Directed by: Anthony DiBlasi
Starring: Juliana Harkavy, Joshua Mikel, J. LaRose
Rookie police officer Jessica Loren is tasked with taking the last shift at decommissioning police station and wait for a hazmat crew to arrive and remove biomedical evidence. As the night draws on, Jessica learns that the building still contains some deadly secrets, and she finds herself battling a satanic cult which has strong ties to the precinct...
Last Shift is a film which tells a rather timely, pertinent story underneath the terror it exudes.
This is a fun house ride extraordinaire, into which we enter with our protagonist, young rookie Jessica Loren. Loren has become a police officer in order to honour the memory of her dead father, a decorated officer who was killed during a raid on a Satanic Cult's compound.
As the film starts, neither our protagonist nor the audience have any clue as to what's in store. There's no spoilery prologue to lead us in. This in itself helps to ramp the tension, as we have no idea where the threat is going to come from.
Last Shift starts slow and build steadily. Strange phone calls, furniture being moved, and a vagrant suddenly appears inside and urinates on the floor. There are some neat camera tricks, seemingly unedited, where the camera drifts over some objects then slowly pans back to show they've suddenly been messed with (such as in the locker room). Slowly, things start to get worse, and Jessica starts to learn the truth about the satanists' arrest.
The camera-work and editing are first rate here. The focus is always on or around Jessica for the whole running time, so we share her experiences and discoveries. Nothing is telegraphed in advance, and no detail can be overlooked or taken for granted.
A film such as this succeeds or fails on the ability of its central actor, and Juliana Harkavy totally succeeds in sucking the viewer into the story. Our protagonist is a trained police officer and never fails to act like one. She gets scared, terrified even, but allows her training to help her through. One of my favourite scenes in the film is when she is confronted by another cult member looking to celebrate the passing of her leader.
Everything about this film is first class and designed to make your skin crawl. The special fx work is pretty gruesome, moreso than your more generic horror film, and the design of the "masks" are really unsettling when you see them. Even the dialogue from the cultists, talking during police interviews about the people they killed, is full-on nasty.
Last Shift is a unique, intense horror film, that really works as a funhouse ride. Its by turns spooky and terrifying in equal manner and will definitely get under your skin.
8 out of 10 (MikeOutWest)