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12 Hour Shift (2020) Movie Review

I Write These Movie Reviews Locked in the Trunk of Your Car. Thanks for the Snacks!!

12 hours later, you understand that tagline.

12 hours later, you understand that tagline.

MPAA Rating

N/A

Running Time

86 minutes

Director

Brea Grant

Writer

Brea Grant

Since this past week has been so boring, it’s nice to know you can go to the movies this weekend and have a relaxing time, check out and enjoy yourself before you go back to the ennui that’s been our existence for the past _____ months.

And by go to the movies, I meant go to the theater if you just feel like dying or infecting others.

But if you want to stay home this weekend, the new horror/comedy 12 Hour Shift features one of cinema’s most inept workplaces filled with corrupt nurses and copious amounts of blood in what should be a reasonably antiseptic place. You don’t believe what’s happening for a moment, but you’re still having a good time since you’re staying at home and doing your best to avoid ___________ (INSERT current topical disease).

This is written sometime during the sh*tshow that is/was 2020 and back then/right now COVID-19 was the big thing before we conquered it with ________. But if you’re reading this in 2022 and the disease au courant is combustible pants, then by all means substitute freely.

Because we want some entertainment and keep our minds off invisible things that can kill us, here’s a movie in which the primary location is a hospital.

12 Hour Synopsis

12 Hour Shift opens with our (anti) heroine Mandy (May’s Angela Bettis) smoking a cigarette. Believe me when I write that smoking is probably the healthiest thing Mandy will do during this shift which lasts half a day.

Mandy is a nurse in his Arkansas hospital sometime in 1999. Y2k(!) is mentioned on the radio as a thing people need to be aware of and that’s how you know it’s 1999.

As mentioned before, Mandy is a nurse and she’s not a particularly good one. She’s not even a very good person, but at least she’s trying…to earn some extra money by selling kidneys and other body parts using her idiot cousin Regina (Chloe Farnworth) as an intermediary to the local Guy-That-Needs-Body-Parts-With-No-Questions-Asked Nicholas (Mick Foley, in a role not so different from his day job).

You’d think so, wouldn’t you? But you’d be wrong because this takes place in 1999…in ARKANSAS! So you can just walk out with body parts any old time you please.

Because this process strains credulity, let’s break it down.

Mandy and her nurse friend Karen (Nikea Gamby-Turner) identify patients on their way out. When she needs the money, Mandy lovingly and humanely kills those patients with bleach and then harvests their kidneys.

Mandy then puts the harvested kidneys or other body parts into a cooler that Regina brings to Nicholas.

Only this one fateful shift Regina brings Nicholas an empty cooler. No kidney to be found. Nicholas is not happy and if Regina does not return with a kidney, Nicholas will have to substitute hers, because any viable kidney will do.

Regina returns to the hospital looking to score another kidney because you can just pick those up in any local Arkansas hospital…in 1999.

Regina finds Mandy and tells her to get a new kidney because the other one got lost. In 1999 you can just pick those up in any local Arkansas hospital.

Mandy is pretty miffed and Regina and tells her to stay put while she finds a way to procure another kidney. Because Regina is such a f*ckup whose only purpose in the movie is to do stupid things to pad the running time and make Mandy run in more circles, she puts on a pair of scrubs, pretends to be a nurse just so she can find kidneys she can steal.

Nurses have it rough sometimes.

Nurses have it rough sometimes.

You see, all Regina has to do is look up on her phone “How to Harvest Kidneys” and that’s that. Only she really can’t because this is 1999. So Regina walks around the hospital looking for involuntary kidney donors.

Meanwhile, Mandy is doing the same thing only a lot less conspicuously. She’s not above killing patients or being high on painkillers. Whatever gets you through the day.

Oh, and there’s a prisoner named Jefferson (David Arquette) checking in. He’s accompanied by a guard because Jefferson is a murderer. In the grand tradition of guards accompanying killers in bottle situations, he will be dead within 15 minutes of his introduction.

That’s just the beginning of Mandy’s day. Before it’s over, Regina will do a dozen things you only see stupid characters in a horror movie do, generators will be tripped, and the bodies will definitely pile up.

But it’s all for a good cause, and by the end of the day---

And by the end of the day, we can only hope Mandy killed enough people to get her kidney(s) because the audience really wants someone like that to succeed.

He's not really holding a microphone.

He's not really holding a microphone.

What Works With 12 Hour Shift

  • Angela Bettis (The Woman) creates a pretty sympathetic character out of someone who, on the outside, seems despicable. Well, she’s despicable on the inside, but you still root for her because you feel bad she has to deal with a moron like Regina.
  • Writer/director Brea Grant pushes the absurdity to maximum effect. Even if you don’t entirely believe the chaos that’s going on, you’re still enjoying the ride because it’s so well executed. Only after the movie ends do you start doubting the likelihood of what you just saw. Unless you’re from Arkansas and you’ve seen this sh*t first hand.
  • Spurt Soda is the greatest fake soda you wish was a real soda.

What Doesn’t Work With 12 Hour Shift

  • I can’t believe I’m actually writing this, but you wish David Arquette had a bigger part. Considering how much they build his character up, Arquette barely registers as a presence except in fleeting moments when you’re shown that yes, that is David Arquette and he’s actually in a movie that you’re actually watching.
  • Labeled a horror/comedy, but this Shift is medium on the comedy and noticeably light on the actual horror. There’s blood and violence, but little tension and I can’t remember a time when the audience is actually scared. But there are a lot of kidneys on display.
She's not used to applying blood and makeup to her face,

She's not used to applying blood and makeup to her face,

Overall

At a shade under 90 minutes this Shift is not too long and reasonably enjoyable. You’ll laugh a couple of times and you’ll never be bored enough to fall asleep so someone could drug you and take your kidney.

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