12 Hour Shift is a film that knows exactly when to get serious and when to play around with its cynical silliness. If it is serious then a scene can be a tense moment, but when a scene is already going on ridiculous then the moment can easily serve up humor and invite laughter in the middle of a complicated situation and shouldn't be funny.
In 12 Hour Shift , there is no morally correct character. Everything, including the main character, always has a dark character. Mandy (Angela Bettis), our protagonist, was a nurse at a hospital in Arkansas in 1999. She is a drug addict as well as a grumpy person with her cold temper. And he is also an accomplice to an illegal human organ trade, where he is usually assisted by an admin, Karen (Nikea Gamby-Turner) and deals with his cousin, Regina (Chloe Farnworth), who although Mandy never recognizes him as a cousin.
Regina is a clumsy person and often has a hard time deciding what to do next. He is someone who can easily ramble when he is talking, which often annoys many people including Mandy. He is also naive and forgetful, at one point forgetting to take the kidney that Mandy gave him to give to a criminal named Nicholas (played by legendary professional wrestler Mick Foley). Of course Nicholas threatened to take Regina's kidney and Regina, in the midst of his panic, immediately returned to the hospital to find his kidney and there was a mess that involved kidney loss, murder, and an escaped criminal patient.
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When the first few minutes of the film is running, 12 Hour Shift does look like it will be a slow and unattractive film. The slow start also made me feel less optimistic about this film. But when the film has been running for 18-20 minutes, then this film can meet a consistent rhythm and Brea Grant - writer and director - can take full control of how the film runs with wild chaos and a stable storyline.
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The dark comedy here is what makes me really love this film. This is the kind of film that really doesn't hesitate to blow off its ridiculousness and show off its madness, which makes its dark comedy not only effective, but perfect as well. This is the type of film that can show the scene of taking a kidney full of blood and murder coupled with the scene of a nurse and a medic singing "Are You Wased in the Blood?" This is not a funny scene, it is a scene that is quite creepy but it can also produce humor in the midst of the chaos and that is what 12 Hour Shift is all about .
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The dark comedy also relies on a group of characters in 12 Hour Shift who may not be enough of the word "eccentric" to describe their nature. Imagine if in one hospital there was Mandy who was always gloomy, Karen who was always cynical about all situations, Regina who always made things worse, a policeman (Kit Williamson) who was innocent, a medical officer (Thomas Hobson) who always listened to music on his headset , a criminal (David Arquette) who has been freed from his handcuffs, and a murderer (Dusty Warren) of his subordinates Nicholas who is after Regina. What a mess. And that's the excitement of this film, to see what will happen if we mix all kinds of characters with bad and right intentions in one building.
But of course full appreciation to the trio of Mandy, Karen and Regina who always bring a scene to life. The interaction of the two, or even the three is what makes this film come to life. Whether when Mandy and Karen panic at each other, or Mandy, who is always annoyed by Regina's behavior or Karen's always surprised by Regina, that's where the comedy gold mine is. Like Karen who was surprised why Regina wasn't wearing her shoes and said “Thank you” to Karen even though she just cursed at her.
12 Hour Shift is like a box with a variety of surprises inside. The more the film progresses, the more unexpected events that are either funny or hysterical happen and that is one of the reasons why this film is always fun to follow. The duration, which is also not long, only lasts 87 minutes, also ensures that the plot of the film never leaves the core of the story so that no moments are wasted and unnecessary pleasantries. It's a dark comedy and thriller that work in harmony with each other, and it's also a subtle opening that's just right for the Halloween season.
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