Last Shift (2014, Anthony DiBlasi) Review
Starring: Juliana Harkavy, Joshua Mikel, Hank Stone
As the horror genre is now soaked in predictability and lousy jump scares, Last Shift is here to remind audiences that there are still existing films that manage to unease the viewer without relying too much on loud noises and true-based events. With a fairly low budget, Last Shift takes a look at the possibilities of a rookie cop trying to go through a night shift by herself while evil forces are at play. It isn’t the most original concept, and some of the events that happen in this film have been butchered to death, but for what it is, this film is a tense nightmare that has extremely disturbing imagery and a decent performance by its lead, Juliana Harkavy.
With clever camera work and jarring creature design, director Anthony DiBlasi is able to provide that tense feeling one gets when one peers into obsolete darkness, or hears an unnerving sound in the night that shouldn’t have gone unnoticed. Yes, there were still some jump scares (with half of them that should’ve been removed), but the way the film plays with the viewer through the lighting and sound design is actually cunning. The scene with the ghost girl still gives me chills up my spine even after viewing it. I wouldn’t say this film is unpredictable, and the setting of an abandoned police station at night could’ve been explored more creatively in terms of scare factor, but for a film that doesn’t glorify obnoxious jump scares, Last Shift is still worth a go for someone who needs a good horror fix.
In all, Last Shift is a decent horror film, the true standout being the unnerving atmosphere and Harkavy’s performance, who still acts and talks like a rational human being in spite of the situation she’s in. For a low budget indie film, the creature design is disturbing and unpleasant enough to watch on the big screen whilst not being too gratuitous nor graphic. It’s still predictable as far as horror movies go, but this film left me with a feeling of dread even after seeing it, a sign that it’s a good cut above most average horror films.