“Great werewolf films are all too rare, particularly in recent years. Since 2000, only two noteworthy werewolf pictures come to mind; Ginger Snaps and Dog Soldiers. Happily, the immensely entertaining Late Phases breathes life into a seemingly dead sub-genre as director Adrian Garcia Bogliano manages to wring a whole lot of creativity out of a very limited budget.
In Late Phases, a fantastic Nick Damici (who, in addition to being a hell of an actor, also happens to be quite a screenwriter—see his brilliantly penned adaptation of Joe R. Lansdale’s Cold in July) is Ambrose, a blind war veteran whose cantankerous attitude and wily street smarts prove to be major assets when he wages war with a creature responsible for picking off senior citizens in an old folks community.
With a spirit akin to Silver Bullet, Bubba Ho-Tep, and Scent of a Woman, Late Phases is a breath of fresh air. It’s funny, scary, and dramatic, and its that rare kind of monster movie that we very seldom see anymore.
It should come as no surprise that Late Phases was produced by Larry Fessenden’s Glass Eye Pix, a studio known for ushering in unique genre talent and for shepherding horror projects that really have something to say. Father/son relationships, growing older, living with the scars of war, wrestling with religion, etc., Late Phases isn’t simply a werewolf picture. It has a lot more upstairs than your typical monster movie.
But if you’re really going in to this one just for the werewolf action alone, you’ll walk away happy too. Bogliano and screenwriter Eric Stolze bring a most welcomed throwback vibe to Late Phases and it goes beyond Robert Kurtzman’s fantastic creature effects (there’s a transformation sequence in this picture that I wont soon forget.) It’s all about the tone.
Adding to the throwback vibe is Bogliano’s affectionate casting choices. He peppers the cast with a handful of wonderful old school performers, many of whom rose to prominence in the 70’s and 80’s. Performers like Karen Lynn Gorney (Saturday Night Fever), Lance Guest (The Last Starfighter), and Tom Noonan (Manhunter), and each of these performers are given their moments to shine. As engaging as the entire cast is, Late Phases is truly anchored by a tough as nails Damici. His all-American Ambrose takes all the hard earned skills he’s learned in the battlefield and applies them to the war at home with absolute vigor.
Late Phases is currently in limited release. If it isn’t playing at a theater in your area, you can order it on On Demand now. Check it out. It’s a ton of fun.”