12 Hour Shift (CREDIT: Matt Glass/Magnet Releasing)

Starring: Angela Bettis, Chloe Farnworth, Nikea Gamby-Turner, Kit Williamson, David Arquette, Mick Foley

Director: Brea Grant

Running Time: 86 Minutes

Rating: Unrated (with Some R-Level Gore and Profanity, and a Few Bits of Nudity)

Release Date: October 2, 2020 (Theaters and On Demand)

There’s been plenty of ink spilled over bottle episodes, but what about the bottle movie? Outings of TV that take place in only one location naturally call attention to themselves, as they tend to break the typical mold of any given show. Whereas when a film keeps its setting confined, it doesn’t exactly feel out of the ordinary, since it’s normal for that particular movie. But it’s nevertheless worth examining when it does happen, as in the one-crazy-night black comedy 12 Hour Shift. When people are stuck in one place for an extended period, secrets and extreme parts of people’s personalities tend to be revealed, and oh boy is that the case here.

Besides a quick trip in the beginning, all of 12 Hour Shift takes place in and around a hospital in Arkansas in 1999 (that turn-of-the-millennium setting eventually pays off with a sly little Y2K joke). Mandy (Angela Bettis) is a nurse on probation who’s really pushing her luck by procuring organs from dying patients for a black market scheme. Her ditzy cousin-by-marriage Regina (Chloe Farnworth) bungles a kidney delivery and returns to the facility to harvest a replacement. Trouble is, there’s no obvious candidate to quickly pull off this transaction. So under the threat of possibly having to give up her own kidney, Regina quickly decides that she is willing to do just about anything (and I do mean ANYTHING) to procure some stranger’s organ.

Overnight shift work, particularly in a hospital, strikes me as a formula for hallucination. So when the shenanigans start ramping up, they’re understandably met with little more than shrugs. When patients see a fight breaking out in their room, they’re liable to think “Is this really happening?” and opt to go back to sleep. (That is, unless they’re dragged into the fight.) Meanwhile, the nurses have such a seen-it-all attitude that even the ones taking their duties really seriously are inclined to greet potential disasters with a “let’s just get through the night” response. The trouble is, that doesn’t really work when you have someone like Regina making mess after mess while unleashing her inner monster to cover her own ass. The pressure and farce in this flick heighten gradually, but soon enough, there’s no denying that this is a 12 Hour Shift for the ages.

12 Hour Shift is Recommended If You Like: Raising Arizona, Gory comedies, Imagining that a wacky murder mystery is going to play out while you’re working a graveyard shift

Grade: 3 out of 5 Kidneys