The School Nurse Files Review: A Gloriously Demented Netflix K-Fantasy

The School Nurse Films, which just premiered on Netflix, is a glorious slice of insanity. A high school nurse can see supernatural creatures menacing the students and has to fight them off with a plastic toy sword and a BB gun, as you do. The title does not tell you that this is not a documentary. Or maybe it is. Who knows? Either way, this is the most gloriously demented new show on the streamers, and it could only come from Korea.

The School Nurse Files is a Gloriously Demented K-Fantasy!
Jung Yoo-Mi in "The School Nurse Files", Netflix

Jung Yu-Mi, previously seen as the pregnant wife in Train to Busan, plays Ahn Eun-young, the nurse of a high school who can see auras and the supernatural creatures that linger around people. Called "jellies". They look like giant, evil emoji or animal candy. And they can take people over and make them hurt themselves. That's when Eun-young has to beat them up with her plastic sword. All hell breaks loose when the new Classic Chinese teacher Hong In-pyo (Nam Joo-Hyuk) unwittingly breaks a seal that unleashes the evil that was kept prisoner in the school. Now they have to fight the jellies that only she can see. He thinks she's nuts, she's completely off-kilter, which is a romantic comedy meet-cute right there, and the fact that he has a special unique aura and can recharge her energies after she's drained makes her need him in the fight. As the school nurse, it's her job to keep everyone safe and healthy, damn it!

Think a Korean Buffy with a skewed female perspective that's aware of how inherently absurd it all is and not afraid to snark about it, but also embrace it completely. The supernatural creatures are called "jellies". They're like giant evil candy. That says it all about this show. Either you're with it or you're not.

The School Nurse Files is a Gloriously Demented K-Fantasy!
"The School Nurse Files" key art, Netflix

Adapted from the novel by Chung Se-Rang by the author and director Lee Kyoung-Mi, one of South Korea's up-and-coming female directors, School Nurse Files has a goofy, gleefully nutty energy with a lot of hilariously berserk setpieces involving supernatural combat against jelly monsters. Surreal social satire and Korean slapstick comedy abound. Jung Yu-Mi is the centre of the show with her deadpan performance as someone who considers menacing supernatural creatures only she can see as a major annoyance rather than cosmic horror or unspeakable peril. Nam Joo-Hyuk complements her as a bewildered comic foil and reluctant partner in the war against the jellies. At six episodes, there's no slow-down or bloat in the show's pacing, and it ends leaving you wanting more. It's a burst of adrenaline-laced bubblegum pop that's exactly what we need right now.

The School Nurse Files is now streaming on Netflix.

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About Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist who just likes to writer. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.
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