12 Hour Shift premiered at Tribecca, 2020. Later the same year, at Fantasia Film Festival, it won the best screenplay award. Screening links weren’t being sent out to many but a few outlets. This usually means one of two things. The film is really good or the film is really bad. Usually, it’s the latter but being such an odd year for cinema nothing is guaranteed. Distributors and PR people alike were changing their game plans, so Mother of Movies remained optimistic 12 Hour Shift was going to be amazing. If you’re looking for online screening, this year’s Grimmfest 2020 is hosting the film on the 8th October (UK & Northern Ireland) just shy of it’s US release of 2nd October to VOD.
Written and directed by Brea Grant the story was sparked by news stories from the 90s’. Most will probably remember tales about a wayward nurse who misappropriated some bleach. Other stories from the same decade told of underground organ distributors and people being found in bathtubs full of ice.
When Bad Guys Are Girls
But I came for Angela Bettis and her portrayal of Mandy. Mandy is one of those bad guys in the form of a female. Smart and sinister, deflecting the turmoil that gets in the way of her criminal entrepreneurship. Mandy is the type of anti-hero I love embroiled in a story that goes from bad to clusterf*ck. Beginning with Mandy, she’s a problematic drug user with the freedom to walk the hospital corridors and occasionally acquiring an organ or two.
Mandy’s cousin Regina (played by Chloe Farnworth) is the proverbial spanner in the undermining of Mandy’s organ harvesting activities. She is a constant source of bad decisions and mismanagement. In addition, Regina and Mandy’s only source of cover is the fact they are wolves hiding in plain sight.
The Villanelle’s, Ruth’s, and Beth’s
As far as women-led centerpieces, I dig that too. I enjoy the Villanelles, the Ruths, and the trio of Good Girls who star as female antiheroes. Generally, though, the strong and willful lady bad-guys are in television shows. However, I did really like She Never Died’s, Lacy, and who can forget Beatrix from the renowned Kill Bill franchise.
In 12 Hour Shift, some seamlessly appropriate upbeat score is included. It comes via a security guard donning a music player as he dances completely disconnected from the mania within the hospital that he works in. Mashed up against operatic interludes it sets the tone for the film in a good way.
With attention to Bettis’s performance, her deadpan matter-of-fact character manages to balance the overkill of too many idiots. The humor included in a horror movie like this only works if your sensibilities allow you to find the funny side of grievous situations. Thankfully, I revel in a narrative like this. The chaotic and complicated dance of one person trying to unravel a snowball of misfortune simply so they can continue to live their crappy life.
12 Hour Shift isn’t the memorable standout film of 2020. But on the positive side, it certainly is a well-constructed triage of how to get away with murder so you’re on time for the next shift.
I give 12 Hour Shift
3.5 do you know what saddness smells like? out of 5
- BLOODY HELL & BREA GRANTS NEW FILM RUN: What else can you see at 2020’s Nightstream?
- ACTION AND COMEDY MOVIES 2020: Chick Fight / The Cleansing Hour
The official trailer for 12 Hour Shift from Magnolia Pictures
- 12 Hour Shift will hit theatres and streaming platforms from October 2nd, 2020.
- Starring: Angela Bettis, David Arquette, Chloe Farnworth, Mick Foley, Kit Williamson, Nikea Gamby-Turner and Brooke Sequin.