Late Phases 2014 movie

Late Phases – The blind fight against werewolves

You can be sure there is no shortage of werewolves in cinematic history, but this time the wolfman must deal with a strange adversary in this 2014 horror movie, Late Phases.

The story begins with old Ambrose McKinley, a blind war veteran, moving to Crescent Bay, a quiet retirement community.

Despite his desire to live in peace, the first night ends in tragedy as a strange creature breaks through the door of the house next door, mauling the lady who lives there.

Moreover, his faithful service dog also dies after defending him against this bloodthirsty monster.

The next day, although the police believe it is just a wild animal attack case, Ambrose begins to prepare for the next whole moon night, coming in a month.

Indeed, he has smelled something different along with the animal scent, cigarette stench, which is obviously a clue that a man is behind the murder.

Increasingly obsessed with this story, all the women in the neighborhood complain about his behavior while he snoops around, looking for traces of his prey.

Also, Ambrose’s attitude is never precisely friendly, but Father Roger Smith and the willing James Griffin insist on letting him attend community church meetings.

Affairs with his son Will are no better, with the boy trying to reconnect with his father from long after his mother’s death.

However, his father is busy training and making plans for the full moon night, finding an underground vendor selling him some silver bullets, and discovering that he is not the first to hunt down this monster.

While the fateful battle is approaching, the werewolf gets out of control, attacking and turning the whole neighborhood into its kind, so Ambrose will have numerous new enemies to face.

Low-budget, high quality

Late Phases wears an atmosphere with a measured pace, reminiscent in 2014 of the classic ’70s/’80s movies, and in opposition to contemporary trends, avoids adopting the typical horror clichés of the current time.

Adrian Garcia Bogliano‘s skillful direction moves away from modern horror flicks, rather than relying on predictable jumpscare, playing on increasing tension through cinematic techniques that aim more at not showing the blood with a more psychological depth of its protagonists.

It also stands out in its approach to special effects, physically realized on set without CGI, favoring makeup and costumes as in the symbolic in the werewolf transformation sequence, evocative of the famous scene in An American Werewolf in London.

Nevertheless, Bogliano maintains an originality of his own, making it an homage rather than a mere copy of John Landis‘ immortal masterpiece.

Also, very bold is opting for a cast of more mature actors, still distancing from contemporary conventions, often populated by stupidly insufferable young boys and girls.

In contrast, with few words, the main character, Ambrose McKinley, radiates charisma and depth, and every scene conceals a greater meaning.

Apart from him, the other characters are never randomly inserted: each enriches the plot, and their internal conflicts fuel the viewer’s interest and narrative suspense.

If I was expecting a standard low-budget B-Movie, this film vastly exceeded my expectations.

Eric Stolze‘s script retrieves elements from classic horror films not only to evoke vintage nostalgia but because these ideas will always work today and yesterday.

As a result, we have a horror fable filled with wisdom and irony in the unusual setting of this elderly community, which lives the present with practical meaning without ever overly regretting the past.

Isn’t that a way of life we could all draw inspiration from?

A bit of healthy elderly horror

Compounding the story are a few perfectly exposed plot moments, just as the cast is of a few but essential characters with their own place and role to play in this horror match.

Prominent among them all, of course, is the charismatic Nick Damici, a rigid and impassive former soldier who, however, also has a delicate inner humanity that is not easy to get to.

Indeed, in Ambrose McKinley’s heart, there are old war traumas and memories of a marriage that ended unhappily, as well as a present marked by a problematic relationship with his son Will, played with just the right amount of weakness but determination by Ethan Embry.

However, some of the other characters manage to communicate more deeply with Ambrose, such as the religious Father Roger Smith, another figure with a dark past who has since devoted his life to the community’s welfare.

Played by Tom Noonan, this Father accepts the protagonist’s strange and aggressive personality, avoiding judging but instead trying to encourage him to reestablish his trust.

Unfortunately, the other ladies of the town always push Ambrose’s patience, especially while he becomes increasingly estranged from the rest of the community, with the goal of finally defeating the mysterious werewolf at the center of his life.

Rounding out the cast is Lance Guest, who plays the friendly chauffeur James Griffin, volunteering to drive the old folks to church every Sunday and having a mysterious and deep connection with Father Roger.

All the crucial moments of the story come through these characters alone, avoiding a crowd of unnecessary people but concentrating all the suspense in the moments of stress and confrontation between these fine actors.

Who knows, once Late Phases would have been a more violent, slasher movie, but in 2014, we also feel the need for stories going beyond the easy and fun blood spraying everywhere.

Late Phases 2014 movie
Amazon Prime Video
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