Movie Review: Last Shift (2014)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 2014 supernatural thriller starring Juliana Harkavy and Joshua Mikel.

Synopsis: A rookie police officer reports for her first night on duty and is assigned to stand guard in a closing police station and wait for a hazardous waste removal team to arrive and remove items from the evidence room. As she begins what should be an easy albeit boring shift, she encounters a variety of strange things ranging from a mysterious homeless man to a female caller who repeatedly dials the police station asking for help.

Review

This movie has been available for some time on Netflix and, even though I've considered watching it in the past, I have, ultimately, chosen to avoid it because, at least based on the description, it honestly sounds like a movie that will either rely too heavily on the blood and gore or turn out to be a soft core porn film. However, my wife and I were looking for something to watch last night and, after narrowing our choices down to a couple different films, we ended up finally picking this movie. And, as it turns out, it was actually a pretty decent thriller.

There were a couple things I found I really liked about this movie. The first was the setting. Normally, I wouldn't think of a police station as being overly scary as far as locations go. But, an abandoned police station proved to be a surprisingly good choice. The place just felt haunted, even before anything bad began to happen.

The other thing I liked about this movie is the way it kept the viewer in the dark. Not only were the evil spirits shown in quick glances (something that always makes a movie creepier because it makes it difficult to find flaws), the reasons behind the haunting were revealed in small chunks. This does, at least for a while, make you wonder if there really are ghosts or if there's something else going on, such as the police officer (Harkavy) having psychological issues or maybe some sort of sick hazing ritual.

In fact, as the movie progresses, it manages to create quite a bit of confusion about what is being done by real people, what is supernatural in nature and what she is simply imagining.This, again, helps the film by making it difficult to figure out what is going to happen next.

My only real complaint about this movie is it does leave some things unexplained. For example, I'm still not sure if the homeless man she encounters (LaRose) was real or the result of supernatural mind games. Plus, her supervisor (Hank Stone) was visibly (and violently) upset over something when we first saw him but the movie never explains what that was about. Neither of these really detract from the overall movie. But, it would have been nice if these things were explained better.

Final Opinion

I had some doubts about this film when we started watching it but it turned out to be a pretty decent thriller. I would recommend taking the time to watch it if you get an opportunity to.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 12/28/2015, StevenHelmer
 
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