Last Shift movie full length review - Like a good hot sauce, starts out sweet but carries a kick that stays with you
Judging on the cover image, I didn't know what kind of film to expect from this. Will it be another cheesy possession movie? A bad monster movie with decent creature effects but no plot? A difficult to follow ghost story?
It turns out it was a mix of the best parts of all of these. Starting out the film sets the obvious mood. A rookie cop alone in an old creepy station for the night obviously is not going to end well. It sets the mood much like a classic John Carpenter film would make you constantly check behind your sofa. The ominous fluorescent lighting with its occasional flicker illuminates just enough of the hallways to spark our leading lady's curiosity and send her to investigate the shadows.
Juliana Harkavy's performance really improves throughout. She shows little emotion for the first half of the film, even with the monstrous images being flashed before her. I questioned her acting because of this at first, until she breaks down emotionally at about the halfway mark, I can attribute this to her being a cop that is trying to keep her cool in a stressful situation.
As the cliché'd creepy events transpire of loud bangs, mysterious homeless men wondering around, and phantom phone calls, you start to think that is just one of those instances where a director said "I'm going to make a horror film just to make a hour film." But once the special effects makeup, mind bending cinematography, and interesting plot details are presented the film begins to take a quick turn in the right direction. The disorienting came angles and motions, paired with the seemingly non stop climb of action leaves the viewer feeling uneasy and genuinely freaked out. All this build up leads to what seems like a possible salvation for our main character in a timid soft spoken officer who came to check on her. Their conversation seems like a slight break in the bombardment of scares but the viewer can quickly figure out that something just isn't right. This leads to one of the best jump scares that I have seen in a very long time and made me and each of my roommates cringe in our seats.
The way the director reveals the underlying reason behind what is happening in this police station is very clever, using flashbacks to police interrogations, context clues in the hallucinations seen by Officer Loren, and the context clues she receives through the phantom phone calls and her ghostly visitor.
For how little breathing room the Diblasi leaves between the action you would expect this movie to get tiring. But the mood and environment actually lends this directing style some credit. The viewer feels like they are stuck in this police station and instead of becoming exhausted in an annoyed way, their exhaustion is an empathetic response to Officer Loren's experience.
This films builds and builds all the way to the end. You think that there is an easy explanation to what has been happening to our rookie cop, but the truth of it all eventually leads to her demise. You really aren't sure what to think at the end, but I can promise that the final shot will stick in your mind for a few nights.
Much like Jacob's Ladder, this film takes you on a psychological ride that makes you question yourself as much as what you are seeing on screen. For those who get excitement in calling the ending this would be the film for you. If this film is a testament to Diblasi's talent as a director, then his filmography is the next collection I will dive into wholly.