Available to stream on Tubi!
LAST SHIFT (2014)
Directed by Anthony DiBlasi.
Written by Anthony DiBlasi & Scott Poiley.
Starring Juliana Harkavy, Joshua Mikel, J LaRose, Natalie Victoria, Sarah Sculco, Kathryn Kilger, Mary Lankford Poiley, Randy Molnar
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I knew absolutely nothing about this film upon going into it and was subsequently knocked on my ass at the mood, ambience, and pants-shittingly scary moments LAST SHIFT is filled with.
A rookie cop named Jessica (Juliana Harkavy) is assigned to guard the last shift of a closed down police station. But as the shift goes on, strange and paranormal things begin happening linking to a horrific series of event that occurred in the past at that very police station.
Simple, succinct, and precise: that’s what this film is in the way it is set up and executed. This is a simple alone in the house story, but LAST SHIFT is done with so much ambiance and attention to light, lack of light, sound, and the absence of sound that it really does assault your senses as Jessica tries to make her way through the labyrinthine station and find out just what the hell is going on. Unfolding almost like a first-person shooter video game, we are on the shoulders of Jessica the whole way through, taking every tentative and terror-fueled step with her.
This film would have fallen apart had the wrong person been cast as the lead, but Harkavy exudes the right amount of grit and innocence to really convince you that she is both a dedicated cop, but also way out of her depth. Jessica is the daughter of a police officer, and through very few lines she is able to communicate the weight she carries to follow in her father’s footsteps. Little beats such as the way Jessica recites the officer’s code when she is entering a particularly terrifying hallway or dark room give you just enough insight into this character who is trying to be tough but experiencing the most terrifying night of her life. Harkavy is definitely someone we are going to be seeing more of, as this is an impressive debut for her. She is pretty much the sole person in this film and the center of attention the entire time.
But there are other creatures in this “abandoned” precinct, and the imagery are truly terrifying. While there is a sort of SILENT HILL vibe going on, the film really does a lot with very little, such as bloody bags over the faces of hanged corpses, the sound of creaking bones as a ghost crawls up from behind, and the pentagram-carved face of the Manson-like killer. This is a film filled with images that will disturb and haunt you.
Paired with the haunting imagery is director Anthony DiBlasi’s expert use of wide shots to symbolize Jessica’s isolation and use and absence of sounds. The film really does everything it can to pull you into this station along with Jessica. It’s a film where those too afraid to watch the screen will have to somehow cover both their eyes and ears as both senses are masterfully taunted and haunted in this film.
This is a simple premise, sort of like an ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 by way of REC, but it is truly excellent in terms of building tension and delivering bone-rattling scares. I highly recommend LAST SHIFT to be placed on your must see list, as it is the type of sleeper hit you’ll be grateful for finding…that is, until the lights go out and you try to go to sleep afterwards.
i liked a lot this movie when I watched years ago? Do you know some other movies with the same vibes?
I liked the hallow, Jane doe autopsy, tonight she comes, the void, feast, triangle, the midnight meat train, 😬
There’s a new movie out called Malum that I just reviewed that has the same vibes. Same director. I also loved another movie from that company called Hunt Her Kill Her. Also check out Baskin. Great descent into hell movie.
O liked baskin too, I’ll check the other two, thanks!!
Huge props for getting this review inconjunction with Malum. Besides an intriguing (yet simple) logline I’m a looking forward to comparing, to see the filmmakers growth, to try an understand the reasons why for the reboot an on an on.
I’m shocked that it took me 9 years to get to this film. What a wonderful experience and young filmmakers could learn a ton from this movie. Don’t have the budget to put the special effects on screen? Make up (no pun intended) the difference in sound design.
Goes to the well one too many times with some repeats but a tour de force lead performance by Harkavy who is in every shot and needs to carry the entire film on her shoulders.
an absolute worthwhile highly recommended viewing. I can’t wait to see Malum