Hi again ghosts and ghouls! Taylor Terrible here, back to ask you what your biggest fear is. I’ll tell you what mine is: being completely unable to care for myself, left to the devices of doctors and nurses to deal with me as I waste away in a hospital bed. Nothing scares me more than being sick or injured to the point where I’m incapable of functioning day-to-day. I first realized this fear watching movies like 28 Days Later, Quarantine, and films along those lines…when the world around you turns against you and destroys everything, leaving you to fend for yourself so you don’t catch the diseases ruining everything.
With that being said, the entire hospital/sickness sub-genre of horror has always held a special place in my heart as the scariest sub-genre (followed closely by body horror, which I guess can kind of coincide). Now, I know I’ve said this before, but most of the time when I write reviews, I go in mostly blind. I don’t do a lot of research beforehand, and I most definitely don’t read reviews, because my taste tends to be a little on the stranger side. A lot of films that people love, I tend to loath (The Witch).
I looked up the reviews for NAILS before sitting down to write this review and I’m shocked that it’s only received a 4.9/10 on IMDB. I guess that kind of gives away what I thought a little bit, doesn’t it? Let me jump into my review…
NAILS is the story of Dana, who is responsible, caring, compassionate mother who is unfortunately paralyzed after being hit by a car while running. While in the hospital, she’s cared for by a nurse named Trevor (Ross Noble), and is visited frequently by her husband (Steve Wall) and daughter (Leah McNamara). Though those aren’t the only visitors she gets…late at night when no one is around, she is visited by a former nurse of the hospital. Only he’s not alive. He killed himself after he killed a handful of small girls that were under his care.
The film itself starts with a bang – a few creepy hospital shots and then right into the everyday life of Dana. The accident is almost immediate, which for someone like me is great, because slow-burn horror hurts my soul and I want all the action you can possibly cram into an hour and a half. From then on, you’re stricken with the uncomfortable grief that Dana is going through, mourning the loss of her independence and also feeling scared with her when “Nails” comes to visit, because she’s not able to run away.
The scares themselves are more slow-burn than anything…no jump scares (except for tasteful ones) are used to build tension, that is done all on its own as Dana uses her cameras in her hospital room to look around, so you’re wondering where Nails will pop up next.
There is the tasteful use of terrifying jump scare in one scene (I won’t tell you which) reminiscent of Sleepy Hollow… you know, the scene with the witch cutting the bat’s head off. The moment actually made me yelp. Doesn’t happen often, as most of you know, since us horror fans are jaded to jump scares and bad soundtracks and copious, excessive loud sounds to go with it all.
The film itself is generally unsettling, considering it’s set in a place that’s supposed to be a safe-haven for those that need intensive care, but the soundtrack is good, the acting is better (Shauna Macdonald is AMAZING as Dana), and Nails is a grotesque, ugly, terrifying character. Like Smiley meets Bughuul meets Slenderman, almost. It’s bad. I asked my fiance to stand outside the bathroom with me just in case.
All in all, I would watch this film again in a heartbeat. It’s well-thought-out, well written, the cast is wonderful together, and Nails is a terrifying antagonist that is reminiscent of some of the better scary supernatural characters out there. Like I said before, he reminds me a lot of Bughuul in his movements and how he appears and in the way that he targets children…Dana’s his exception but there’s a twist that explains it all.
If you can avoid the reviews, it would be in your best interest to just form an opinion about this film yourself. It truly is a gem that deserves to be given a chance if you have the opportunity.
NAILS will arrive on Digital HD and VOD November 17, 2017.
- [Slamdance Review] MAJNUNI - January 26, 2020
- Panic Fest Short Film Review: BROWN FISH (2017) - February 4, 2019
- Short Film Review: GOOD GIRL (2018) - December 26, 2018