Just to get this out of the way, because it’s insignificant: ’12 hour’ should be hyphenated. So this movie and I didn’t get off to a great start.
Then it spends more than half its runtime sloooowly introducing us to sketches of horrible, poorly acted characters whispering painfully unoriginal (and, at times, inaudible) dialogue. Its neon colour palette is…a thing? It was distinctive, I guess? The score is an unpleasant blend of hair metal and faux-opera that’s at odds with its inexplicably ’90s setting. Throw in some bizarre camerawork choices and some unconfident direction and it’s a shame that this darkly comic premise (sourcing a black market kidney from a hospital) didn’t get the movie it deserved.
I’m fine with mean-spirited stories, or unsympathetic characters, or nihilistic messages. But 12 Hour Shift doesn’t offer us anything cohesive, doesn’t have anything to say beyond a throwaway line like ‘mental health is no joke’ (which is then nullified by the next line of dialogue, anyway), and just seems to be a setup for several bloody set-pieces, none of which land as gags or moments of tension. There’s no dark wit; no wry editing; no tight, assured direction (needed by this type of set and this many characters). It’s a tepid, mishmash of genres with narrative and emotional threads that go nowhere.
All of the actors seem to be acting in different movies in their heads, especially the main character’s cousin (who seems to be auditioning for Harley Quinn fifteen years too late), and producer David Arquette is wasted in a wandering cameo as a suicidal serial killer.
I also don’t think it was worth releasing in the current climate – a movie in which drug-addicted nurses who are shit at their jobs, murder people with bleach and illegally harvest their organs to make extra cash for sneakers…doesn’t sound like a movie for covid-19 in which we have lost countless healthcare workers to the frontline of this fucking awful pandemic.
Worse still, the film’s lone black guy (don’t worry – there’s also a lone black female character, who is an extremely corrupt and morally bankrupt nurse) ONLY SHOWS UP TO SING AND DANCE randomly. For no fucking reason. Just…minstrels his way through the fucking shoddily directed scene.
This movie was definitely made by the kind of white person who barges into hospitals and demands to see the manager.
Score: 0 pumpkins. Not even a pumpkin seed.