Late Phases was screened during the midnight series portion of SXSW and I don’t think there is any time more appropriate to catch the werewolf flick. Directed by Argentine director Adrián García Bogliano, Late Phases is the type of film you want to watch late at night with your mind halfway turned off. It’s a bit more fun that way, and (slightly) more tolerable.
In the film a blind war veteran named Ambrose (Nick Damici) is moved to a retirement community known as Crescent Bay. It seems like a nice, safe place to live the latter years of ones life. The only things is that the residents have been suffering from what seems like random animal attacks inside their homes. Only the attacks aren’t that random, they come once a month. As we soon find out, they’re not done by animals, but rather by a giant werewolf that no person – let alone the elderly – could fight off. Except for Ambrose.
On his first night at his new home, Ambrose is attacked by one of them. It was surprising to see the creature so immediately, I didn’t expect them to show their guns so soon. He’s able to survive the attack, but is still stuck at the community knowing that the next attack is only a month away. It doesn’t help that the community residents are equally odd people. There are a group of two faced elderly ladies, and other odd-ball residents that just seem off. They all take group trips to their church together, led by Father Roger (Tom Noonan). Ambrose sticks out like a sore thumb, but has to make due.
Although he’s blind, he’s still able to protect himself. He spends the following days preparing for the beast that he knows awaits him. In between this Ambrose is trying to salvage the relationship with his son Will (Ethan Embry), who put his father in the retirement home against his will.
Late Phases is a bit of mess, suffering from an unbalanced tone and an overwhelming cheesiness. Eric Stolze’s screenplay tries to find a balance between the personal relationships of Ambrose and Will as well as Ambrose and the residents, but doesn’t quite hold up next to the goofy horror sequences. To be fair to Bogliano, it’s the first film he directed in English. Even so, I couldn’t get over how laughable the creatures looked and how off-center the whole thing felt.
Some may find Late Phases to be in the so bad its good horror fare, but I didn’t find much enjoyment in it aside from the performance of Nick Damici, who was a believable blind person. Other than that, Late Phases is an excursion only meant for viewings during the dead hours of the night.