Synopsis: Dana Milgrom is hit by a car. During her hospital stay, she’s tormented by the ghost of a nurse that used to collect little girls’ fingernails. Just when you’ve relaxed into the story the entire movie has set up, he becomes a zombie.

Year Released: 2017

Director: Dennis Bartok

Rating: Meh

Horror Ratings

Movie Pitch:  A movie written about that weird roommate you had in college that collected his nail clippings in a jar

Favorite Death: The main character for sure. Nails, the bad guy, ends up killing her by slightly choking her, then levitating her up to the ceiling and banging her against some walls until she’s dead. This death makes no sense considering that while during the death before this, Nails ate the nurse.

Funniest Part: Right before Trevor the nurse dies, he’s watching himself through the webcam on his laptop. He’s not confused as to why the camera turned on or anything he’s just sitting there with a dumb expression on his face. From behind him, he can see the filing cabinet move and Nails climb out from inside the wall. In real life, the file cabinet stays still. We’re led to believe that this whole thing takes place through the webcam until Trevor turns around and is eaten by Nails.

What they did right: There were a few solid jump scares, the production value was high, and for the first time, we learn the backstory of the bad guy!

Special effects and lighting: Special effects are relatively believable, though there aren’t much in the film. Lighting is alright. Mostly dark but bearable.

With the opening credits, we’re introduced to who we later learn is Eric Nilssen, a nurse that collects the fingernail clippings of his patients. His patients all turn out to be young girls. He feels that they are suffering and becomes known as the “Angel of Mercy” for killing the girls under his care.clip

At this point, I was nearly crying tears of joy. This is the first movie I’ve reviewed (aside from Red Christmas) that details the backstory of the main villain. Now we have a reason to be scared of the guy, even if he gets confusing halfway through the movie and goes from ghost to zombie.

Once the movie starts, we meet Dana Milgrom. She’s a regular woman that loves to do yoga and exercise. This is all we learn about her personal life aside from the fact that she’s married to a man that had been married once before her, and she has a daughter.

On a run one morning, she’s stuck by a car. The car drives off, and we learn later on in the movie that the paramedics took 24 minutes to show up. In that time, she was apparently dead.

Through a series of miracles that had to have been performed by these paramedics, Dana is taken to the hospital. She’s hooked up to a ventilator, feeding tube, and has to go to the bathroom in a bag. She has also lost the ability to speak, so she has to communicate with a keyboard thing that speaks for her.

nails_still-16One night she sees a figure in her room. She tries to tell everyone she sees, but is told she’s seeing things. Yet, once she becomes more insistent, the hospital staff decides to hook up cameras so she can see who is coming and going from her room.

You would think the monitor for these cameras would be somewhere hospital staff could see. For example, on the desk of the receptionist stationed right outside of Dana’s room. But no, instead Dana holds on to the monitor and uses it like, once.

Throughout the rest of the film, she finds out that she can see Nails because he’s a spirit. She has access to the spirit world because remember the time she died for 24 minutes?


As she continues to tell the nurse and director of the hospital about her visions, she’s believed less and less. There are several attempts to keep Nails from getting to her from the closet he lives in but none are successful.

Dana is married and has a daughter named Gemma. While she’s in the hospital, some woman is “helping with Gemma.” We never really discover whether or not her husband is cheating on her or Nails overtook her computer and showed her what she feared was happening, but either way, the husband character is a dick. Gemma, on the other hand, believes her mom and helps her escape at the end, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

So, while Dana is being terrorized by Nails, she learns that he was a nurse that killed little girls and collected their fingernails. She also meets a strange psychologist who shows up in her room one night in the exact manor Nails does. This, you might think, means he’s creepy and can’t be trusted. Like me, you might think he has insight into why Nails was the way he was or that he might have something to do with the plot. Guess what. He doesn’t. In the end, he dies just like everyone else and is never revealed to be anyone.

On top of this, the director of the hospital is also creepy and mysterious but also has nothing to do with the plot or story of where Nails came from.

I thought maybe the director and the psychologist were Nails’ parents and were keeping his spirit alive in the walls of this crumbling hospital in an effort to stay closer to their son. But no, he was just some creepy guy that killed little girls.

tubeInserting this here because I don’t know where else to put it: this movie features a lot of medical things; mainly the ventilator tube Dana uses to breathe.

My mother was a respiratory therapist and when I consulted her about breathing tubes, she confirmed my suspicions that this movie did absolutely no research about what having one is like.

And now, a short lesson on breathing tubes

While you have a breathing tube, you are able to breathe on your own. These kinds of tubes (trach tubes) are used to ween people off of ventilators. This means the scene where Nails kinks the tube and “suffocates” Dana is impossible. In the same vein, the tubes are hard and solid, therefore unable to kink at all

There is also a valve that is activated to help those with trach tubes talk. Although Dana was being fed through a tube and didn’t need to have the valves switch between eating and speaking, I highly doubt that she would have been able to articulate and jolt around like she did in this movie.

Alright, now you can all graduate breathing tube school with flying colors.

Close to the end of the movie, the movie tries to throw in a plot twist. They find a file on Dana from when she was hospitalized as a child. Apparently, she had meningitis and was sent to that hospital at the same time Nails was working there.

As a child, I was also hospitalized for meningitis and I nearly died. This begs the question why is it that Nails didn’t kill her as a child? He killed little girls that were sick because he thought he was being merciful. Meningitis would certainly be life-threatening.

I understand this is supposed to be a plot twist, but it just falls through and doesn’t make any sense.


At the end of the movie, Gemma helps Dana escape by removing her breathing tube and IV. She wheels her towards the exit in a wheelchair but they’re stopped by Nails. He kills the psychologist, then moves slowly towards them, taking the time to pause so Dana can save her daughter and exchange goodbyes. He then levitates her up to the ceiling and bangs her around the walls until she’s dead.

Then that’s it. Gemma is spared and the movie ends.

Overall, this movie was okay. It kept me interested, had a few interesting jump scares, and actually had a backstory. I give it a Meh.

Last Week’s Review: Bye Bye Man

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2 thoughts on “Nails

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