REVIEW: “The School Nurse Files,” Pure Madness Or An Experimental Masterpiece?

“The School Nurse Files” welcomes viewers with eccentricity and abstract concepts from the get-go as it opens the series with the main female lead’s peculiar childhood consisting of melting humans, palms with traces of slime, and lots of questions waiting to be answered.

The series centers around a school nurse named Ahn Eun Young (portrayed by Jung Yumi) who can see manifestations of different kinds of thoughts, desires, and emotions in the forms of “jellies.” Not all jellies cause harm, but when they do, Ahn Eun Young sets out to eliminate them. Armed with a BB gun, a toy sword that lights up when “charged,” and various charms, the resident school nurse fights these “jellies” that only those with special abilities like hers can see. She eventually teams up with Chinese characters teacher and the grandson of the school’s founder, Hong In Pyo (portrayed by Nam Joo Hyuk), mostly due to his “special aura” that helps Eun Young recharge during her combats.

“The School Nurse Files” can be seen as is — two faculty employees trying to save their students from magical jellies that float around the school’s premises — or viewers could look at these jellies and the duo’s adventures as metaphors. As the jellies represent a person’s inner feelings, the audience could view their battles as overcoming regrets and pent-up anxiety. Or simply dealing with an individual’s inner monsters. As the series is mostly leaning towards a fantasy-adventure genre, “The School Nurse Files” was able to showcase emotions without having the need to add any over-the-top emotional scenes.

The lead stars, Nam Joo Hyuk and Jung Yumi, also exude undeniable chemistry despite their 11-year age gap. Nam Joo Hyuk was able to portray a seemingly mature-looking Hong In Pyo, who can be playful at times. While Jung Yumi’s quirky aura balances off her character’s sometimes odd personality. Their subtle romance gives their relationship a rather cute vibe.

All in all, Ahn Eun Young pretty much lives in her own world that’s similar to Wonderland — colorful, strange, seemingly dangerous, and curiously curious — but in a school set-up. And, unlike the Korean dramas most fans are used to, binge-watching all six episode feels more like watching a less-than-5-hour film while slowly falling down a rabbit hole.

The show is pure experimental madness — a Korean series combining British and American tones in a live-action adventure anime genre mixed with peculiar themes, but manages to still be both entertaining and refreshing at the same time. It’s a show that’s simply in between borderline bonkers and an absolute genius masterpiece.

“The School Nurse Files” can be streamed via Netflix.

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