20th Apr2015

‘Night of the Wolf: Late Phases’ DVD Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Nick Damici, Ethan Embry, Tom Noonan, Tina Louise, Rutanya Alda, Caitlin O’Heaney, Lance Guest, Erin Cummings, Larry Fessenden | Written by Eric Stolze | Directed by Adrián García Bogliano

late-phases

If there is one sub-genre of horror that tends to struggle right now it is that of the werewolf, though WolfCop has gone a long way to give it the kick up the ass that it needed with a healthy dose of comedy. For a more serious take on the lycanthropic furry moon obsessives though we now have Late Phases... or as it appears to be known in the UK Night of the Wolf: Late Phases.

When blind veteran Ambrose (Nick Damici) moves into a retirement community the welcome from the locals isn’t exactly what he expected. Learning that the residents have recently been the victims of a spate of wild dog attacks, he soon finds himself victim but manages to fend them off, with the loss of his own Seeing Eye dog in the process. Realising that the creature he encountered was far from your average pooch but something far bigger and deadlier he lays out a plan of action to prepare for the next full moon, and a chance for vengeance.

Late Phases could best be described as The Howling meets Home Alone in a retirement community, but to be fair to it there is more depth in the story than that. While there is the initial attack to set up the idea that the creature is a werewolf, for the most part the film turns into more of a mystery with Ambrose having to work out just who he is battling against. This is obviously taking inspiration from Silver Bullet. These investigations put him at odds with the slightly eccentric other members of the community, but the fact that he doesn’t give a damn what they think makes him an endearing character that you can’t help but admire. He’s old, cantankerous, and eccentric but he also has truth on his side, this is why the audience connect with him easily. The performance from Nick Damici helps a lot too.

The mystery of the werewolf is the main tool that Late Phases uses to capture the interest of the audience, and it is handled well. We are given plenty of eccentric characters who act weird enough to raise suspicion, and there are plenty of false clues hidden around to point us in certain directions, for the most part we are kept guessing till the big reveal. By this time we are engrossed in the plot and eager to see the battle between old blind man and werewolf take place…like an epic duel from a western.

Another highlight of Late Phases is the cast, with a few names included that are sure to catch cult movie fans. Tom Noonan (Manhunter), Lance Guest (Halloween 2), Rutanya Alda (Amityville 2: The Possession), and Tina Louise (Stepford Wives) to name the most notable. The whole cast play their parts well with Nick Damici being the standout as the main character. If he had failed in his creation of Ambrose and not connected with the audience the film would no doubt have failed. Luckily though we are fully invested in the tale of him finding a spark of life a seemingly impossible battle to the death.

Late Phases is a movie that the werewolf sub-genre definitely needed. Along with WolfCop the film shows that there is still life in the old dog yet and the werewolf can be a more flexible creature than it at first seems. What horror needed right now was an old badass ready to do battle with a werewolf, and Late Phases gives us just that. Much more than an average tale of furry beasts with lycanthropic lunar tendencies, Night of the Wolf: Late Phases is a must watch for people who thought that the wolf may have finally had its time, you may find you’ve just been proven wrong.

****½  4.5/5

Night of the Wolf: Late Phases is available on DVD now. Check out our review of the film from last summer’s London Frightfest right here.

Review originaly posted on PissedOffGeek
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