Dana Milgrom (Shauna Macdonald) is a track coach and mother who’s survived a near-death car accident, only to find herself paralyzed and trapped inside her own body. Forced to communicate via an artificial voice program and hooked to a breathing machine, she becomes convinced that a terrifying presence called Nails exists inside her hospital room. No one believes her – not even her own husband, who thinks she’s experiencing a mental breakdown. As her marriage disintegrates and her grip on reality starts to shred, Dana fights to convince the doctors and staff that Nails is real and intent on destroying her.
Dana Milgrom (Shauna Macdonald), is a young and healthy track coach and fitness enthusiast who is struck by a hit-and-run driver while crossing the street. Dana briefly dies right before the paramedics show up to revive her, then is immediately taken to the ivy-covered Hopewell Rehabilitation Hospital. When she wakes up in the hospital, she discovers that her body has been badly battered, her legs are paralyzed, and she is connected to a medical ventilator through a tracheal tube. Unable to speak, she is forced to use a speech synthesis program.
Her husband Steve (Steve Wall) helps her adjust to the program and assures her that he will attempt to get her back home soon. That night, Dana believes someone has entered her room. The nurse assistant, Trevor, checks the room for her in the morning but says no patients from this wing could have wandered in. When Dana insists a man is harassing her, she is assigned a psychiatrist, Dr. Stengel. As Steve insists the hospital staff take better care of her, Dana’s daughter, Gemma, explores the hospital, unaware that a ghostly figure has observed her. Ross Noble plays Dana’s nurse, Trevor, who quickly befriends her, but we’re soon left wondering if the friendship is all that it appears to be.
The first night after Dana wakes up from her coma, she senses someone is in her room, but Trevor assures her it’s not possible, as none of the patients on her floor are in any condition to leave their rooms. Yet every night, Dana finds herself menaced by a dark and mysterious presence that starts off unseen, but gradually it begins revealing itself as ‘Nails’, the ghost of a former staff member who killed himself after murdering five children. With Nails appearing only to Dana, she learns how difficult it will be to convince her skeptical husband and the hospital administration of the danger she’s in, for fear that they will all declare her insane.
Nails follows a narrative structure with most of the terror coming at night while our protagonist spends her days trying to figure out a way to end it. In terms of quality, these sequences are literally night and day. The set-pieces in which Dana is harassed by the eponymous demon are quite effective, thanks in no small part to Macdonald, who really sells her characters unenviable predicament. Nails himself is an effective combination of special effects and makeup and is a nice change from the derivative demons of most low budget horrors. Bartok’s tracking camera exploits the dark recesses of the hospital corridors.
Nails himself is a decent horror creation even though you can smell the desperation of a “new franchise icon” right from the moment he is revealed, which was way too early for my liking as it rid the film of the mystery that is sorely needed. Tension and suspense play a long way into making a successful horror movie and by letting us see Nails so early, I was already guessing what was going to happen in the third act, when instead I would have loved to have been alongside Dana, wondering just what was making those noises. Well, I’m not going to tell you anymore since the rest is simply solving the mystery of Nails, so you’ll just need to see it for yourself. I can recommend this film and I’m sure most will like it well enough, if only for a one time thrill.
Release Date: June 16, 2017
Runtime: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Drama
Studio: Mpi Home Video
Starring: Shauna Macdonald, Steve Wall, Leah McNamara
MPAA Rated: NR
Directors: Dennis Bartok
Reviewed by: Mad Hatter
Our Rating: 3.2 /5
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