The Nurses of Blackchapel

Directed by Richard Paraiso | Review by Antonio Rozich

Insanity – the leitmotif of cinema! Obvious and at the same time the theme that makes us wonder. What’s so intriguing about the human mind that makes it a potent theme of any art, cinema included? Maybe it’s the fact that we can never reach the end of this vast universe – the impossible venture to come to the final point of human mind. And maybe it’s the personal element we all share – the curiosity of who we are and who we aren’t. Whatever it may be, the mind is a wonderful place filled with happiness and horror, beautiful spring flowers and pools of stanching blood. The Nurses of Blackchapel by Richard Paraiso is another testament to this fascination – the attempt to visually present both the beauty and the beast.
 
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The everlasting trial-and-error approach to efficiently present human mind through a visual/sound medium has spawned many ideas. The obstacle of discovering a technical tool to achieve the desired effect was conquered long since. Nevertheless, there’s always that one small corner left unexplored and filmmakers who manage to take the most out of the unknown are the ones that get rewarded. The Nurses of Blackchapel is an excellent example of a film that manages to successfully present the human psyche right from the beginning. The uncomfortable feeling where you never know what waits at the next corner is achieved with excellent camera usage and sound manipulation. Yes, at the beginning you’ll get that recognizable feeling you got from many other similar movies; but as the story progresses, you get more and more sucked into something you might not have signed up for.

The story takes place in a mental institution and you guessed it right, the protagonist is a mentally sick individual. What’s interesting is in an institution filled with mentally ill patients and healthy medical staff, the patient is the one that seems most comfortable being there. Throughout the film, the doctors and the nurses are the ones who are constantly “at the edge of their seat”, while the patients, well, they have their own secret plans you’re not supposed to know. It’s extremely interesting when you give it a bit of thought. In a world where the sane are supposed to cure the insane; the sane are the ones who are treading the path towards what they are trying to exterminate. Exactly this fact is what makes The Nurses of Blackchapel so fascinating and scary to watch. Sometimes it isn’t the sane mind that has the upper hand. And I’ll take a wild guess and say that you, like me, prefer to think you belong to the “sane group”.
 
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With each scene, the thin line between the polar-opposite sides of human mind gets blurred. You begin to wonder if the doctors are mentally disordered while the patients are the ones who are, ironically, mentally stable. Because who’s more balanced? The person who’s moving towards the desired goal, no matter if it’s intentional, or the person who’s petrified because they can’t know what the dawn of the next day will bring? As the story moves on you are less and less sure, until you start to doubt your own sanity. And that’s the reason why The Nurses of Blackchapel is a film worth watching. Because it takes the horror and implements it straight into your mind.

 

Antonio Rozich is a seasoned copywriter and the chief editor for Cult Critic – meaning, if you’re a filmmaker you’ll either love or hate him. Besides his usual copywriting, he also helps filmmakers with their screenplays by editing them and finding the ways to improve the initial filmmaker’s idea. When all of that is done, he turns to his true & original love: writing flash fiction filled with philosophy, life and cake metaphors.