Last Shift on DVD

Tuesday, 19 January 2016 00:00 Written by 

Last Shift - now available on DVDA rookie cop is assigned caretaker duties at a defunct police station on its final night before closure. Office Loren (Juliana Harkavy – The Walking Dead, “Dolphin Tale”) is led to expect a quiet night with no calls or visitors. The reality is a little different, and before long she is assaulted by all manner things that go bump in the night. The old facility has a particularly nasty history and it is seeping into the present.

Playing a little like a supernatural version of “Assault on Precinct 13” combined with “The Evil Dead”, the film feels simultaneously innovative and derivative. The clean and brightly-lit station provides a welcome change from the traditionally grimy cabin in the woods or dilapidated asylum settings featured in other films of this ilk, and the contrast when the lights go out is all the more stark and effective.

On the down side, there is an unshakable sense that we have seen this all before, and whilst Harkavy puts in a very solid performance as the rookie with far more guts than you might give her credit for, the escalating procession of creeking pipes, moving furniture and alarming phone calls fails to shock for the most part.

The direction by Anthony DiBlasi (“Dread”, “Cassadaga”) is competent and I found myself praising the refreshing lack of wonky camera angles. Despite the common horror trappings there are still some effective scenes. My favourite moment sees Loren trapped in a pitch-black holding cell with a mysterious tramp; during a scuffle Loren drops her flashlight and when it comes back on she realises the hobo is not the one holding it. The light is too bright to enable us to make out what is behind it, and when it goes off, the noises emanating from the wielder are too terrible to formulate an image.

The production design, make-up and effects are all well done, and the fleeting glimpses of monsters throughout the first half help to stave off over-familiarity with the nasties lurking in the station.

The pacing is fine until about half-way through, whereupon it falters a little before picking up again and then sprinting in the final ten minutes. With a bit more variety or a few more characters or sets to spice things up a bit the film could have been a real success. As it is, “Last Shift” sadly falls into the ‘nice try’ category.

There are no special features on the disc and the image quality is pretty good for DVD.

“Last Shift” (2014) is out now on DVD, courtesy of Matchbox Films. The main feature has a running time of 85 minutes approx, carries a ‘15’ certificate and retails for £15.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com

Last modified on Thursday, 21 January 2016 18:44

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