Set over one night in a dusty roadside diner, LAST STRAW follows Nancy (Belkin), a young waitress working alone on the late shift. As a series of chaotic events spiral out of control, Nancy finds herself in a fight for her life when she is terrorized by a group of masked assailants. No one is who they appear to be, and with nowhere to turn, she must do everything she can to survive the night.
Alan Scott Neal brings SITGES & Beyond Fest 2023 audiences a nasty small-town tale of terror in LAST STRAW. A stressed-out Nancy must manage a double shift at her father’s diner, confronting a group of local teens promising to make her night a living hell.
Following a confrontation in the diner earlier in the day, Nancy’s now solitary night shift turns deadly when a masked group turns up to terrorize her. The film starts with a bang, as close-ups of some goretastic aftermath flash across the screen. We already know we are in for some shit. Flash to 24 hours earlier, and we meet our leading lady, her father, and those who would become her tormentors throughout the film. LAST STRAW serves up a brilliantly structured screenplay by Taylor Sardoni. A shocking multiple narrative comes together, and it is chef’s kiss.
Jeremy Sisto plays Edward, Nancy’s father and diner owner. Sisto gives him a loving nature that grounds everyone else’s backstories. Christopher M. Lopes is Petey, Jake’s brother. His sweetness shines. Joji Otani-Hansen plays Bobby with a boy next door core. His pack nature clashes with his morality, making him a spectacular foil for so much of the male energy in the film.
Taylor Kowalski‘s sarcastic edge counters Nancy’s sass. Jake’s desperation and a fierce sense of protection for Petey fuels his rage. He is undeniably compelling. Jessica Belkin gives Nancy an attitude for days. Her dynamic badassery is something to behold. She is a brand ambassador for Final Girls.
The music is an epic mix of synth and girl punk rock. Tender Misfit’s song over the credits is perfection. Do not think you know what’s happening at any given moment. The style and tone shifts again and again. It’s a fresh and satisfying take on revenge horror and one superb debut for Alan Scott Neal.
DIRECTED BY Alan Scott Neal
WRITTEN BY Taylor Sardoni
ORIGINAL SCORE BY Alan Palomo (NEON INDIAN)
STARRING Jessica Belkin (American Horror Story), Jeremy Sisto (Six Feet Under, Wrong Turn) and Taylor Kowalski (Snowfall)
LAST STRAW marks the directorial debut of Alan Scott Neal with a script by Taylor Sardoni, a raw & relentless twist on the home-invasion thriller, starring Jessica Belkin (American Horror Story), Jeremy Sisto (Thirteen, Clueless) and Taylor Kowalski (Snowfall).
LAST STRAW is produced by Daniel Brandt (I Love My Dad), Bad Grey’s Dane Eckerle (I Love My Dad) & Cole Eckerle (Mother, May I?), along with producers Michael Giannone & Phil Keefe on behalf of AC3 Media, Levon Panek, and Sam Slater of Burn Later Productions. LAST STRAW will world premiere at Sitges Film Festival, followed by a North American debut at Beyond Fest in Los Angeles.
DIRECTOR Alan Scott Neal
WRITER Taylor Sardoni
CINEMATOGRAPHER Andrey Nikolaev
COMPOSER Alan Palomo (Neon Indian)
PRODUCERS Daniel Brandt, Dane Eckerle, Cole Eckerle, Michael Giannone, Phil Keefe
RUN TIME: 81 Minutes
SALES: Blue Finch Films