Directed by Thomas Smith
Written by Thomas Smith
Starring Khristian Fulmer, Erin Lilly, Soren Odom, Jordan Woodall
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Fans of recent spoofs THE LOST SKELETON OF CADAVRA and ALIEN TRESPASS may want to seek out THE NIGHT SHIFT. Though this film plays things a bit straighter than those two homages to 50’s monster films, THE NIGHT SHIFT has the same embracement of its low budget and love for the genre. The characters in THE NIGHT SHIFT also have that kind of 50’s innocent mentality where our hero Rue Morgan, an undead graveyard caretaker, only wants a date with his boss, Claire, but with the undead rising and causing all sorts of trouble, it’s hard for that to happen.
I couldn’t help but think of other films like DEAD ALIVE which THE NIGHT SHIFT seems to strive to be despite its more modest budget. Or even CEMETARY MAN, which basically has the same premise, but takes itself much more seriously than this one. This isn’t a bad film. Quite the opposite. It actually is pretty charming in the way it approaches the characters in such an innocent manner without making fun of them. The acting is decent, though it seems everyone knows what kind of movie they are in. And though the effects aren’t the best, it matches the 50’s movie tone pretty well.
Where THE NIGHT SHIFT falters is that the version I saw clocks in at around 2 hours, which is way too long. This film is in post production, so I’m sure a lot of fat will be trimmed. I found myself looking at my watch a few times toward the end wondering when things would wrap up. I think an hour in the editing room with a machete and some good whiskey would do this film right. There’s a good film in here, despite the similarities to other films. It’s in good company with THE LOST SKELETON OF CADAVRA and ALIEN TRESPASS, two films that jokingly poke at the goofiness of horror without putting it down. THE NIGHT SHIFT does the same in a charming and fun way. I was rooting for Rue Morgan and his skeleton sidekick Herb to save the day and get the girl. And though hardcore horror fans may scoff, I think there’s room for all kinds of takes on horror in this genre. THE NIGHT SHIFT is for those who can laugh at how silly this little horror genre can be.