Anyone who has been following the site since its inception knows that Roger and I have some conflicting thoughts when it comes to certain films. For instance, he thoroughly enjoyed The Babadook, while I disliked it very much; He loves all things Troma whereas I… well, let’s not even go there. The point is, whenever we discuss a new film that we’ve watched, I have to be aware of these differences and understand that just because he really liked something, doesn’t necessarily mean that I will and vice versa. There are those rare occurrences, however, when he and I do agree on a film. This happens to be the case with the new supernatural horror flick, Anthony DiBlasi’s Last Shift.
Officer Jessica Loren (Juliana Harkavy) is assigned to the last shift at the soon-to-be shutdown police station for her first night on the job. What was supposed to be an easy, quiet night on the job quickly turns into a living nightmare as the rookie cop falls victim to visions of ex-cult serial killers, The Paymon Family, and their numerous victims.
Judging by the cover for Last Shift, formerly known as Paymon The King of Hell, I knew I was in for some pretty wicked stuff. I didn’t know, however, just how terrifying this experience would be. This film is overflowing with jump scares, which normally could be seen as a ‘cheap’ way to get fans to experience fear during a film, but this technique is utilized perfectly this time around. These unexpected frights are a perfect fit with the film’s overall atmosphere, keeping the audience at a constant level of suspense the entire time. Last Shift wastes no time at all getting into the real scares either; Within the film’s first 10 minutes, our vulnerable protagonist already begins to experience some pretty eerie stuff.
Random sounds and a strange derelict showing up are just the tip of the iceberg for Jessica and even the viewers of the film though. Things progressively get worse as the film rolls, leading me and my two friends with whom I watched Last Shift with to wonder why Jessica didn’t attempt to leave the station a lot sooner than she did. All I know is the first time I see three masked killers hanging from the ceiling of the holding cell I’m watching, I’m out of there!
Anthony DiBlasi did a wonderful job not only directing the film, but also writing it, as well. The script is refreshingly original and highly effective. What truly makes this film as terrifying as it is is all of the great efforts put in by the special effects team, sound designers, and Foley artists. Lee Grimes’ practical effects look as good as I’ve ever seen on film and Tara Blume’s squishy, gushing, gross sound effects really do a great job of making the hairs on the back of your neck stand to attention.
In addition to the impressive sights and sounds of Last Shift, the entire [small] cast did a great job. While most of the screen time is given to Juliana Harkavy as Officer Loren, everyone from Officer Price to the Paymon family members managed to keep the integrity of the film intact, never making me think, “Oh great, just another indie flick.”
If you’re looking for a truly original horror film, Last Shift is for you. I suggest watching it alone, in a dark room to get the full effect. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. The film is available now on Blu-ray or DVD from Magnet Releasing.
I give this one 4 911 calls out of 5.