Introducing a new, ideally regular (monthly? bimonthly?) series, in which I eschew the festival circuit and write about, as the slug reads, a strange film I've seen. This could mean via Netflix, a DVD I own, something I saw at a friend's flat or in the theatre. Whatever. The only things to keep in mind here are 1. it's got to be a strange film and 2. my take will be laden with SPOILERS. So if you've not seen the film yet and you want to see it and fear that SPOILERS will ruin your viewing experience: don't read it!
With that cautionary word, my take on Sick Nurses:
So: Dr. Tar receives a prize at this absurd medical awards ceremony but he's got to jet out of there — why? b/c the wrapped and dry-iced body of Tahwaan is chilling (no pun) in the trunk of his car, that's why! He's trying to deliver the body but dissociative voice on the other line claims it's not time yet. Which brings us back to the nurses. It's 11:45p-ish. Aeh, the insufferable materialist, is cutting out adverts for jewels and taping them to her body, like a necklace and earrings. Seriously. Then she parades around in heels, makeup (touched up now) and cut-out jewelry w/ her brand new, gorgeous handbag. And then: she sees something. Cut to: Yim, working out in her dorm room, showering with her clothes on (hmm...), mixing like eight shampoos together, one of which contains evil ghost hair!!
Aeh is running scared down the hall, sees someone in her peripherals and thinks its the ghost of Tahwaan, freaks out, runs a different direction, hears a crash, screams, falls to the ground in front of her favorite handbag, from which the ghost of Tahwaan is crawling out of, the handbag. Get all that? Meanwhile, Yim is attacked by hair, straight out of Sion Sono's Exte, only this time the hair turns her upside down and drowns her in her own aquarium. Nook hears a sound outside the bathroom door, returns the pregnancy test to her clutch (full of other, used?, pregnancy tests) and exits, finding Orn and Am trapped under Tahwaan's control. Instead of helping them, she screams and takes off, runs down the hall, encounters Aeh in passing (a genius technique by the directors: most of this action is occurring between the 11:45p and 11:50p time, so they edited the multiple storylines quite well), and ends up in a spookily lit operating room. THAT operating room. Complete w/ a table bearing a curled-up sobbing figure, hidden beneath a sheet.
We get a flashback here (this is how the directors operate, for like 1/2 the film I didn't know what was going on, there were these nurses who killed another nurse, who returned as a ghost to kill them, each woman has her private obsession and the doctor seems to be quite the rat-bastard — well, that much was clear before the flashbacks): apparently Tahwaan used to hide out for Dr. Tar in this operating room and they make love on the sly. Only this time, while she waits for him, concealed under a sheet, Nook enters and Dr. Tar begins putting the moves on her instead. Tahwaan watches in tearful silence as Dr. Tar pledges his love and then has sex with her. Afterward, Tahwaan attacks Nook, and we learn they are SISTERS (I wish I were making this up, but I'm not), and this incident leads to the nurses grabbing Tahwaan, pinning her down (the childish Am seems the most reluctant of the lot, cowering next to Nook), as she grabs at Aeh's hair and screams for the doctor. He hands off a knife to Nook, who finishes the task. Oh! This whole while, brief cuts back to Dr. Tar, at a payphone or driving in his car, wondering when he can get rid of the body. He has flashbacks too, perhaps back to his medical school days, involving a lithe dude doctor who obvs has the hots for him and wants to marry him.
Meanwhile: Am and Orn get split up, not in a grisly sense but they lose track of one another, and Am ends up in I guess a security room? Or a room w/ a bunch of video monitors IN ADDITION to operating tables. B/c she has to watch her colleagues get mowed down by the ghostly Tahwaan. She sees her sister getting mugged by Tahwaan in a stalled freight lift then, suddenly, Orn is in the same room as Am (no questions asked), prone on a box-enclosed operating table. And yes, Tahwaan forces Am to do precisely what she doesn't want to do: eviscerate her twin with a bone-saw. Only: Orn is possessed as well and willing to help her! Another flashback: good ol' Dr. Tar was flirtatious (or entirely out of line, depending on how you look at it) w/ all his nurses: groping Orn and Yim, feeding a cream puff to Jo, giving Aeh that lovely handbag, in addition to sleeping w/ Nook and Tahwaan. I guess evil Tahwaan realizes this, and that Am never wanted to kill her in the first place, b/c she leaves her alone after sawing away at her twin for a few hours (at least it felt that long), so Am commits suicide instead. Tahwaan possesses Nook to coax the good doctor back to the hospital, quick!, then dukes it out w/ her on the front lawn. But: the clock strikes midnight, Nook prevails, and the doctor returns just in time to find his bride-to-be. Only... it's Tahwaan! Or actually it's Tahwaan before, not the MTF post-op Tahwaan but the dude from medical school, bleeding all over like Carrie. Dr. Tar, conveniently, doesn't know what to do and freezes in place. So Nook reappears and sets fire to Tawhaan, immolating her. Which should work, but this is an Asian horror film, so instead Tahwaan attacks Nook once more, being reborn through her — if the last 80 minutes were an endless series of one-upping, jaw-dropping shockers, this one takes it way further — into a blood-soaked man who reaches out to Dr. Tar, reminding him once again that they should get married. The end.