Anthony DiBlasi Walks Us Through Last Shift

Last Shift

We here at Dread Central recently had the opportunity to speak with director Anthony DiBlasi, whose latest fright-flick, Last Shift (review), was recently released on DVD. He filled us in on the inner-workings of the film and just what he’s got up his sleeve for his next project – read on and enjoy!

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DC: Anthony – give us the lowdown on the film: how you came to direct it, its premise – the whole nine yards!

AD: I’d directed two other films with Scott (Poiley: co-writer) that he was a producer on, and we made Cassadega in Michigan together. We did those for bigger budgets, and I came to him specifically wanting to do something that was non-stop, traditional, scary – something that’s really meant for an audience that will creep people out, and I’d love to do it for a really small budget and have it really contained. It’s about an officer all alone in a dispatch station, and I really wanted to utilize sound design, which would be a major component of the film. So we went out and found a police station that was abandoned in the area, and we were able to lock it down before we wrote the script, so we wrote it around that police station – it was a really great experience doing it that way, and that’s how it all came together.

DC: In the film there are instances of Satanic activity, claustrophobia, and a ton of jump scares – what is it about this movie that’s going to scare the crap out of people?

AD: I think the main component of it is that you’ve essentially got one character that takes you on a journey, and you’re in her point of view through the entire movie, and I think that helps a lot for viewers to just settle in and experience everything as she does. Every corner that she lurks around, there’s something waiting for her, and it’s always in her point of view – is it just playing with her mind, or is this a full-on haunting? It’s a really important element of the film, just keeping that momentum going for a fresh experience.

DC: Julia Harkavy in the lead role was just fantastic – how did you manage to keep her on edge during the filming? She looked legitimately freaked out in a number of scenes!

AD: Whenever I set up scares, I do like to keep an element of surprise for the actors, so it’s usually like it is for the audience – a bit of misdirection. I love working with actors, and I love being open and upfront with them, but at times I like setting them up for things they’re not expecting – that’s when you get true reactions from things they haven’t seen before. If you’ve got a really good actor like I did with Julia, she’s experiencing every moment as if it were real, so me adding that extra layer of reality to it really sent her over the edge.

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DC: When you start directing a film, who do you look to for inspiration?

AD: I think this film in particular draws influence from John Carpenter, and for horror fans, he’s one name at the top of the heap, and he’s on the same level as Martin Scorsese. They’re both true auteurs and have a style that you can see through their work. John’s really on the same level as Martin, and I hope that someday he gets his due because of the films he’s made and brought to the world. It’s funny, because people in horror or sci-fi never really quite get that respect that you would as if you were in another genre of cinema, but he’s definitely a director whose work I really admire.

DC: Lastly, what’s coming up next for you on the work slate?

AD: I just did a film called Most Likely to Die, which is a 90’s throwback slasher, and it had its world premiere at FrightFest this year – it stars Heather Morris from “Glee,” Perez Hilton, and Jake Busey.

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