Retired And Dangerous
by Brody Rossiter
The first werewolf movie to scratch and claw its way on to this list of Halloween movie marathon recommendations, Late Phases is a highly original take on the mythic creatures who like to hunt beneath the pale moonlight and the men who vow to stop them.
Starring Nick Damici (Stake Land), the picture follows the arrival of grizzled veteran Ambrose McKinley at his new home within the retirement community of Crescent Bay. Despite being blind, the Vietnam vet possesses acute senses of hearing and smell, perhaps due to his disability or perhaps due to his past experiences as a highly trained weapons expert.
It doesn’t take long for Ambrose to realise that all is not what it seems within the sleepy community, as his first night is marked by a ferociously violent attack inflicted upon his next door neighbour. He quickly learns that such attacks are a common occurrence, yet the perpetrator, man or beast, remains a mystery – a mystery that repeatedly coincides with the arrival of a full moon.
Realising he has a month until the next lunar event, and holding little faith in the local police department, Ambrose begins to investigate the source of the attacks – starting with the nosey old dears who live nearby.
Late Phases’ greatest asset is the disquieting atmosphere it creates with peculiar characterisation and its unsettling, ethereal score. Juxtaposing these details with the mundane happenings of retired life, creates a distinct sense of helplessness that Ambrose must strive to overcome (a journey made all the more engaging by Damici’s stoic performance).
Possessing a distinct cast, that despite their aged appearance still project powerful and energetic performances, Late Phases is a werewolf movie that breeds its fear under a blanket of daylight. When the night finally arrives, it makes for an unforgettably visceral showdown that will finally uncover the gruesome secrets and scars of Crescent Bay.