The Last Laugh is a high concept slasher film, that generally delivers on its promise but disappointingly pulls back at the last second, coming off as lazily written rather than clever.
Struggling stand-up-comedian Myles (Steve Vanderzee) is given a chance at breakout success, when his stressed out but loyal manager books him in a large theatre, for his biggest show yet, supporting Reggie Ray (Lowell Deo, channelling Eddie Murphy). Things get complicated when a mysterious figure with a comedy theatre mask begins killing the staff. Myles starts discovering bodies but decides to keep quiet as a top scout is in the audience, wanting to see if he is the next big thing. As Myles prepares to take the stage, he is increasingly on edge, reliving the death of his girlfriend and dealing with the deadly killer.
Despite some wooden acting and poor scene coverage (a couple of characters are introduced in a wide shot, so you struggle to connect with them), director and writer Jeremy Berg does a great job of focusing your attention on the mystery at hand. The killer looks great, there are some delightfully gruesome practical effects and Myles moral descent is enthralling. We are also introduced to an intriguing ghost story concerning ‘Laughing Linda’. On one hand you accept that Myles doesn’t deserve stardom and on the other you want to see if he can deliver a good performance. A lot is put on the table to feast on.
Endings are always difficult and this one really lets the film down. In a slasher film, such as this, you are wondering if its supernatural, the protagonist themselves or a character you aren’t expecting. Unfortunately, The Last Laugh delivers nothing, leaving the viewer only half full.