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SXSW Movie Review: werewolf flick 'Late Phases' goes for the jugular

Late Phases
Late Phases
Courtesy of SXSW

Late Phases

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If legendary badass Charles Bronson had made a werewolf movie, it would've been "Late Phases" which premiered at SXSW last night in the Midnighters section at the Ritz Theaters in Austin, Texas.

With "Late Phases," director Adrian Garcia Bogliano ("Here Comes the Devil") makes his American directorial debut in grand style with a werewolf genre movie starring Nick Damici as a grizzled blind war veteran who must battle the howling beasts that begin plaguing his small retirement community.

Damici ("Cold in July") channels the tough guy swagger of Charles Bronson throughout the film, as his stoic Vietnam veteran takes things into his own hands when the bumbling local police refuse to do anything about the "animal attacks" that have sent his neighbors to the morgue.

Bogliano and screenwriter Eric Stolze pay homage to several of their favorite werewolf genre films including "Silver Bullet," "An American Werewolf in London" and "The Howling" as well as dropping in some visual references to the cult classic "Rolling Thunder" starring William Devane and even the "Death Wish" movies starring Charles Bronson.

The film's pacing also feels very much in sync with 1970s genre films with a slow build up to the final confrontation and emotional catharsis for its characters.

At the heart of "Late Phases" is the relationship between Damici's blind veteran and his estranged adult son, as well as the connection he makes with a local priest who tries to get him to see the light.

Bogliano also called upon special effects makeup wizard Robert Kurtzman ("From Dusk Till Dawn") as the movie's creature effects producer.

Their use of practical special effects rather than digital effects added to "Late Phases" 1970s genre film look and feel.

In fact, "Late Phases" could even be summed up as being a Charles Bronson "Death Wish" movie but with werewolves as the villains instead of gangs, thugs and mobsters.

The film made its premiere on March 9 at SXSW in the Alamo Ritz Theaters.

Additional screenings will take place March 13 at the Alamo Ritz 2 and March 14 at the Marchesa.

For more info visit: http://schedule.sxsw.com/2014/events/event_FS15025