Last Shift transports an almost classic ghost story into modern times and avoids the trappings of today’s horror movies almost completely. Here we get no shaky cam, no found footage, no long-haired girls creeping around, and no excessive violence. Instead, the movie uses the abandoned police station as a classic haunted house, where scary stuff can wait for you in every corner and behind every door. Because we only have one protagonist for almost the entire movie, we are a lot more involved than in a standard horror movie. We learn the layout of the precinct while watching Jessica discover it herself, and when the scares begin to build up, we always know where we are in this building.
The movie doesn’t waste any time with useless exposition. One phone call between Jessica and her mother starts the movie, and then we know all we need to about her family history. After just the first 5 minutes and a short meeting with an older police officer, Jessica is alone in the building and the haunting begins. From this point on, there’s not a single boring minute in Jessica’s first shift. It starts with some flickering lights and strange noises, and soon parts of the furniture are moving by themselves, a strange homeless guy and other creepy figures appear, and, closer to the end, violent attacks on the girl ensue.
Director Anthony DiBlasi, whose debut Dread (2009) did a great job scaring the audience with a “less is more approach,” has learned a lot in the 5 years between these two movies. Last Shift is more condensed and focused, and the timing of the numerous scare scenes is perfected. The interwoven mystery is interesting enough to keep the viewer guessing what will happen next, and the ending is close to perfect.
Juliana Harkavy, who had a little role in the fourth season of The Walking Dead, has to carry the whole movie almost by herself, and, even if she doesn’t give an Oscar-worthy performance, she really does a good job. Of course some of her character’s choices of action aren’t really logical, but we are still in a ghost movie here. If the protagonist of any classic ghost story would simply leave the house after the first strange things happen, we wouldn’t have The Spiral Staircase (1945) or even The Changeling (1980).
I’m now in my early 50s and a horror fan more than 45 years. I’ve literally seen it all, and it takes a lot to get me invested in a scary movie with more than just the analytical part of my brain. Bringing me the old “hide behind a cushion” feeling is almost impossible, and the only scenes that can still make me really sick are those in which real gore is presented, like the infamous turtle scene in Cannibal Holocaust.
Last Shift grabbed me by the throat after just a few minutes and never let me go. My eyes were glued to the screen, and the few gory scenes really got to me because they were unexpected and perfectly executed. This is perhaps the first horror movie really worth this label that I’ve seen this year—and believe me, I saw a lot of movies. Fire up your Netflix (U.S.) and prepare to be creeped out.
- Hauptkategorie: Kritiken