Sunday, May 22, 2016

Film Review: Last Shift (2014)

Last Shift is, by all measure, a modest film. As a mystery horror that places a young policewoman in an empty precinct that is going to be abandoned the next day, it creates an environment that is perfectly suited for losing one’s mind in a violent manifestation of demonic madness.

Directed by Anthony DiBlasi, who already made and produced several horrors, Last Shift demonstrates as his strong suit an effective pre-production process and budget management.

The key location of the film is at the same time its only location. The single empty police station could be any communal building, from a DMV to an administrative office belonging to a high school.

Yet, the film does not feel “cheap” in any way. But, through the trials and tribulation of the main character, Jessica Lorren, a rookie policewoman who got her first job to guard the building for one night, the audience buys into the fantasy of a menacing place.

DiBlasi’s veteran status allows him to do this, even though many other elements seem too weak to make the film really believable. One of them is Juliana Harkavy who plays Jessica in a very meek way: to work, a movie like Last Shift has to have a strong lead and Harkavy just doesn’t have what it takes.

The script is also very generic and takes us places where we been many times before. The same problem is especially underlined by fresh and unique horrors like It Follows, which were also created with a small amount of money, but ended up being a lot more engaging. However, no one could call Last Shift a complete waste of time for a horror film. In many ways, it is the setting that pulls the most weight for the movie. This is enforced by the way that DiBlasi uses the camera to infuse the bland space with dread and tension.

Because of this, Last Shift is a modestly entertaining film for any horror aficionado. If you’re not one of these, feel free to take a pass for something like It Follows.