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Film / Late Phases

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Late Phases is a 2014 horror drama film starring Nick Damuci, Ethan Embry, Tina Louise, Lance Guest, Rutanya Alda, Tom Noonan, and Larry Fessenden.

Ambrose, a blind Vietnam War veteran who is independent and sometimes rude, moves with his dog German Shepherd into a retirement community, at the edge of a forest. That same night his neighbor Delores, who shares the duplex with him and who is the only one to who he has been friendly from the start is attacked and brutally slashed to death. Ambrose hears the commotion and is also attacked by a massive werewolf. During the attack his dog dies, after bravely defending Ambrose.

Even if blind, putting together the clues both from his remaining working senses and from information given to him by other people, he understand that what attacked him and killed his neighbor was not a bear or a puma, but a werewolf and that he has exactly one month to prepare himself for the next attack, while, in the meantime, fixing the broken relationship with his son.

Provides examples of:

  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Averted. Knowing that he's likely to be bitten and become a werewolf even if he survives the battle, Ambrose opts to overdose on his medication before the final battle and guarantee he won't survive the night.
  • Answer Cut: When Westmark the gunsmith mentions he made silver bullets for another man, Ambrose asks who and the camera cuts to James in his apartment, looking at some old bite and claw marks on his chest in the mirror.
  • Babies Ever After: It's mentioned that Will's wife is pregnant.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The tombstone, which is rigged to a pulley to drop on the werewolf.
  • Disappeared Dad: It's mentioned that Ambrose left his wife and son when Will was young due to feeling bitter about his blindness and not wanting to take it out on them.
  • Enemy Within: A literal case. Griffin's transformation into the werewolf shows his skin tearing to reveal the bestial form underneath.
  • Fallen Hero: It's revealed that James started out hunting a previous werewolf to protect the community but succumbed to murderous self-preservation after being bitten.
  • Girl Posse: The three retirement home greeters are an older version.
  • Good All Along: Father Roger. In spite of some conversations with Ambrose, where the pastor talks about how he put his evil side in a cage, and other apparent clues, he was a very well meaning person, trying to help everyone. Including both Ambrose and the real werewolf.
  • Good Shepherd: Father Roger comes across as trying to help his emotionally troubled parishioners, although he's still a werewolf suspect.
  • Handicapped Badass: Ambrose's blindness does not stop him from quickly figuring out there is a werewolf, venturing around to find it and rigging defenses tonight it during the next full moon.
  • Heroic Dog: Ambrose's German Shepherd. It starts growling at Ambrose to keep him away from the room where the werewolf is, and then attacks again and again the beast, which has just proved to be so strong to be almost able to punch through walls, to protect his master.
  • It's All My Fault: Dolores's daughter seems to feel this way for not moving her in or for staying on the phone with her when she was attacked.
  • Kick the Dog: Ambrose is incredibly rude to Clarissa, Gloria and Vitoria the three greeters when they arrive, and as a result they get pretty sour towards him afterwards (especially after he accidentally unplug one of their husbands iron lung in his search for the werewolf).
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Father Roger, who goes over to give James advice and comfort and Clarissa who is un-upset by his appearing in her home suddenly and agrees to say a prayer with him upon seeing how troubled he looks both fall victim to the monster.
  • No Sympathy: Officer Lang does not show any inclination to investigate things and compares the constant fatal "animal attacks" to an Act of God without a hint of shame.
  • Police Are Useless: Apparently, once a month a person is brutally and viciously slashed to death in the retirement community of Crescent Bay. All they do is saying to stay far away from the forest and to close accurately the entrance door. The fact that the first person we see killed was killed after the werewolf broke in bursting through the closed entrance door and that the beast a first time almost breaks in Ambrose's house through a damn wall removes any doubt about the utility of these advices.
  • Resist the Beast: zigzagged. Griffin desperately asks Father Roger for help, believing himself to be possessed, and even self-flagellates to drive it out. On the other hand, he—in both human and werewolf form—bites others to make more werewolves.
  • Riddle for the Ages: It' never revealed why Ambrose told his son that he buried his wedding ring with his late wife but kept it instead.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: The security guard runs away when he sees the werewolf on a camera during the final battle.
  • Self-Harm: James Griffen has been doing this as atonement for his actions as a werewolf, to the disturbance of Father Roger when he finds out.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Ambrose has killed a children during war. Even if blind, he keeps seeing the kid's face. The fact that he had no other choice and might very well invoke I Did What I Had to Do doesn't help him to forget and forgive himself.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Ambrose.
    Father Roger: I got to thinking you don't have a lot of happy topics in your life... you’ve got stories you'v got wisdom. You’re a deep guy Ambrose. I mean you still see a bigger picture than most people.
    Ambrose: All I got left father, are consequences.
  • Spiritual Successor: While not specifically marketed as one to Silver Bullet, with many fans noting several shared aspects between the films. Both feature many of the same elements. 1) a disabled individual investigating the identity of a werewolf that kills someone every month after being the first person to survive an attack. 2) A werewolf who is a Tragic Monster and struggles with a sense of humanity. 3) a clergyman among the suspects. 4) The werewolf being identified through an injury or disability. 5) Getting a silver bullet made from a gunsmith in a scene which references The Lone Ranger. 6) Preparing to be attacked in their house by the werewolf for the climatic scene.
  • Surveillance Station Slacker The gate guard at the retirement home is a bit lazy and distracted, not always watching the monitor.
  • Those Two Guys: The two movers, who find Ambrose in his attacked house after the first attack have a rapport.
  • Trail of Blood: The werewolf leaves one after the first attack, with Ambrose enlisting a mailman to help him follow it to try and find whose house the werewolf went to and identify him.
  • Transformation Horror: When Griffin transforms, he viciously rips off his skin to let the werewolf out. Father Roger is so shocked that, instead of running away immediately, he remains petrified almost till the end of the transformation.
  • Undertaker: Ambrose visits an eager headstone salesman (who also points him to Westmark) to buy a marker for Shadow.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: James Griffen is beloved by the local community.
  • War Is Hell: Ambrose went to war hoping to save lives, but ended up killing people.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Will's wife criticizes him for putting Ambrose in a house without a phone after the first timeis attacked by the werewolf, as this kept Ambrose from being able to call for help and had him just lying there, helpless and unfamiliar with the place, all night.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Westmark the gunsmith, when asked why he thinks Ambrose is buying bullets doesn't seem to consider the werewolf angle, just commenting it reminds him of The Lone Ranger and the image of a Vigilante Man with the symbolism of purity in the silver. While the vigilante part is right, Ambrose is dismissive of the symbolism aspect.