Friday, October 21, 2011

Phases 1-6 Will Leave you Unprepared for Phase 7

I originally posted about Phase 7 back in July. Now that it's been released to DVD, I felt it was a good time to bring it back to your attention. Take a read through my original post. It's a great watch if you're big into the reactions of the humans in a given horror situation - so fans of George Romero take special note. Check out Phase 7 on DVD, it's an excellent time of year to do so.

Before I even talk to you about the new post apocalyptic plague flick, Phase 7, I want to spend a minute directing your attention to the poster for it. It seems like movie poster art has taken a back seat lately, a travesty for which there is no excuse. As a lover of exploitation, the sort of poster style used here is my absolute favorite. Something featuring large and prominently in the top center, in this case the apartment building with "Phase 7" takes center stage in a stylized font. The central characters, facing out from center and overlapping, with more important players featured larger than the supporting cast. Star Wars is a popular example of this poster style, which in itself was a throw back to 50's promotions. Something about this layout just sings "Saturday Afternoon Matinee" to me and this brings me back to the days of my youth, seeing B-Movies at the Devon in Philadelphia, which was a second run movie theater near the house I grew up in.

Flash forward to the present. So here I am now, totally sucked into the film by the promotional art mixed with my own feelings of poster art nostalgia. I haven't read too much about it before hand. Phase 7 is the story of the occupants of an apartment building in Argentina, who have to survive in the aftermath of a plague that decimates humanity. It's at this point that you are probably thinking the same thing that I was: "oh boy, it's zombie time! Muhahaha!". It's true I cackle like a 40's serial villain when it comes to zombies. It's true also that the setup for this film bears a lot of similarities to Rammbock: German Undead, which we took an early look at HERE. Phase 7, however, is not a zombie film.

We follow the journeys of Coco and Pipi, two 20-something's with a bun in the oven (her oven, not his, luckily). They live in an brand new apartment building that only has a few occupants, since it's just finished construction. This excellent decision gives us the opportunity to examine each of the occupants in much greater detail than we would have been able to if there was a much larger pool of characters, such as in [REC]. As luck would have it, our happy couple just returned from a trip to the grocery store as the outbreak began. They are quickly quarantined in their building and told to stay and wait it out. Which they do, maxin' and relaxin' with their plentiful supply of food stuffs.

"Without zombies, what's the point of watching two people wait out a pandemic?" George Romero would be ashamed of you. For decades he has demonstrated that man is the greatest monster of all. So is it true here, where the folks in the building who are running out of supplies begin scheming. It's at this point we meet Horacio.

Do you often sit around, discussing what you would do in the case of a zombie apocalypse, with your friends? Have you written out a list of supplies you would need, where you would loot first and where you would hold up? No? Stop looking at me like that. You know you have. Horacio is you and your weird B-Movie friends come alive. He is Coco's Neighbor who comes equipped with hazmat suit, trip wire stun bombs and enough food and guns to survive well beyond the government and army. He's an Argentinean BURT GUMMER. Seriously, he's a balding, badass, Batman with guns. And you're gonna love him.

So what does Coco do in the face of humans resorting to anything to survive? He puts on a gnarly t-shirt and grows a rockin' facial configuration. Duh.

This SciFi thriller is a cool look at humans being humans in the wake of the end of the world. It's currently making the rounds as a limited release at AMC theaters around the country and will then be available on DVD in the beginning of October. If you're a classic Romero fan, you can't go wrong with Phase 7. With the spate of great horror coming out around the world, I'm surprised Hollywood isn't more paying attention.

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