Review: ‘Last Shift’ Delivers Creepy Imagery but Can’t Stay Away From Genre Cliches







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Posted October 7, 2015 by

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Officer Jessica Loren (Harkavy) is a rookie cop whose first task is to look over a police station on its last night as its transitioning to a new building. What she thinks will just be an uneventful evening of walking the empty hallways turns into a living nightmare. Unbeknownst to her, a young Manson-like cult leader, John Michael Paymon (Mikel), and a few of his followers, committed suicide in the building a year before after carrying out brutal attacks on civilians and now haunt the station. It doesn’t take long for things to start happening to Loren that would scare the hell out of just about anyone. Can she make it through this building’s last shift, or will she just be another victim?


I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting into when I started this movie. I figured it would be a typical horror movie that I hadn’t heard about for good reason and hoped that there would be enough interesting scenes to keep me watching until the end. What I got was a well produced flick that looked amazing but fell flat when it came to the story. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve seen it time-and-time again, but I find myself getting increasingly annoyed when characters in horror movies repeatedly make decisions that no sane person would. There’s a scene where Loren is walking down a hallway and when she turns to look into one of the rooms, chairs are scattered all over the place. A loud noise at the other end of the hall momentarily attracts her attention and when she looks back into the room, all of the chairs are piled on top of each other. Loren begins laughing and saying, “Good one, guys. You got the rookie. You’re messing with me,” as if in the second she looked away they were able to stack the chairs that high and perfectly without her noticing. Despite paranormal activity going on all around her — voices, figures, etc. — Loren continues to return to her chair in the office, turning her back to the doorway behind her. When a police officer does show up to check up on her, she doesn’t even think to tell him of what’s going on. I don’t know about you, but if apparitions were taunting me and following me around, I may just start telling the first real person I see.

Throughout the shift, Loren is fielding a call from a young girl named Morgan. She says that the cult is after her and she is doing her best to escape. She’s scared and Loren understandably wants to do everything she can to help her. Once the ghosts scare Loren enough to cause her to wait outside, the phone rings just as she’s leaving and without hesitation she runs right back into the haunted building. Maybe that’s what would make me a terrible cop: I wouldn’t pick up your phone call if the building was trying to kill me and I had finally escaped.

For the most part, Harkavy’s acting is actually pretty good. For someone who I had never seen in a movie before, she was captivating, believable, and likable. She just suffers from a script that constantly has her make bad decisions while completely ignoring every terrifying thing that’s going on around her.

The imagery in the film was pretty strong. DiBlasi did a great job at not just throwing scary images in your face, instead leaning on their ability to be creepy by showing flashes of them in backgrounds, using lighting to illuminate them and then causing them to disappear, or having subtle wounds that let you know they weren’t what they appeared to be.

Last Shift is better than a B-Horror movie, but it fails to keep itself from falling into horror cliches we are all tired of. While it had promise, it ultimately left me feeling like I had already seen this film before which is a letdown because DiBlasi clearly has a talent for creating unsettling imagery, which is what I desperately want more of from the horror genre.





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