Exploitation movies are easy to recognize: they usually have scantily clad women on the cover together with outrageous taglines. They were a dime a dozen in the late 60s/early 70s but eventually lost cinematic popularity once home video became a thing. And let’s not forget about another factor: actual pornography was available at every video rental store. Why waste your money on a badly written tease of a movie, when you can rent the real deal at the same price? Still, every so now and then an exploitation movie sees the light of day. A couple of years ago someone remade “I spit on your grave” and in 2013 Nurse 3-D was released. A movie that capitalizes on not just one, but rather two fads from back in the day: exploitation and 3-D.
Nurse 3-D takes it’s exploitation element even further. Where these movies usually hint at nudity on the marketing materials, Nurse goes all out and has star Paz de la Huerta pose nude on stylized promotional photos of her covered in blood. Not something you see everyday. And it’s not even false advertising. Quite the contrary: De La Huerta has a lot of (full frontal) nude scenes in the movie. In fact, in a weird change of conventions here, there are multiple scenes in which she’s half naked wearing nothing but a bra. No panties or any other clothing. Usually it’s the other way around, but in Nurse she basically shows her vagina more than her boobs.
The story is rather simple: Abigail Spencer (Paz de la Huerta) is a seasoned nurse at a hospital where she also trains the new girls. On her nights off she roams the local clubs looking for men. Her particular taste is that of married men. She seduces them, only to slit their arteries once they’re alone as she hates men who cheat on their wives. The story shows one such occasion before it shifts the focus to Danni (Katrina Bowden). She’s one of the young nurses trained by Abby and a girl she is rather interested in. After a stressful first day Abby takes her out for drinks. She spikes Danni’s drinks resulting in Danni eventually waking up in Abby’s bed the next morning with no recollection of what happened that night. Plenty has happened as Danni apparently had sex with a guy as well as Abby herself. Abby has all of this documented with photos on her phone. So begins the obsession Abby has with Danni, who quickly figures out there’s more to Abby than just a colleague trying to be a friend.
The main difference with Nurse 3-D and the old exploitation movies are the production values. Nurse looks as slick as the average movie, but other than that there aren’t many redeeming qualities found in this movie. Paz de la Huerta has obviously been chosen due to her willingness to do nude scenes rather than her acting qualities. She’s flaunting her body 90% of the time in various stages of “undressment” not even trying to hide up various parts of her body like so many other actresses do. While her body might be hot, I don’t consider her to be an attractive woman. She looks like Droopy with the body of Jessica Rabbit. There’s also the problem that she can’t act, making emotionally charged scenes cringe worthy and unintentionally funny at the same time. Danni on the other is truly beautiful and Katrina Bowden is apparently proud of her butt as the nude scenes involving her character mostly focus on close-ups that particular body part.
Plot-wise the movie is rather goofy. The premise of Abby targeting married men is largely put in the background as the only guy she goes after, aside from the man in the opening scene, is Danni’s cheating father. The majority of the plot revolves around Abby obsessing over Danni while creating some sort of cat and mouse game between them. She sets everything up so that Danni is the one coming across as being obsessed and Abby the victim. A tried and true formula and an always frustrating one as it seems so easy to pull off, but is unrealistic in most scenarios. As is the case here.
What also doesn’t really work is the H.R. employee introduced halfway throughout the movie. Her character functions more as some sort of comic relief, which doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the movie, which takes itself very seriously. It’s this character that somehow recognizes Abby from 20 years ago, which kind of made me question the odds of that happening in the first place. But then I’m probably delving too deep in a movie of which the main selling points are Paz de la Huerta’s tits.
Though this is the Paz de la Huerta show, Kathleen Turner and Judd Nelson have top billing. This is because they’re more familiar names and watching this movie for them is a big mistake. Turner only has one scene (it’s even featured in the trailer) and Nelson plays a small supporting role as a doctor who sexually harasses the nurses, eventually coming across Abby.
Nurse 3-D is enjoyable trash. The 3-D effects can be compared with genre classics like Friday The 13th part 3 where there are a lot of scenes where stuff is just coming at the camera. When you watch it in 2-D (Like I did) it’s really as if the director tries to create some weird shots for the sake of being artsy. It’s an over-the-top movie to watch when you have absolutely nothing better to watch. It’s bad, but it’s fun bad. It’s the kind of movie for which the term “guilty pleasure” was invented.