Sunday, November 29, 2015

Phil's Horror Watch: LAST SHIFT (2014) from Magnet Releasing-November 29, 2015

LAST SHIFT Blu-Ray (2015)
Starring: Juliana Harkavy, Joshua Mikel, J. LaRose, Sarah Sculco, Kathryn Kilger, Natalie Victoria, Mary Lankford Poiley
Written by Anthony DiBlasi & Scott Poiley
Cinematography by  Austin F. Schmidt
Edited by Anthony DiBlasi
Produced by Michael Finn, Melissa Gruver, Andy Henry, Mary Lankford Poiley, Scott Poiley, Steven Shea
Directed by Anthony DiBlasi
Released by Magnet Releasing

Independent horror films can be hit or miss. There's a lot of outstanding ones out there that challenge the ideas and conventions of what a horror film could be while others are just as bad as the ones from the major studios. But those films made by filmmakers that want to tell something different are so interesting to watch because of their low budgets, they must be more creative and imaginative to tell their stories. A great example of this is the newly released film from Magnet Releasing entitled LAST SHIFT.

The film's official synopsis: Rookie police officer Jessica Loren (Juliana Harkavy) has been assigned the last shift at a closing police station and must wait for the Hazmat team to come pick up bio-hazard waste from the station's armory. But unbeknownest to Jessica, cult leader John Michael Paymon (Joshua Mikel) has haunted the department since he and his two followers Kitty (Sarah Sculco) and Dorthea (Kathryn Kilger) committed suicide a year ago to date. And now, Jessica is about to find out how dangerous they can be when she's left alone of this last shift.

Theatrical Movie Poster (2014)
Director and co-writer Anthony DiBlasi does an exceptional job of creating genuine chills and terrifying scares. Even with his low budget, he is able to take his one and only location and create a sense of claustrophobic doom that awaits our rookie heroine. DiBlasi grabs our attention by employing some of the oldest tricks in the book to scare us: strange noises and sounds, flickering lights, unsettling musical score and supernatural suspense. His directing style slowly unfolds the story fluently, all the while we're forced to witness Jessica's traumatic experience of her very first shift, which if she's not careful, could very well be her last.

Actress Juliana Harkavy first became well known for her portrayal of Rebecca in the DOLPHIN TALES films, but to genre fans she's best remembered for playing Alisha in the AMC series The Walking Dead. Here, Julianna is able to showcase her acting capabilities more in this her major starring vehicle. We witness her character development and growth in her performance as Jessica but then halfway through the film she begins decent into paranoia as her sanity begins to slip away. Her believability, vulnerability and fear is outright horrifying to watch as we become so emotionally invested in her that we cannot look away from the screen. An outstanding tour-de-force performance from Miss Harkavy!

And Joshua Mikel channels his inner Charles Manson to conjure up his portrayal of the psychotic and evil John Michael Paymon. His performance is really quite disturbing and very, very convincing. I got chills whenever he came on the screen. Just a really fantastic job from Mikel! A little trivia fact for you: the working title during the making of the film was JOHN MICHAEL PAYMON before the filmmakers decided to change it to its current title.

LAST SHIFT is a perfect example of how independent filmmakers are breathing new life into the horror genre! The film will get under your skin and will stay there until its gory, terrifying and unsettling conclusion! An indie masterpiece of contemporary horror cinema! 4 out of 5 stars!! Definately worth viewing!!

LAST SHIFT is currently available on both Blu-Ray and DVD at your local retailer. It's also available to stream on Netflix. To learn more about upcoming released from Magnet releasing, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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