Late Phases (2014) Movie Retro Review by Darrin Gauthier

Director: Adrián García Bogliano
Writer: Eric Stolze
Stars: Nick Damici, Ethan Embry, Lance Guest

Plot:  When deadly beasts attack from the forest, it is up to a grizzled veteran to uncover what the residents of a secluded retirement community are hiding.
Running time: 95 minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 71%   Audience 43%

Why I watched it: So this one I can’t blame on Netflix. I got an itunes gift card and of course being me I went looking for Horror films and I did what I call bin diving when you go searching for titles that are smaller and that I might have missed.  So I saw this title and I had heard good things when it came out but it wasn’t on Netflix so I jumped on the chance to watch it.

Thoughts: This film gets an award for random casting, Nick Daminci is a genre vet, he’s also a writer, Tina Louise is from Gilligan’s Island, Dana Ashbrook from Twin Peaks, I hadn’t seen Lance Guest in a dog’s age and I didn’t even recognize him.  Also it stuck me this is kind of the same set up for Bubba Ho-Tep, different monster and tone though.

What I liked: I liked the tone a lot this is played totally serious and has stakes, it’s not tongue in check at all.  So it’s not a spoiler cause it’s on the poster this is a werewolf movie and the film pretty much sets it up from the jump.  Once Daminci’s character goes to the retirement village the plot goes into motion right away, we know from the 10-15 minutes mark that it’s a werewolf movie.  After the first attack then the film becomes a slow burn, Daminci goes with the fact that he’s dealing with a werewolf yet he really doesn’t tell anyone cause of course no one will believe him.  One plot point I should point out is the lead is a war vet and blind, and yes both play into this.
The acting is pretty good across the board not great in some of the supporting roles but all the lead characters are good and they get some good moments.  The film does take time to flesh out characters and also give the actors room to breath, there’s a couple of nice talks between Daminci and Tom Noonan who plays a priest.  Ethan Embry is Daminci’s son and even though he doesn’t have a lot of screen time he’s good here, he’s a very underrated actor and he doesn’t a lot with a stock character. Nick Daminci does good work here cause he has to cause this character isn’t that likable, a man held down by his past as a solider and he’s closed off and that’s tricky to play, he almost comes alive because he has a purpose and that’s killing the beast/werewolf.

What I didn’t like: The werewolf suit was bad, and look I get it this was a low budget film and I liked they went practical but it looks like a man in a fuzzy jumpsuit and it does take you out of the movie.
It looked like they were going to make it a mystery of who the werewolf is but before the third act they just reveal it and not in the big reveal way.  Also the third act, or the final battle gets kind of crazed, things are revealed and the main werewolf just starts biting the other older people so he could have an army?  Not sure they through that at us and we’re left not knowing how many werewolves there were.  Also cause Daminci seems to be determined to die, not a spoiler he says it a few times, the ending and the stakes are lowered and again he’s not that likeable so even though there is tension I wasn’t afraid for him cause he seemed not to care.  So with all that factoring in the ending wasn’t great.

Final thoughts: This was a well made horror film, for the budget they did pretty well to come up with a different twist on an old story, having the lead guy be blind/old/war vet did make him different, this wasn’t a horror film about teenagers this was older people with stories to tell.
Rating: 6/10

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