Writer-Director Brea Grant’s second feature 12 Hour Shift a dark comedy about a wild night at an Emergency Room.
Brea Grant has created a film that gets better as it moves on. Anchored by a lead performance by Angela Bettis.
Mandy (Bettis) enters the Hospital she works as a Nurse for a 12-hour shift. Little does she know that her life of black-market organ trading and drug abuse will be uprooted by the agent of chaos that is her cousin Regina (Chole Farnsworth). Regina manages to screw up a kidney-drop off to a local gangster (Mick Foley) that sends Mandy, Regina, hospital staff, and patients into a free-for-all of violence.
Grant’s second film as a director shows an assured hand for the darkest of comedies. The film’s primary single location of a hospital never feels constricting or claustrophobic. Rather this is turned into an asset as Mandy and the staff are besieged by all manner of work-related and criminal-related issues.
The cast is uniformly good. Though this is Bettis’ show as Mandy the over-work, on (work) probation veteran Nurse. Bettis brings a world-weariness and put-upon attitude that makes this “workday from hell” funny. Farnsworth as Regina the primary thorn in Mandy’s side is the type of character that will either grate on you or delight you. Regina is the type of person that is a walking tornado of a shitshow. Cameos by Mick Foley and David Arquette (who co-produced) are appropriately fun.
The film’s best moments are in the final thirty minutes, with the first hour of the film being set up for the comedic forces that come to pay off in the final third act. Some will find this distracting with the nagging point of “what’s the point”. Sit tight, as a patient audience will be rewarded by 12 Hour Shift crazy finale, moments filled with laughter, and genuine moments of tension.