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Late Phases: The Old Man and the Werewolf

August 7, 2015

Late Phases movie poster

Late Phases tells the age-old story of a blind Vietnam veteran battling werewolves that are terrorizing a retirement community. The independent horror film is refreshingly heavy on practical effects and creates a neat atmosphere of paranoia, crankiness and suspense. I love that there is never any doubt about the werewolves (aside from the dumb cops) and the film plays out like Grumpy Old Men met Gran Torino and The Wolfman happened.

What I appreciate most about Late Phases is how straight forward it is. A cranky widower named Ambrose (Nick Damici) is moved into a retirement community by his harried son and his overbearing wife (stereotypical turds). A werewolf kills his seeing eye dog and the cops think it is a wild animal attack (of course). The threat of mauling via demonic creature inspires him to start working out, finding silver bullets and prepping himself for the next attack.

Late Phases werewolf creature

What follows is a tidy 90-minutes that introduces several compelling characters and builds to a blind battle royale between man and beast. Ambrose figures the werewolf attacks are from a local so he goes about getting to know his neighbors and local church goers. It is fun to watch as this old man practices sharp stick work in his front yard Roadhouse style while the elderly inhabitants watch on in confusion. He isn’t the nicest fellow and is prone to pulling guns and sassing women but I’m not a blind Vietnam vet who lost his dog so I can’t really blame him.

Director Adrian Garcia Bogliano does a good job with the werewolf carnage but the majority of the human interactions never feel real because most of the characters are archetypes. Damici carries the film on his surprisingly ripped old man shoulders and his blind acting comes across naturally and not forced. Damici was very good in Stakeland and his scripts for We Are What We Are, Cold in July and Stakeland are better than they have any right to be. Late Phases is a horror film made by people who love horror. It may miss on several levels but there is an independent pureness and the new story is welcome.

The werewolf design is funky as the  werewolves look like a Gremlin mated with a Critter then got splashed with water and became a Werelim. Robert Kurtzman (From Dusk Til Dawn, Faculty, Tusk, Evil Dead 2) relished the opportunity to create something new and he turned a familiar creature into something different.

late phases werewolf

We here at MFF love Werewolf films and we’ve covered a ridiculous amount of the furry cinematic carnage. If you want to check out reviews for Dog Soldiers, Wolfman (remake), An American Werewolf in London, The Howling, Wer and Wolfcop please do!

Late Phases is a welcome addition to the Werewolf genre because it proves that practical effects and new stories aren’t dead.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. John Leavengood permalink
    February 15, 2016 9:02 pm

    LMAO. He “guns at the weirdest moments but I’m not a blind Vietnam vet who lost his dog so I can’t really blame him.” Love it! Just saw this. Finally, and purely on your recommendation!


  1. John’s Horror Corner: Late Phases (2014), throwing tropes out the window to deliver a fresh indie werewolf movie with a blind elderly antihero. | Movies, Films & Flix

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