Reviews | Written by John Townsend 18/11/2020

LATE PHASES (2014)

Within hours of reluctantly moving into an apparently peaceful retirement community blind veteran Ambrose McKinley (Damici) is attacked by a werewolf. Even though new neighbour Delores is gruesomely killed no-one including the police seem concerned; it’s just an animal attack, apparently… happens all the time. So, Ambrose decides to deal with the problem himself, and has a month until the next full moon to prepare.

Late Phases has some pedigree. Nick Damici is a skilful genre actor; Larry Fessenden has over 80 film credits to his name as an actor, producer, and director, and as a co-founder of effects company KNB EFX Group Robert Kurtzman worked on films for Sam Raimi and Quentin Tarantino. Individual strength, but strangely Late Phases doesn’t quite come together.

The greatest issue is with the tone. Eric Stolze is credited as the writer, but the resulting film feels like the work of many. There is humour, but many of the one-liners stonily delivered by Damici are misjudged. There is gore – lots of gore – though many scenes carry a campness that drifts toward horror-comedy territory. And further confusion comes through overtly stylised characterisations that risk being grating rather than comedic.

There are good things; there is genuine heart in the father-son dynamic and, as you would expect, the effects – thankfully all done in camera – are impressive, although the finished beasts look distinctly bat-like.

Ultimately, Late Phases is a decent, occasionally interesting film, but in a crowded subgenre it sadly won’t live long in the memory.

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