I'm a big Asian Extreme junkie. Years ago I put "Battle Royale" in the DVD player and never looked back. It's the wtf-factor...you come away wondering what the hell you just watched and why the hell you just sat there and watched it.
"Sick Nurses" is Thai. When we did the audio setup, I accidentally turned on the English dubbing in addition to the normal English subtitles I use, which made the whole thing even more hilarious. It was dubbed by English-speaking Thai actors (with thick accents, but strangely on a mission to make the whole thing as American as possible) and didn't even match the subtitles half the time. I decided to leave it that way and keep the entertainment coming.
The film opens with strategically cropped shots of an attractive and apparently unconscious woman being stripped (here's a corner of a breast, here are panties being pulled down a leg, that kind of thing). We gradually see a young, attractive doctor and four improbably attractive nurses, dressed in varying forms of Generic Nurse Fantasy clothing, stationed around the gurney.
They give each other apprehensive, significant looks as one of them dabs at the doctor's face with a moistened cotton ball. One nurse in pigtails hands the doctor a syringe, which he jabs into the naked patient's neck. As the nurses continue working, he turns away to make a call. "Hello? I have a new body for you."
It turns out that whoever wants this body doesn't want it for seven more days, which means he has to store it in his trunk. As he walks and talks, we see two more nurses, who are also dressed out of the Fredericks of Hollywood catalog but seem to be in varying stages of freakout. One is covered with blood. We cut back to the naked lady as the nurses are binding her with strips of garbage bag. Just as her face is being covered, her eye snaps open and focuses on the camera before the screen goes black. In an Asian horror movie, this means Shit Will Go Down.
Seven days later, we're looking at a Tarantino trunk shot of dry ice being dumped on the bag-wrapped corpse by one of the nurses. Everything goes blue, and now we're in flashback-land. The nurses are wrestling a woman who is screaming, "Let go of me, I'm going to tell them that you make money from dead bodies!", which, if you think about it, is the one thing you probably don't want to tell murderers if you want them to let you go. Let me go so I can tell on you! Yes! Good idea! We see the nurses wrestling her, then the doctor gives one a nod and hands her some sort of long straight-razorlike knife. She plunges it into the victim's chest.
We learn that the doctor's name is Dr. Tar or Dr. Taa, but it doesn't really matter because the dubbers think we can't handle it and just call him Dr. Tad. (As a matter of fact, they figured that despite the fact that we're bothering to watch a Thai movie, we can't handle any Thai names, so they all have ridiculously incongruous English names.) He takes time out to make a call to argue with his customer, who wants to delay pickup of the dead body a while longer. He drops a photo, which we see says "Let's Get Married" on the back and is signed by Tawaan, or "Tammy" to us stupid Americans. The screen jitters around, triggering another flashback.
Tawaan/Tammy is hanging on the doctor and nagging him to shop for wedding rings. A redheaded nurse, Nook ("Nora" to you), interrupts them and the good doctor goggles at her, pissing Tammy off. Tammy says "That's my sister, don't even think about her", and the two women share an inappropriately sexy, awkward moment.
Sisters cop a feel irl, don't they?
As a matter of fact, I might as well tell you right now that this movie is pretty much softcore porn. Nora leaves and Dr. Tad stares at her on the way out.
Whoops! Back to the present! Dr. Tad wins the prestigious Bouquet of White Tissue-Wrapped Flowers for No Good Reason, so I guess that's something. Actually, it's supposed to be "doctor of the year". I guess Thai standards are a little different.
We cut to some sort of employee lounge, where a bunch of the murderous nurses are getting ready to start their shift. Actually, I'm not really sure the shift ever starts, because even after they leave the lounge the hospital is dark and utterly devoid of patients:
Either that, or a "shift" consists of prancing around empty rooms in a Naughty Nurse costume with white garter stockings and your ass hanging out. It could be. I've never been to Thailand.
The first nurse we meet is Aeh, or "Erin", who has a penchant for red lipstick, gaudy handbags and ornamenting herself with magazine cutouts of jewelry. She sledges the exposition into our heads...namely, that everyone had better watch out because the dead chick's coming back for her man.
After having a bitchfest with the other ladies, she walks off, inexplicably balancing a purse on her head, to begin her shift. As I said, her shift consists of pasting paper jewelry on her skin and admiring herself in a reflective window. Her preening is cut short by an ominous black figure who grabs her and then chases her through the hospital.
...you know, it doesn't really matter what the rest of the nurses' names are. There's a bulimic one who looks like Tila Tequila; there's an athletic one that seems to exert some Darth-Vader kind of control over the others. I don't know. Eventually it just becomes unpleasant female stereotype A, unpleasant female stereotype B, and so on.
The last two are a set of nauseatingly cutesy identical twins, who not only dress and talk alike and wear little-girl clothes, but also seem to be having some sort of pseudo-lesbian relationship. Incestuous or not, they're irritating as hell and you want to see them get it the minute they start giggling and playing pattycake.
They all live in strange little apartments (bedroom and a toilet stall with a shower stall at one end) inside the hospital. In these apartments they illustrate various nasty aspects of their personalities, engage in titillating little scenes, and eventually get visited and slapped around by the ghost, who shows up as a menacing woman in greenish-black body paint. She has the usual long black hair, although this time with blond highlights, and for some reason she's wrapped in a giant black lace shawl. She often carries out her tortures while perching provocatively on a table or couch.
First she kind of slaps them around a bit, then she goes in for the kill.
Nora's got a weird little quirk of her own. She locks herself in the bathroom and sits on the toilet, pulling a pregnancy test out of her purse. We see the test come up positive, causing her to smile contently. She goes into her little cocktail clutch for another test, and we see that the whole damn purse is filled with pregnancy tests. Ok, that's a little weird.
In general, she seems a little insecure, constantly reminding herself of her status (her cell ringtone is the wedding march when her fiance, Dr. Tad, calls), so the pregnancy test thing is really just more of the same.
All of this is spaced out with some scenes that don't make a hell of a lot of sense- the middle-aged hospital president and his wife arguing at Dr. Tad's award ceremony, Dr. Tad and some dude named Terry having some homoerotic moments and meeting up at various places around town.
Meanwhile, the ghost is after Nora. There are some hilarious moments, like when Nora fends off a horde of faceless nurses with her handy-dandy pregnancy test:
...and when the ghost pinions her with some sort of outdoor-hospital-screen-stabilizing-wooden-stakes and lets the giant hospital symbol fall off the building and roll onto her. At one point Nora manages to stab the ghost in the heart. The ghost giggles and dances as glitter shoots out of the gaping wound, while blood rains on the participants at the award ceremony indoors. Bizarre.
Nora's baby is Dr. Tad's, which we'd figured out, but what with the dead woman? Did Nora just off her to get Dr. Tad to herself? Well, that's when the explanation flashbacks start kicking in.
We see Tammy, the naggy bride, quite alive, giggling under a sheet in the morgue, thinking she's going to pop out and surprise the doctor. Instead, she ends up being privy to a tryst between him and Nora and has to choke back tears. Later she attacks Nora, which is tellingly subtitled with "Stay away from my doctor!", and is wrangled by the other women to become the latest corpse on the black market. Now it's seven days later and she's back to exact her revenge. We find out that the bitchiest of the nurses were the ones to start the process of offing Tammy, and one of the twins held back. Nora held back too, but with a nod from Dr. Tad she found the strength to plunge that straight razor into her sister. That's why one of the twins killed herself- the ghost spared her, but she didn't want to live without her sister. Oh, ok.
We see that all of the nurses were having affairs with the doctor, making him a manwhore. I can see that. But why did they all gang up on Tammy and promote Nora, instead of being at each other's throats trying to win the guy? Not that he's much of a prize, doctor or no doctor. That part I didn't get.
Then it gets a little weird. Cut back to the present. Dr. Tad, still fresh in his awards ceremony duds, drags Tammy's body up the hospital staircase for a meeting with the buyer. He gets there to find Tammy in front of him, wearing a very goofy brown-sequinned haute couture wedding gown and strutting toward him in a drizzle of blood. Time for more flashbacks!
Terry cuddling the doctor, saying, "Let's get married!" The doctor shrugging him off, saying "I can't marry you, you're a man!" Terry becoming Tammy via the wonders of surgery. The flashback is abruptly cut short by the appearance of Nora, who douses Terry/Tammy's corpse with gasoline and lights a match. Wait, wasn't Nora dead? I'm lost. Wait, another flashback...before Tammy dies on the gurney, she jabs a finger at Nora's stomach. In these movies, that always means she's going to be reincarnated as that baby. Sure enough, Nora gives birth to a full-grown Tammy/Terry/no wait Tammy/no, Terry on the hospital staircase. Tammy/Terry moves in for a kiss from the petrified doctor.
It was a weird movie and utterly cliche all at once. Every scare tactic they did was pretty much ripped off from another Asian horror movie. As a matter of fact, take this flashback and this assortment of cellphones and that elevator scene and throw in some reincarnations, mix in a liberal amount of omnipresent female ghost with long black hair, and you could have just about any one of them. If you could play a good vengeful longhaired female ghost, you'd never lack for work in Asia.
I was going to end all this by saying that you could basically take any Asian horror movie with crawling female ghost or cellphones and put them all in nurse uniforms to get this one, but this movie actually grew on me. It's not good, by any means, but it's just so damn weird