Ah, so close Last Shift, so close.
Jessica is a rookie cop feeling the pressure to honour her father, who was also a cop & killed while on duty. Her first assignment seems like an easy & quiet one if not a bit boring. She has the night shift, the last shift (ah-ha, see what they did there!?) at a station that is being closed down.
After being briefed by the crabby, Sargent Cohen she is left to look after the place on her own. With all 911 calls being re-routed to the nearby new station (hence the closure of this one) Jessica is in for an uneventful night.
Her only task is to allow the Hazmat team in, who will be in at some point in the night to clear out the evidence that is ‘difficult’ to dispose of. For most of the night Jessica reads her book & tries hard to not fall asleep. That all changes though when she receives a 911 call from a young woman who is terrified & claiming that she is being held hostage by some sort of cult.
Then things start to get weird around the station, doors open & close by themselves, her radio picks up ghostly singing & she begins to see bloodied figures at windows & by doors. Considering what she sees she sure manages to hold it all together even up to the point where she believes she is being pranked by her colleagues.
Totally believable, right? Except this comes directly after an entire set of chairs gets rearranged in under 4 seconds Poltergeist-style (the kitchen scene if you’ve seen the movie). I know it was under 4 seconds because I counted so shocked was I by her denial of something so obvious.
Now the argument could be that she was so desperate for a rational explanation at this stage that she wanted to believe she was being pranked. It’s a valid argument but one that isn’t backed up by the acting on display unfortunately. This one scene doesn’t do Juliana Harkavy (Jessica) justice as up to this point & afterwards she is extremely watchable.
The story gets pretty convoluted as we learn about a cult that worshipped the King of Hell (the dude was ousted by Satan). They kidnapped women & murdered them before being caught. The group hung themselves in their cells which so happens to be the station that Jessica is currently in. Not only that but her father was killed by the cult during their arrest & they swore vengeance on everything the arresting officers loved.
Oh & this last shift? It’s also happening exactly one year since the cultist committed suicide.
We learn most of this information from the, totally-not-a-prostitute, that Jessica meets around the back of the station. She is so convenient for the plot but considering how much information had to be dropped you can’t help but be grateful for the clarity!
Visually the film is a treat with some good scares (actual tension built scares & not just loud noises & jump scares) that keep you on your toes. It’s ending is particularly good with a fun twist that will leave you feeling a bit cold.
The film could have done with a few more subtle moments, such as an early reveal regarding another policeman that didn’t need to be done until much late. It would have had much more impact but you have to admire the confidence the creators had in their imagery to do many of their scares in well light rooms!
It’s a damn fine ghost movie & one that draws inspiration from a number of interesting sources (in particular the Manson family). It’s well acted, dark & violent enough to keep most horror nuts interested until the end. A little more subtly & a bit less story (that sure sounds like a strange complaint but once you’ve seen the film you’ll see what I mean) & this would a movie worth raving about!
Well worth a look.
The Final Score - 8/10
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