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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Late Phases: Night of the Lone Wolf (Blu-ray)
Late Phases: Night of the Lone Wolf (Blu-ray)
Dark Sky Films // Unrated // March 10, 2015 // Region A
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted March 11, 2015 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

The English language feature debut from Adrian Garcia Bogliano, probably best known for his recent Here Comes The Devil, 2014's Late Phases (changed to Late Phases: Night Of The Lone Wolf for its US home video release from Dark Sky Films) may not be a modern classic but it is a decent enough horror picture with some interesting ideas at play.

When the movie begins, a blind vet named Ambrose McKinley (Nick Damici) is, along with his guide dog, being moved into a quiet suburban community named Crescent Bay by his son (Ethan Embry). Things get off to a decent enough start as he befriends Delores (Karen Lynn Gorney) early on, but late that same night he wakes up to find that she's been slaughtered and so too has his faithful dog. In fact the authorities find Ambrose on the floor his home clutching the poor canine. This would seem to tie into the strange scratch marks Ambrose noticed when first exploring the home.

The cops, being cops in a horror movie, figure that there was some sort of animal attack and warn Ambrose to stay indoors at night and to keep away from the edges of the nearby forest. From here, he has trouble fitting in with the older folks in the area, particularly once he realizes that what killed Delores and his dog was likely a werewolf. As he starts investigating as best he can, he begins to wonder if the town priest (Tom Noonan) might have something to do with all of this. With no one willing to believe his theories or help him out, Ambrose decides the only thing that he can do is to prepare to battle there werewolf himself, but that wouldn't be easy for anyone, let alone a blind man…

Late Phases benefits from a pretty great idea for a horror movie and from the casting of Nick Damici in the lead role. The idea of putting a blind man up against a werewolf allows the story to go in some interesting and atypical directions and Damici does a great job of playing the protagonist. He's believable as a blind man, getting the mannerisms down and really doing an impressive job with the physical side of his acting, while at the same time having no trouble convincing us that he's tough as nails despite the fact that he can't see. Watching Damici in this role is a blast, he does very fine work indeed. The rest of the cast are fairly disposable but then they aren't given as much to do. Tom Noonan is decent enough as the priest, but really this is Damici's show pretty much all the way.

The film is more than a little uneven, however. It moves at a pace best described as erratic. It starts off reasonably strong and that first attack scene really makes you think that you're going to be in for a pretty wild ride, but after that things slow down just a bit more than a lot of viewers are probably going to want them to. The focus shifts onto Ambrose and we do get some decent character development but if you've signed up for a horror movie, stretches of the middle act might not necessarily be what you want or expect them to be. That's not to say that the movie gets boring per se, but that it does slow down and it does make a fairly drastic shift in pacing. Damici keeps things interesting during these slower parts with his acting, however, and again much of the movie's success rests on his shoulders.

What seasoned horror fans or really anyone who appreciates good practical effects work will walk away impressed with the picture is in regards to the werewolf effects. Bogliano is definitely going for the same sort of impressive creature effects in this film that were featured in movies like An American Werewolf In London and The Howling. These effects are handled really well and should pretty much bring a smile to the face of anyone with an appreciation for those pictures or old fashioned monster effects in general. It's a shame that thing slow down here for long stretches but these effects coupled with Damici's work in front of the camera do wind up making to Late Phases: Night Of The Lone Wolf worth checking out for fans of the genre.

The Blu-ray:
Video:

Late Phases looks good in this 2.35.1 widescreen transfer presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. Shot on high end digital video there's obviously no print damage to note and the fact that the movie is given a healthy bit-rate ensures that the picture is free of compression artifacts. Detail is strong throughout and black levels are strong. The colors are a bit on the muted side, things have a sort of yellow hue to them for much of the movie, but this is obviously an intentional, stylistic choice on the part of the filmmakers. Aside from that, yeah, the movie looks really nice on Blu-ray. No complaints here.

Audio:

The English language DTS-HD MA 5.1 track is a good one, though for those without the ability to decode there's also a decent PCM 2.0 Stereo track included here too. The 5.1 mix is the one to go with, however, as it uses the rear channels quite well and not only has more depth throughout but does a better job with placement of the movie's interesting score. Dialogue stays crisp, clean and clear throughout the movie, the levels are nicely balanced and there are no problems with any hiss or distortion. Directionality is often quite impressive here too. Optional English subtitles are also provided.

Extras:

Extras start off with a commentary track from director Adrian Garcia Bogliano that is very much worth a listen. He's an enthusiastic commentator keen to explain not only what he was going for with this project but also how he got it. He spends quite a bit of time talking up and praising Damici's work in the lead role but also spends some time talking about the effects work, the creature design, the score, the cinematography, the locations and quite a bit more. This is an interesting and very rewardingly informative track.

Additionally we get a fourteen minute long behind the scenes featurette that gives us a glimpse into what it was like on set by way of some back and forth with the cast and crew. The disc also includes a makeup effects featurette that clocks in at about half an hour in length. The focus here is on the werewolf effects work, how all of that was put together and how the creature was brought to life in front of the camera. Lastly we get a trailer for the feature, menus and chapter selection. Promos for a few other Dark Sky Films properties play before the main menu screen loads.

Overall:

Late Phases: Night Of The Lone Wolf is a little slow in spots but patient viewers are ultimately rewarded not only with some great monster effects but a decent story and a very strong lead performance. The Blu-ray release from Dark Sky Films is a good one, offering up a nice HD transfer, solid audio and some interesting supplements as well. Recommended.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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