The Night Nurse (1978)

Article 3064 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-27-2009
Posting Date: 1-3-2010
Directed by Igor Auzins
Featuring Gary Day, Kate Fitzpatrick, Kay Taylor
Country: Australia
What it is: Oddball horror thriller

A woman gets a job as a night nurse for a reclusive former opera singer known as “The Diva”. The recluse’s daughter (who has been selling her mother’s art collection and replacing them with prints) attempts to drive the new nurse away, but the recluse has taken to her. However, there are more skeletons in the closet here than she suspects…

Though I don’t think the user ratings necessarily give an accurate idea of the critical worth of a movie, they do manage to give a little snapshot on how people feel about a movie. This one has a rating of 4.6, which means it’s not highly regarded, and I can see why; as a horror movie, this is pretty mild stuff, and the big horrific finale is clumsy. Still, I think it’s the overly talky script that is the main culprit. I myself didn’t have that much of a problem with it; the talk is there to establish character, and this is a very character-driven story. It seems to be a variation on one of the subplots of THE CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE; we have a wheelchair-bound recluse, a jealous daughter, and an intruder who threatens to steal the affection of the mother that belongs to the daughter. What I like about this movie is that it is quite unpredictable; the opening set-up (when the daughter kills an art dealer) makes us think we’ve got a handle on where the story will go and who the villain is, but the movie has some surprises in store for us before it comes to its conclusion. I have respect for a movie that can consistently surprise me, especially if the story still holds together with each revelation. Even the very final moment is a surprise, albeit one in which the movie simply refuses to take the expected ending. Due to some clumsiness and slowness, it’s not a great movie by any means, but it is something different for those who like their horror to be a little unpredictable.


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