Late Phases – A great performance hurt by a pedestrian werewolf flick
Written by: Eric Stolze
Directed by: Adrián García Bogliano
Ambrose (Damici) is a blind Vietnam vet, who has pretty much reached a point in his life where he has had it up to here with everyone. To make matters worse, his son Will (Embry) moves him into Crescent Bay, a retirement community in up-state New York. He is immediately bombarded by the unwanted greetings of over-friendly neighbors and local church staff, but it is the vicious attack by a hairy, smelly beast that kills his dog Shadow that really makes Ambrose angry. He spends the next month obsessively preparing for the next attack and trying to sniff out who might be the human form of the assailant.
This one was a bit of a head scratcher for me. I really enjoyed the performance by Damici. He does a perfect grumpy, tough as nails old man. Coupled with a pair of good supporting performances by Tom Noonan and Ethan Embry and a pretty original take on the genre (a lycanthrope menacing a retirement community) and you’ve got yourself a thoroughly enjoyable movie, right? Not so fast.
I have a couple of issues with this film, and they are somewhat significant ones. One: the creature itself. I guess maybe “An American Werewolf in London” and “Dog Soldiers” have ruined all other werewolves for me. The ones here are more likely to make you giggle than cringe, and that right there takes the scary element out of “Late Phases”. So, we are left to focus on the dramatic aspect of the film. Fine. I can deal with that. Oh but then there is the “Big reveal”. It is, to put it nicely, not the most jaw dropping thing ever. I found myself thinking “Okay….and?”.
I dunno… I guess it was okay, but I expected more. I enjoyed Bogliano’s “Here Comes the Devil” and was exited to see that he was doing a werewolf movie. In the end though, it was only okay. Maybe worth picking up if you are a huge fan of the genre. Otherwise rent it if you are in need of something mildly entertaining and not to scary.