Movie Review: ’12 Hour Shift’

Review by James Lindorf

Being a nurse can be a challenging job, both emotionally and physically. Working a 12-hour shift overnight is incredibly exhausting for Mandy (Angela Bettis). Beds need to be cleaned, patients need treatments and constant monitoring, plus she has to decide who she is going to kill for her part in a black-market organ harvesting scheme. Thanks to her bumbling cousin Regina (Chloe Farnworth) and a missing shipment, this shift shapes up to be like none before. Throw in a death row inmate under police guard, an overbearing boss, a drug addict from her past, and Many is going to have the longest shift of her life. “12 Hour Shift” will have a limited theatrical release day and date of its streaming release on October 2nd.

This film from writer and director Brea Grant is a blend of a dark comedy and a heist film. Usually, in heist movies, you are trying to get in, get the McGuffin, and get out unnoticed. Some like “Ocean’s Eleven” features elaborate and beautifully executed plans. In something like From Dusk till Dawn, when the robbery goes sideways, you have to improvise until you’re safe … or dead. Then there are movies like Logan Lucky or Tower Heist who have elaborate plans, but they lean on humor as much as they do the action. “12 Hour Shift” is more like the second group, but its style of comedy is drastically different. In place of traditional jokes, Grant populated her film with over the top characters, including bumbling criminals, hypochondriacs, drug addicts, lovesick cops, and a homicidal maniac (David Arquette).

The B-movie vibe of “12 Hour Shift” won’t mesh with everyone, but it is the performances that will keep you engaged. Bettis leads the pack as the complex nurse who kills terminal patients for the organ trafficking ring run by WWE’s Mick Foley. Mandy’s motivations are unclear, she could use the money to fund her out of control drug addiction, but she steals all of her pills, so that is off the table. Maybe she sees it as mercy with a bonus. It is hard to say. She would feel like a more rounded character if we knew the why, but her performance is strong enough to overwhelm the script’s shortcomings. David Arquette was also a bit of a standout. Instead of his trademark goofiness, he imbues his cop killer character with maniacal energy and menace.

I would have liked the absurdity toned down a degree or two. It is hard to completely merge the down-to-earth elements with the silliness of characters like Regina, which results in an inconsistent tone. That feeling is deepened by the strange choice in music. Opera is not a traditional fit and distracts more than it enhances what is happening on screen. The performances and desire to see how Mandy and the rest survive the night make this gritty comedy entertaining from beginning to end. “12 Hour Shift” may only be Grant’s second feature film after 2013’s “Best Friends Forever” but it is clear she has plenty of talent and has a shot at mainstream success.

Genre: Mystery And Thriller, Comedy
Original Language: English
Director: Brea Grant
Producer: David Arquette, Matt Glass, Jordan Wayne Long, Christina McLarty, Tara Perry
Writer: Brea Grant
Release Date (Theaters): October 2nd, 2020
Release Date (Streaming): October 2nd, 2020
Runtime: 1h 28m
Production Co: HCT Media

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