A father faces the disappearance of his wife and daughter in Joseph McGee’s thriller, The Last Stop. Jake (Martin Monasterski), Dawn (Kayla Kohla), and their daughter, Jasmine (Abigal Friend), are on a family road trip in the mountains. Just before heading onto the long winding road, the trio takes advantage of the last rest stop to freshen up. Soon, Jake wakes up from a quick nap only to discover Dawn and Jasmine have vanished.
When the police are called, the video footage shows that no one left the family van. Jake’s therapist, Dr. Shepherd, informs Detective Rinaldi (Mario Carneiro) that Jake has been suffering delusions about his family he lost years ago. Jake swears this is not true, but the physical evidence says otherwise.
So let’s state the obvious: The Last Stop is a low-budget DIY short. The audio is a bit uneven. There’s a hole or two in the plot, and I sorta wish some of the camera composition pushed the boundaries of indie filmmaking a bit. All these complaints are pretty standard for no-budget, DIY films.
“…Jake wakes up from a quick nap only to discover Dawn and Jasmine have vanished.”
What the film lacks in the production budget, it more than makes up in pure gumption that only indie filmmakers possess. McGee has access to a liquor store in a small mountain town and a sizable cast of supporting and background actors to tell his story. Plotwise, the film is far-fetched but no more than your typical studio thriller. However, I like that the story is willing to take risks, most of which pay off.
The Last Stop is a nice little thriller, and with its forty-minute runtime never overstays its welcome. Yes, Big Hollywood could have thrown a few million into this project. However, the advantages of low-budget thrillers are that the filmmakers, cast, and crew are constantly looking for ways of solving problems and creating mystery in their performances and production that big-budget production takes for granted.
The Last Stop is not a perfect film by any means, but it has the fun and spirit we want from an independent production. I’m certain this will not be the last production from McGee. My only piece of advice is to smooth out the editing and pacing. Audiences want to go on a roller-coaster ride, and the fewer bumps along the way, the more enjoyable the thrills.
For more information about The Last Stop, visit the McGee Productions website.
"…has the fun and spirit we want from an independent production."