Feeling tired? Some days at work feel like they never end. And then there’s those crazy shifts and the people you have to work with. Imagine the craziest shift you ever had at work and get ready for a massive tidal wave of insanity. Don’t worry, they’re some laughs on the way. That is as long as you don’t mind the blood and the stolen organs.

(Source: Fantasia Film Festival)

12 Hour Shift was written and directed by Brea Grant. Mandy (Angela Bettis) is a nurse and a junkie. To support her habit, she steals organs from corpses. That operation is really not going smoothly, least of all with slow-witted Regina (Chloe Farnworth) losing the bloody organs every time. Partner-in-crime Karen (Nikea Gamby-Turner) is trying to stabilize the situation, but there’s way too many crazy people walking around. With one criminal chained to a bed (David Arquette) and others looking to settle the score with Regina and Mandy, things are going to go crazy fast.

The result is a just a crazy but highly orchestrated mess of a story where Mandy must navigate two consecutive shifts while trying to find a way to get Regina and the gangsters out of the hospital without further deaths. The movie seems full of a unlimited dose of zest. It’s also going for a 90’s esthetic, which it pulls fairly well. More interesting is the hectic atmosphere of Mandy’s workplace.

Creating madness is not an easy task. You have to know where each loose thread is going to go and which ones are going to overlap. The story does a good job of moving along, switching characters and advancing the overall plot. It does paint a few roles as caricatures, but some are believable that way. I am glad that the job of a nurse itself is never the actual target of a joke, instead it’s the long shifts and the crazy patient personalities that are highlighted.

Highly recommended for dark humour and one light reservation. It’s a comedy, it’s dark and it takes place in a hospital – so there will be blood. It never gets entirely mean, but we do see some people that probably shouldn’t have the job they have. Mandy herself might be detached but she’s not heartless. All in all, you wonder if the addiction was actually a cause of her long hours. With a perfect balance of slapstick and drama, this film is worth sticking around to watch on a late night.

Update: This film won Fantasia’s Cheval Noir for Best Screenplay written by Brea Grant.

That will do for now.