller with 12 Hour Shift.
We follow nurse Mandy (Angela Bettis), who is settling in for a double shift. She has a troubled past and is on probation for drug use at work. Also, she is part of an organ harvesting operation, an enterprise I can only assume is frowned upon.
That evening, things go south. Transporter Regina (Chloe Farnworth) loses a smuggled kidney and is forced to return to the hospital to fetch a new one. Easier said than done, an angry Mandy tells her, fearing unwanted attention from staff and law enforcement. Yet, it has to be done, and so starts the race to find another organ to harvest.
12 Hour Shift is an effective little thriller with a simple plot that progresses at an intense speed. The music is a big vehicle for the latter, operating almost as a character itself. Scenes transition with drum solos, sometimes mixed with opera, sometimes with classical music, sometimes with both. I’ve never heard anything quite like it.
Too, Bettis adds gravitas to the film, giving another one of her restrained performances. Mandy is not a cold-blooded murderer, but it’s hard to ignore that she is a killer nonetheless. One can get the impression that the nurse has tried to get back on the straight and narrow and that her past has caught up with her. She still uses drugs – at work – a habit funded by her harvesting business. Yet, as with most troubled people, it all stems from somewhere, and as we get drip-fed Mandy’s backstory throughout, we learn that she is decidedly a complex character.
Other B-plots don’t work quite as well. While David Arquette is hilarious as a hospitalized convict, his story seems like an afterthought forced into the main narrative. The same goes for Mandy’s accomplice Karen, who does little more than deliver exposition dumps. 12 Hour Shift would have worked just fine without either character.
Niggles aside, there is no denying the ninety minutes pass quickly. Grant shoots the action at a rapid speed through an appropriately gritty lens. It’s a stylish-looking package, the type cult movies are made of.
I wouldn’t walk through the snow to watch 12 Hour Shift, nor do I have to, as it is streaming on Hulu. It’s a fun film with great performances and certainly recommended for anyone with a strong stomach looking for something fast-paced.
Letterboxd summary: It's 1999 and over the course of one 12-hour shift at an Arkansas hospital, a junkie nurse, her scheming cousin and a group of black market organ-trading criminals start a heist that could lead to their collective demise.
Ratings from around the web
|One Star Classics||4/6|