The series only just passes the acid test, mostly because it entwines with dark comedy and feels original.
This review of Netflix K-Drama series The School Nurse Files season 1 contains no spoilers. The series was released on September 25, 2020.
We recapped every episode — check out the archive.
After watching I’m Thinking of Ending Things in the oddest year ever, I didn’t think anything else could challenge my brain as much as that film. However, a complacent mind is always surprised — Netflix landed The School Nurse Files, a 6-episode K-drama series ready to watch in a single batch. For once, Netflix has opted to release this all at once, presumably because it doesn’t clash with a network TV schedule.
I wish I could give you a summary or an overall premise for The School Nurse Files — at various points, I questioned my sanity and questioned whether or not I was having a bad day — my poor, brain-fatigued self had to recap each chapter and make sense of it all. In a nutshell, the story follows a school nurse named Ahn Eun-young who experiences extremely surreal paranormal activity at the school she works at.
The opening of The School Nurse Files contextualizes the world that the lead character sees — it presents to the viewer jellies; it’s highly quirky seeing the world in Ahn Eun-young’s eyes — the jelly represents her version of events; it comes in various forms of negative and positive energy. Only she can see the jellies and the evil that lurks in her school. The character always holds a multi-colored sword that lights up and seemingly gives her powers to bat the jelly away.
Now if my paragraph above makes you feel that either I am bonkers or the series is then you are absolutely right; The School Nurse Files opts to be abstract as possible, indulging in Ahn Eun-young’s view on life and her experiences. The story goes in plenty of different directions; some absurd and others that are emotionally compelling. The series is directed with an independent mind; it was not made for a mainstream audience and it even shows in the edit sometimes; there are some unusual choices.
You almost get the sense that The School Nurse Files thinks it’s more special than it actually is; if you were going to sell the concept to someone, you’d highlight that Ahn Eun-young is a full-time jelly monster fighter. When you put it like that, it feels like it is worth a watch. The series only just passes the acid test, mostly because it entwines with dark comedy and feels original.
But as a recommendation, maybe park The School Nurse Files until your mind is ready for a spectrum of unearthly scenes or you might find it easy to switch off, give up and move on.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.