Runtime: 95 minutes
Release Date: November 14, 2014
Director: Adrián García Bogliano
Ambrose (Nick Damici, Mulberry Street) is a former Army veteran moving into a new retirement community after the death of his wife. His son, Will (Ethan Embry, Vacancy) arrives to help his father. Within just a few short minutes, we learn that Ambrose is blind and that he and his son had some problems in the past. Will thinks his dad was never there for him as a kid and believes his dad got over the death of his mom too quickly.
Not long after arriving, he meets his neighbor Delores and finds scratch marks with something trapped inside on his wall. Delores tells him that it looks like a claw before Will runs over and takes his dad back home. Later that night, Ambrose hears something outside. That something bursts through his door, attacks his dog, and then runs over to the house next door. We later learn that it killed both his seeing eye dog and Delores.
Though this might make some people run for the hills, Ambrose becomes devoted to the idea of finding out exactly what happened that night. When he learns from the veterinarian that they routinely get calls about a wild animal in that community every month, he becomes more obsessed. That leads him to seek out answers from his neighbors and suspecting that Father Smith, a local cigarette smoking priest, might be behind the attacks.
I haven't seen a good werewolf movie in a long time, and I wasn't expecting much from Late Phases, which was a cheap rental at the local rental store. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised at how the film played out. This is easily the best werewolf movie I've seen in a long time, and a lot of that is because of Damici. He does an amazing job of playing a man who is blind but can see more than anyone else around him. The way he walks around the sets and interacts with other characters makes you forget that his character is blind.
There is also some great acting from secondary and background actors as well. If you ever wondered what Ginger from Gilligan's Island looks like today, now is your chance. Tina Louise pops up in a few scenes as one of his neighbors. Dana Ashbrook (Twin Peaks) turns up is what is basically a glorified cameo role as the only man in town capable of making bullets and getting you illegal guns. Though he's only in the film for a few minutes, he did a great job with the role.
I also have to give it up for Embry. His acting in Late Phases makes me wonder why he isn't getting more work today. Will is married and starting a family with his wife but stuck between caring for his dad and being a dad himself. That leads to him questioning himself as to why he should take care of someone who never took care of him.
Late Phases also had some truly great FX/makeup work. There comes a point where we eventually learn who is responsible for the attacks in the retirement community. The character begins transforming, which leads to the character's skin coming off as the werewolf finally comes out. It almost felt like the whole film led up to that single scene.
There are a lot of low budget flicks out there and a lot of werewolf movies, but Late Phases is easily one of the best I've seen in a long time.