Night Shift // Checking In or Out?

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I recently read some complaints that there were too many, new horror movies. That couldn’t be any of you because you’re reading this and you’re a person of exquisite taste. And who needs that negative energy? We are here for all the new horror and Night Shift has a little something for all of the genre fans.

The All Tucked Inn

Gwen Taylor (Phoebe Tonkin) is new to town and finds work at an outdated motel. Motel owner and manager, Teddy Miles (Lamorne Morris) quickly assigns her the night shift. After a brief tour and assigning her duties for the night, Gwen is left alone to handle the business. While tending to rooms, she meets the only current guest, Alice Marsh (Madison Hu).

The motel is old, the Psycholevel taxidermy decor needs to go, there are rats running amuck, and there’s a sinkhole in the pool that sucked out all the water.  If they take the time to show you something like a sinkhole, you know it’s going to come into play later. Most frighteningly, Gwen is seeing ghosts.

We Don’t Rent By the Hour

First of all, A+ for vibes. Excellent use of a one location setting, and the score, the writing, and mood are playful and mischievous. The cast is small and superb. Teddy is charismatic and welcoming. He has hopes to modernize the motel and he’s quick to assuage Gwen’s fears and questions about safety. Alice is darling and Gwen quickly bonds with her after the discovery that they are both running from something. However, I can’t help but feel selfish for wanting more screen time from both Teddy and Alice. They are both incredible actors and their characters are extremely likable.

On the other hand, Gwen has a couple of asshole guests that added a little extra spice to the night. Patrick Fischler is spectacularly douchey and I wanted nothing more than to smack him around. Thankfully, Lauren Bowles takes care of that for us. Above all, Gwen alone, must get through the night shift and Tonkin embodied this character.

Get it together, Gwen

From the moment the motel is left in her charge, it is apparent that Gwen is running from something and is extremely paranoid. She has a mysterious background and has been in town for only a day. She reveals that she feels someone is following her and there is a strange car lurking nearby. There are interesting clues all around and Alice has stories of the motel’s haunted past. Ultimately, it is up to us to decide if these things are a figment of her imagination.

I can see the frustration some might have with the storyline. Some tropes might be overdone but the plot felt fresh with small injections of more exciting reveals. The conclusion is almost predictable but it’s definitely more entertaining than I had expected. The film blends the paranormal with the psychological and it works well as a slasher/thriller. The epilogue was playful and it has a sweet runtime of only 82 minutes. Who could ask for more? Did I forget to mention that Night Shift is the directorial debut of brothers Paul and Benjamin China? The writing duo had me glued to my screen and I am looking forward to their next big project. It had a limited release in theaters but is now available to rent or buy on-demand.