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Sick Nurses
cast: Vichaya Jarujinda, Childjun Riyiphan, Ase Wang, Chol Wachananont, and Dollaros Dechapratumwon

director: Thospol Sirivivat and Piraphan Laoyat

79 minutes (18) 2007
widescreen ratio 1.78:1
Revolver DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by Paul Higson
Many new horror films catching a release our blessed island of Blighty seem to be of a surprisingly commendable standard leading me to presume that DVD labels are acting as an effective filtering mechanism and sifting out dregs aplenty. Revolver Entertainment have been responsible for the release of several good horror oddities with Fermat's Room, Haunted Echoes, and Big Man Japan among the label's recent unit shifters (though their record is not perfect, judge Red Mist). There is also variety in Revolver's genre releases, with the conventional, the absurd and the experimental each given opportunity in the range. Mixing it up ensures that should some assessments be a mistake then others might still pay off. Thospol Sirivivat and Piraphan Laoyat's Thai ghost romp Sick Nurses (aka: Suay Laak Sai) has a separate lurid corner to itself. It has been labelled a comedy horror though comic excess is the closer tag. There are chuckles to be had in the visually bizarre and in the behaviour of the eponymous girls, six nurses connected to a corpse-selling scam at Forgiven Hospital. The black ruse is organised by the young Doctor Tar (Vichaya Jarujinda) and the majority of the action takes place in 30 minutes that just about cross New Year 2009.

The film opens as swiftly as it means to continue with the murder of one of their own, a nurse called Tahwaan, who, in a pique of anger over an amorous indiscretion committed by her lover Tar, threatens to make public their criminal earner, and is wrestled to a table and stabbed to death. The film picks up the story a week later with the body still awaiting pick-up. The six attractive nurses bicker lightly and otherwise show complete disregard for the fate of their former associate. Ai (Kanya Rattanapetch) goes for the spook button by reminding her colleagues that seven days have passed and according to legend this is the period of time the soul of a victim of violence takes to return to the body. The closer that the culprits are to the body when the ghost arrives, the better is the opportunity for the dead one to take revenge. In the 25 minutes before midnight, the girls are subjected to a number of assaults by the ubiquitous ghost girl, who ironically twins their fates to their personal faults. Ai, who prizes expensive accessories has her head sewn into a fashionable handbag, and the bulemic Jo (Dollaros Dechapratumwon) is force-fed everything from sand to scalpel blades before dying with a pickled punk wedged into what remains of her mouth.

Written by the directors with the additional keyboard tapping of Chanop Sirikamolmos and Buddhiporn Boossabarati, Sick Nurses has been devised to scuttle at breakneck pace and the story time-shifts back and forwards over a particular ten minutes with the ghost girl multiplied to pick off each of her offenders in the tight time frame. The rewinds are at first unclear and confusing but does no great harm to the film in the long run. The actresses are all pin-up standard and each bring significant character to their role. The Techapoowapat twins, Ampairat and Ampaiwan exhibit range, initially lively and bemusing, they go into scream queen mode before a further revelation that one, On, is not exactly the same as her adored sister Am, but is the dark half, delighting in the kill while Am pleads for a victim's mercy. More worrying still is the perverse introduction given to the sisters as they photograph one another on a bed, declaring each other as the more beautiful, their egos mirrored to the point of incest.

The writers' imaginations keep the cauldron bubbling. The set design and costumes and props similarly put their mark on the production. The colour is loud and builds bloodily though the consistency of the gore is inexact, sometimes too watery and often in differently shaded spillages of red. Sick Nurses is reminiscent of some of the wilder 1980s' horror films, particularly Prom Night 2: Hello, Mary Lou in its similar lunatic bounce and sets tipped on their side to achieve specific camera tricks. The story ends around the 75-minute mark which is just enough time to get away with the cascade of colour and action... any longer and it would have been too much, which is all too common in films today (Ichi The Killer). The film fails to end on a sufficiently imaginative conclusion, the final tableau familiar if not anticipated. Quibbles aside, there is never a dull moment and what more can a viewer possibly ask for?

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