“Late Phases done just enough to keep things interesting.”
by Nav Qateel
Blind Vietnam vet, Ambrose (Nick Damici), moves to a gated retirement community with the help of his put-upon son. The first night in his new home and after hearing strange noises coming from next door, Ambrose and his dog are attacked by a mystery creature. His neighbour has been mauled to death, and because his dog’s injuries are so severe, Ambrose is forced to put the mutt out of its misery. There are more deaths within the community, and it doesn’t take long for Ambrose to figure out it was a werewolf that attacked him. With 30 days until the next full moon, he prepares to fight back with silver bullets and a shovel.
The previous film from writer Eric Stolze and director Adrián García Bogliano, was the less than brilliant Under the Bed, but their latest effort Late Phases, is definatly a step in the right direction for the creative pair.
Werewolf movies are comparatively thin on the ground beside vampire or zombie flicks. In fact, good werewolf films are pretty rare indeed, with William Brent Bell’s Wer being about the best example of this genre that’s been out in some time. While Late Phases isn’t a particularly polished film, it certainly had its moments. This is one of those films where the lack of a budget came through loud and clear, but with more money to spend on the werewolf effects, Late Phases just might have been a superior film.
Nick Damici as the blind and grumpy Vietnam veteran, Ambrose, was easily the highlight of Late Phases, with the writing coming in a distant second. Ambrose was actually a thoroughly unlikable character, yet for whatever reason that I can’t seem to figure out, it worked within the context of this film. He was downright horrible to everyone he met, other than one character he meets at the opening, and eventually even his son Will (Ethan Embry) had enough of him. Embry played his part well enough, as did the ever reliable Tom Noonan, who played Father Roger.
The idea of the old noble warrior making a last stand against the savage werewolf, is certainly a great idea worthy of exploration. However, only nailing one half of that concept, didn’t help their cause. The werewolves looked comical most of the time, which was a pity after Bogliano done so well building up tension and doing many other things right. Ultimately, it’s all about the entertainment value of a film, and on that score Late Phases done just enough to keep things interesting. It’s worth watching once if you’re in the mood for some lycanthrope action, just keep your expectations sufficiently low.