Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Late Phases (2014)

Number Rolled: 17
Movie Name/Year: Late Phases (2014)
Tagline: The hunt is on.
Genre: Horror
Length: 96 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: Dark Sky Films, Glass Eye Pix, Site B
Producer: Hamza Ali, Joel Alonso, Larry Fessenden, Luis Flores, Brent Kunkle, Greg Newman, Lex Ortega, Andrea Quiroz, Zak Zeman
Director: Adrián García Bogliano
Writer: Eric Stolze
Actors: Nick Damici, Ethan Embry, Lance Guest, Erin Commings, Rutanya Alda, Tom Noonan, Tina Louise, Caitlin O’Heaney, Karen Lynn Gorney, Al Spienza, Bernardo Cubria, Dana Ashbrook, Charles Techman, Hythem Noor, Larry Fessenden, Frances Sherman, Karron Graves, Kareem Savinon, Pun Bandhu, Ralph Cashen, Raina
Stunts: Bryce Burke, Pete Klein, Mariusz Kubicki, Anthony Vincent

Blurb from Netflix: After several of his neighbors are killed by savage dog attacks, a blind Vietnam vet starts to believe that a vicious supernatural force is at work.

Selina’s Point of View:
I enjoy B-movies and I love werewolf mythology. Needless to say, I was super interested in seeing this film when it came up.

I figured Late Phases would be typical and trope-y with a werewolf costume so bad you could see the zipper in it. But I also thought it might fall into the realm of that ‘so bad it’s good’ category. I don’t mind those films. I don’t watch movies to judge techniques. I watch them to be entertained.

However, Late Phases was NOTHING like I thought it would be. Sure, the werewolf costume wasn’t the greatest I’ve ever seen, but they did a hell of a lot with the transformation.

The acting for this film was pretty good. I grew attached to the main character, despite the fact that he was not a likable man. And, can we just talk about the setting and focus characters?

When I read the Netflix blurb I thought the film would be set at an earlier time, right after the Vietnam War. I had NO idea the main characters would be elderly. You don’t see that done often. The last horror film Trust the Dice reviewed that had several elderly actors playing main characters was in Cockneys vs. Zombies (2012). Even then, there were plenty of younger adults to accompany them.

A nearly all elderly cast is pretty much unheard of for this kind of storyline.

I was impressed. There were a few plot holes, and someone trained in gun use held his weapon like a gangster teen that learned to shoot from rap videos once – that bugged me, but I still enjoyed the movie.

To be honest, this may have been the most unique film that I’ve seen in a very long time. The creators took only the tropes that generally ‘have to’ come with a werewolf (transformation, silver bullets, full moon, bites, etc.), and absolutely spit on the rest of them.

I would recommend this film to anyone that’s a fan of werewolf stories. Just, keep in mind, the story is a slow burn.

Cat’s Point of View:
After a really long day, I was looking forward to watching this movie. I was pretty sure that the B-creature feature would let my brain disconnect from the last few days. I have to say, I got more than I expected.

This film elicited a strange dichotomy of response from me. On one hand, I loved it – on the other, there were parts that I didn’t enjoy. I’ll start with the negative so we can leave off on the good note!

Sometimes it just felt like the movie was meandering aimlessly – the blind main character seemed to move with more purpose at points. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the creature aesthetic. However, it wasn’t too horrible.

If the production team here was going for a throwback feel to movies like The Howling (1981) then they nailed it. For a movie released in 2014; somehow I was expecting more.  Then again, the wolves in the Underworld (2003) look a little funny to me, too. Maybe I’m just picky.

On to the good!

This movie was surprisingly engrossing for me. I wasn’t even tempted to fiddle with my phone so much because I didn’t want to look away. I loved the main character, Ambrose. Nick Damici (Never Down, Stake Land, Premium Rush) knocked that out of the park. There was something about him that was just compelling beyond the fact that his character was blind. I bought what he was selling, though he struck me more as the ‘get off my lawn’ type.

I also loved the complicated relationship between Ambrose and his son, Will, played by Ethan Embry (Armed Response, The Guest, Convergence). I felt like I wanted more screen time for Embry but he did make the most of the moments he had.

Lance Guest (Jericho, The Least of These, 21 and a Wake-Up) was an interesting addition to the cast. He’s come a long way from his role as Alex in The Last Starfighter (1984) or one of the Brody boys in Jaws: The Revenge (1987). Obviously that’s quite a gap of time between then and now but I almost didn’t recognize him at all. I don’t suppose that’s a bad thing, all things considered.

I think this movie has more to offer than nostalgia factor and I would feel reasonably comfortable in giving this movie a recommendation to fans of the genre.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 69%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 43%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 4/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score4/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 3.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score3.5/5

Random Rating - PG-13 

Movie Trailer:

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