19 September 2015 | quincytheodore
Amazing use of simple premise
It's a rarity for movies to use lone character in extreme predicament. This rings especially true for horror movies, since most of them focus on diverse victims to build up tension. Surprisingly, Last Shift creates a very menacing night with great pace, eerie sound effect, visceral practical effect and highly intense atmosphere.
The first night at the job for Jessica (Juliana Harkavy) is also the last night her old precinct is in effect. This old police station is scheduled for closure and it's been in tattered condition for what seems to be a long time. It's the kind of building one would find in Silent Hill, with the rust and all. Being alone in the cryptic place, Jessica soon finds herself in bizarre unworldly situation.
As the exclusive lead Jessica Harkavy performs admirably. While the movie has several supporting characters, many scenes revolve around her. She brings a good young personality as a police rookie, she also displays adequate composure which slowly fades as her mind is exhausted. There's plenty of good convincing reactions from her as well as slightly more desperate ones when the paranormal occurrences escalate.
The movie also employs many fresh scare tactics, these are not limited to jump scares alone. Without spoiling much, the horror comes from creepy attrition on the lone cop, sudden swings of tones or simply precise timing for haunting. This frankly took me by surprise, they are effective either by playing with audience's expectation so well or just creating frightening bursts of ominous apparition.
Visually, it's dark but doesn't venture too much into vagueness. The occasional glimpse is deliberate, making good use of shadow and light. Sound effects play important role too, there are multiple scenes where the trickling and humming pique enough curiosity to excellently create the atmosphere.
It's not without flaws though. Not every scare is spot-on, a couple of them are less effective, and the movie still uses some fast editing. However, they are just minor hindrance as the movie keeps a solid consistent pace and its finer moments easily overshadow these hiccups.
Last Shift is a pleasant surprise. Delightfully intense and utterly creepy, it's one of the sleeper horrors in recent years.