Sony // 2006 // 89 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // June 16th, 2006
They're running out of patients.
What do you get when you cross ex-Playboy Playmates with gallons of fake blood and a handful of prosthetics? The greatest thing ever? One would think...
Something's up at the local hospital. The candy stripers have all become horny sluts overnight. And no one seems to have noticed. No one except for some injured basketball players and a couple of girls. Matt (Brian Lloyd) is the star player for his unnamed school, but following a particularly brutal game, he finds himself in the hospital gimped up and off his feet. He's not alone: two of his teammates, his airhead girlfriend, and his friend's little sister are hanging tough with him.
But they soon discover the weirdness happening around them. At first intrigued by the hotness and horniness of the candy stripers, they are made privy to the evil intentions of the ladies when one of them turns into a topless alien. Apparently, an alien entity has infested the women, utilizing their sultry looks and seductive wiles to draw the men in and use them as breeders for their slimy offspring.
With the entire hospital locked down because of a faulty epidemic diagnosis, the alien stripers run wild, luring more men with their bulbous chests and converting all available females to the hive mentality. It falls to the brave kids to thwart the aliens' plans for world domination, and if that means blowing up gooey plastic breasts with kerosene, then so be it.
There are some very nice B-movie moments to be found in Candy Stripers and some very stupid ones. At its core, Candy Stripers is a variation on the well-worn "alien invasion" genre conceit, this time substituting hot women in nurses' garb for the usual grizzled geezers. Heck, that's primarily the draw, evidenced by the marketing on the disc's case with three of said stripers looking all sultry and slimy.
So what spin does writer/director Kate Robbins put on this overused horror premise? And can she elevate a potential cliché-magnet up to noteworthy schlock status? The answer is yes. And no. She actually adds a few touches that give the flick some legs, but ever-present are elements that you've all seen before, leading right up to a ridiculous, predictable ending that is used in about every horror movie ever made. Yeah, it's a mixed bag, like the majority of these DVD-only horror flicks often are, but at least there's some good stuff in that bag. And here it is:
* Exhibit A: Blood and Gore Galore
I have to admit, I don't usually associate horror films with female directors, but my chauvinistic tendencies were put on hold when I realized that Kate Robbins is pretty f***ed up in the head. Though not as pervasive as I would have liked, the gore in Candy Stripers, when it appeared, was very over-the-top. The highlight is one of the guys having his groin chomped off by an alien, with lingering shots of his mutilated crotch pumping out blood. Other times we see chests torn open, heads gnawed upon, and lots of slime.
* Exhibit B: About that Slime
Yeah, how about that slime? One of the fun (or dumb) elements here is the methodology behind the aliens' take-over plot. After subduing their male victims with what appears to be cotton candy, the lovely ladies soon give birth -- through their mouth. Man, watching beautiful women vomit up green masses of goo, that never gets old.
* Exhibit C: Characters that Don't Suck
No, actually our heroes are pretty likable. Led by the crutch-bound Matt, the group of kids tears around the hallways, smiting aliens and talking trash. It's an eclectic bunch, populated by a whiner, a jock, a level-headed plain girl who instantly becomes hot later in the film, and an uber-slut. I didn't give a crap about who died, but this isn't the kind of horror movie where you invest in characters; it's the kind where you watch them have their genitals gnawed off.
I was disappointed with the methods to dispatch drummed up for the aliens. One of the good guys realizes that insulin is deadly to the beasts, and the final 20 minutes of the film or so has the kids go on an assault stabbing the alien women with syringes. Once they get the insulin, their heads get all wavy and loopy in obvious CGI manipulation; MIA -- sweet shots of exploding heads. The alien death wasn't nearly compelling enough.
Sound and video look fine with the disc supporting a 5.1 surround mix (loud, but front-loaded) and a clean 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Trailers only for extras make the malevolent extraterrestrial bodysnatchers sad.
While predictable and hugely stupid in many parts, Candy Stripers still surprises as a fast-moving, entertaining splatterfest, which packs in the nudity, sinew and a nice sense of not-taking-itself-seriously.
Not goo-lty. (Man, that was really goo-pid.)
Review content copyright © 2006 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 89 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Rated R