12 Hour Shift (2020)

12 Hour Shift
Director: Brea Grant
Writer: Brea Grant
Cast: Angela Bettis, Chloe Farnworth, Mick Foley, Kit Williamson, Nikea Gamby-Turner, Tara Perry, Brooke Seguin, David Arquette
Part of: SLASH Filmfestival
Seen on: 19.9.2020

Mandy (Angela Bettis) is on night shift at the hospital. As a nurse, her work is taxing and doesn’t pay very well, so she found herself a side hustle, together with her colleague Karen (Nikea Gamby-Turner). They make sure that organs find their way to the black market via Mandy’s cousin Regina (Chloe Farnworth) who is responsible for the delivery. But when one of their packages goes missing, Regina and Mandy both have to scramble to find a replacement – as if the normal night shift at the hospital wasn’t enough work already.

12 Hour Shift was announced as a very political film and while there is a certain criticism of the pressures nurses are under, it was less political than I expected from the announcements. But it was definitely more fun.

The film poster showing Mandy's (Angela Bettis) eyes, her face covered in blood.

12 Hour Shift is in many ways a little silly and overblown with copious amounts of blood. Thanks to Bettis’ absolutely fantastic performance, that silliness is grounded, though. Mandy’s exhaustion is palpable and not just when she is high and time and again we come back to how harsh things are for her – even when everything around her goes to shit in comical ways.

So, it is true that there is political commentary here about care workers in hospitals, but for most of the film, it takes a backseat and often disappears behind the organ trafficking, murders, and killers that turn the usual hospital stress into outright chaos. It is only in the last scene that the criticism is really allowed center stage – and then it weighs very heavily.

Mandy (Angela Bettis) with a gun pointed at her face.

Most of the film is simply a wild ride, though, with great characters – Mandy, of course, but also the other nurses around her. Regina was also a fantastic character and, I thought, very unusual in what and how she was allowed to be. I have to admit that David Arquette’s Jefferson took up too much space for me in the film and the film would have worked without him, too, but he didn’t bother me too much.

In any case, I was really highly entertained by the film and its absurdities. It’s definitely how I like my comedies.

Regina (Chloe Farnworth) with blood all over her face and hands, cradling an organ and smiling at it.

Summarizing: Fun.

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