Occasionally, I enjoy watching lesser-known horror movies. I browse through them, select one, and watch it. About 90% of them turn out to be mediocre, but I still have a liking for those mediocre horror films. Most of them have a sense of humor. However, in that remaining 10%, some magnificent works can emerge. “Last Shift” is one of those exceptional works. Since I usually watch these types of movies with zero expectations, I am genuinely impressed when I come across a truly well-crafted film. Despite taking place in a single place, “Last Shift” provides an extraordinary 1.30-hour experience with its exceptional art direction and relentless suspense. The fact that this film is an underdog is evident: the film’s trailer has only been viewed by one million people. Around 2015, a year when horror films were generally average, I confidently placed “Last Shift” on my list of the best horror films of the year. In fact, this year, there are only two films that I could confidently include in my list: “It Follows” and “Last Shift.”
Let’s briefly touch on the plot… Jessica Loren starts working at a police station and begins her first day as the night shift officer. The last police officer hands over the patrol to Jessica and leaves the station. Being alone in the station starts to make her uneasy. After a while, the phone rings, and the caller informs her that she will be killed and that she needs help. However, the caller hangs up without giving Jessica any information. Along with the phone call, the fantastic night at the station begins. The station suddenly turns into a chaotic rumble. Doors open and close by themselves, prisoners come and go, objects seem to exist but then disappear, and much more. Everything starts happening to drive Jessica to madness. The small station transforms into a building full of tension.
Although the film has a somewhat clichéd ending, it cleverly incorporates it in a way that you can’t even anticipate falling into the cliché. Since the suspense progresses without pause, you lose track of what’s happening after a certain point. The screenplay is highly successful in this regard. Juliana Harvaky, who portrays Jessica, also delivers a magnificent performance. Director Anthony DiBlasi also deserves praise; he is a true horror film director. His career includes horror films like “Dread,” “Cassadaga,” and “The Profane Exhibit.” However, none of them are as successful as “Last Shift.” I can confidently say that with “Last Shift,” he has created his best film in terms of directing and screenplay.
Let me give you a couple of small tidbits of information: The Paymon family featured in the film is derived from the mythological figure Paimon. Paimon is a demon and one of the kings of Hell. It is written that he commands an army of hundreds of demons. Throughout the film, Jessica is disturbed by various entities. Likewise, the “SOW” inscription in the movie refers to the female pig. As you know, police officers are often referred to as “pigs” in America.
The film’s art direction is a masterpiece, just like its suspense. They have put a lot of effort into it. Despite the minimalist design of the elements causing tension in the film, I personally found it chilling. I consider it quite successful. It is evident that the director drew inspiration from many films for his work, and he has done an excellent job of spreading those influences.
In short… Last Shift was a horror film I watched with zero expectations and thoroughly enjoyed. It is packed with action in every frame. Except for the stagnant scene in the middle, which can be considered a breathing moment, there is tension in every second. The screenplay is good, the cinematography is good, the sound design is good, and especially the art direction is impressive. If you feel like watching a top-notch horror film in the dead of night, “Last Shift” is the perfect choice for you.
Cast & Crew
director: Anthony DiBlasi
writers: Anthony DiBlasi, Scott Poiley
starring: Juliana Harvaky
USA | 2014 | 88 MINUTES |