‘The Good Nurse’ on Netflix shocks audience with horrifying true story (Spoilers ahead!)


Photo contributed by Netflix

‘The Good Nurse’ features the serial killer Charles Cullen and the fellow nurse; Amy Loughren, who suspects him. The film is based on the 2013 true-crime book of the same name by Charles Graeber.

Tobias Lindholm’s movie, “The Good Nurse,” begins with an ICU nurse from New Jersey, Amy Loughren (Jessica Chastain) and her struggle to find affordable care for her life-threatening heart condition. The story delves deep into her relationship with her kids and shines light on the struggles of her hard work as a nurse. Loughren eventually meets her co-worker, Charles Cullen (Eddie Redmayne), and they gain a genuine friendship as he helps her deal with her debilitating disease. Unbeknownst to Loughren, Cullen had been killing patients by administering a fatal dose of insulin into their IV bags. 

 “The Good Nurse” has an eerie feel as we watch the process of how the man believed to be America’s most prolific serial killer gets caught. Not seen in the movie, Cullen confessed to killing 40 people, but the number of his victims has been thought to be as high as 400. 

Oscar winner Jessica Chastain’s performance as Amy Loughren was phenomenal. She perfectly captured Loughren’s fear as she came to the realization that her co-worker and friend is a serial killer. 

“The Good Nurse” has an eerie feel as we watch the process of how the man believed to be America’s most prolific serial killer gets caught.

— Liora Perkins '25

Additionally, Eddie Redmayne as Charles Cullen was chilling, to say the least. He embodied the energy of an insecure psychopath while also adding layers to his complicated character, as he was gaining a friendship with Loughren and her children. 

The overarching theme of the film was the failure of the healthcare system. The system failed as it enabled Cullen to kill innocent and sometimes even perfectly healthy patients. When detectives Danny Baldwin (Nnamdi Asomugha) and Tim Braun (Noah Emmerich) from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office show up asking for access to a possible victim’s body, hospital officials inform them that the patient has already been released to their family and cremated. Due to the clear withholding of evidence from the hospital for the purpose of their own self-interest, detectives were not able to gain enough probable cause for arrest even after credible suspicions of Cullen arise. And this is how Cullen was able to get a job at nine different hospitals over the course of 16 years. 

If you don’t like a movie with a slow pace, this movie may not be for you. However, I think that the slow pace was necessary in order to get the full impact of how Loughren felt as she slowly uncovered the horrifying information that her co-worker and friend had been killing their patients right in front of her unsuspecting watch. 

The only aspect of the film that I found slightly disrespectful to the victims was the fact that they were not humanized enough. Again and again, in films about serial killers, victims are portrayed as supernumerary. I would enjoy the movie a lot more if victims were more respected and actually characterized. 

I did like though that the movie rightly credited Loughren for her role in aiding in the arrest of Cullen. Her heroism stopped Cullen from potentially killing more victims as he had just gotten a job at his 10th hospital right before he was caught. 

Overall, I definitely recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys scary films with some aspects of drama. The actors gave convincing performances of Amy Loughren and Charles Cullen and succeeded in giving the film a sinister feel as the story unfolded. I would rate “The Good Nurse” a 4.5 out of 5 stars.