Aging is inevitable. Death? Also inevitable. So what happens when we approach our death? During our final moments what haunts us the most are the things we have chosen not to do or what we are about to do. Late Phases, a 2014 film by Adrián García Bogliano, takes an interesting look at some of these questions through his main character, Ambrose (Nick Damici).
Ambrose, a blind Vietnam Veteran is unwillingly moving into a retirement “villiage” – and here he will spend his final days, surrounded by other aging people simply waiting for their final moments. But it seems some of their ends are coming more quickly that they should be. They’re being ripped apart by something. Something large, something feral, and something that Ambrose is hell-bent on stopping.
Late Phases (2014) is not a typical werewolf movie. The main focus of the film isn’t the beast, rather it is the man. The good wolf/bad wolf battle is replaced with something more familiar, more human. The battle within ourselves over what we have done, what we have become and how we approach our own endings. While Ambrose battles the enemy, he is also battling himself. His weaknesses, both physical and mental, and his past. The relationships between Ambrose, his son Will (Ethan Embry), and the people in this community all play into how he approaches his attacks. With one month left to stop the enemy – he has to determine who he can trust, and ultimately? Trust in himself.
Late Phases is by no means the movie to choose if you want a fast-paced high-action creature feature. Late Phases is slow, but purposeful. Characters for the most part are well-developed and part of what makes the final culmination of the plot so powerful is in part due to this development. If you’re looking for violence, you may be pleasantly surprised. The violence although mostly off-screen, does deliver just enough of practical FX brilliance through a handful of on-screen shots (and one near the end that will guarantee to make you cringe). And as far as the werewolf suits? While far superior than some others out recently aren’t overly spectacular, more like a purposeful or even budget-related nod to 70’s horror creatures. However, there is a transformation scene that is nothing short of impressive, especially considering the budget and situations surrounding the transformation itself.
Nick Damici, who although I initially thought far too young to play a character like Ambrose did a phenomenal job portraying him. He was able to make a curmudgeon relatable, and his performance was only complimented by Ethan Embry as Will. Late Phases is a unique and heartfelt twist to the old werewolf tale – one I would gladly recommend to fellow werewolf fans in search of something refreshing to the genre.