I’ll admit I had no faith going into this flick. But color me impressed when Sykra Entertainment’s first feature Last Shift turned out to be a solid and effective horror effort from writer/director Anthony DiBlasi.
See the trailer here:
Rookie officer Jess Loren (Juliana Harkavy) is charged with working the last shift at the old Sanford police station before it closes its doors forever. While stationed there, strange happenings begin to occur and it soon becomes apparent that something evil is in the station with her. Could it be the spirits of a murderous family who committed suicide in the holding cell?
It’s always nice to see a supernatural horror film that delivers solid chills and genuine tension. Many times I found the hair on the back of my neck standing straight up. DiBlasi chooses to draw his scares out as opposed to just inserting a few jump scares and calling it good. The scares and tension are made stronger by a heavy atmosphere of dread; right from the get-go, it is clear that things are not as they should be. It constantly feels as though something is going to come slithering right out of the shadows and engulf everything. While Last Shift does have a few cliches, they don’t detract from the overall product. Some, thankfully, are even unexpected.
Of course, scares and tension only work if the performances are solid. Juliana Harkavy proves she has the acting chops to carry a movie – she’d have to seeing as she’s basically the only character here. The other actors are fine in their small parts, especially the Paymon family (Joshua Mikel, Sarah Sculco, and Kathryn Kilger) who deliver just the right amount of crazy to make them feel real and not over the top.
I love it when practical effects are utilized. Call me a curmudgeon, but I cannot stand when blood splatter or muzzle flashes are achieved by a computer. Give me blood packets and blanks any day of the week. However, it has to be said that the blood does look a bit dodgy at times, mainly because the right consistency isn’t achieved.
If Last Shift could be said to have a major fault, it would be the ending. While some of us have no issue with ambiguity in horror films, others are not so forgiving and demand that everything be wrapped up with a neat little bow. The latter group might very well trash the entire movie just because of the ending. Personally, I had no issue with it.
Last Shift is a stand-out modern horror film that should definitely be seen. It demonstrates that Anthony DiBlasi is a superb director and a talent on the rise. Packed with scares guaranteed to rattle your nerves, Last Shift is one shift you won’t want to work alone. Recommended.