Phase 7 - A Hidden Horror Gem
The movie Phaze 7 (Phase 7 in English) is a Spanish movie with English subtitles. A twist on the pandemic horror genre, it is filled with twists and turns and, surprisingly, character development.
Movie Review for Phaze 7 / Phase 7
Phase 7 / Phaze 7 is different from most pandemic / end of the world movies by being set in Argentina in South America instead of the United States. The Spanish is not a problem given the easy to understand plot and English subtitles.
Phase 7 is set in an apartment building when the quarantine starts, differentiating Phase 7 from most “run for the hills” or “survivalist lecturing from the farm / hideout / retreat”. Pregnant wife Pipi nags and cajoles Coco during their initial days quarantined in their apartment building. Ever mindful of her and the baby, he wants to keep them safe, while seeking to hold to his ideals and avoiding hurting others. This creates conflicts when neighbors recommend putting away and likely killing a likely infected, elderly neighbor. Then comes the realization that the man may only have dementia, and the other neighbors only want to put him down for the food in his apartment. The struggle over resources and dealing with the sick that have gone insane are realistically portrayed, even while the body count mounts. The violence perpetrated by the man may be the effect of the virus or distrust of neighbors who want to separate him from his supplies.
The urge to be a hip and strong “man” is challenged by the reality and responsibility of holding a real gun. The threat of the disease and death is balanced by the need to feed their families and a desire to know what dangers lie outside their apartment building.
Horacio, the survivalist neighbor, is far richer and rounder than most characters of the "survivalist" type. He’s a hero in his efforts to help and save as many as possible. He’s also grounded and filled in. He’s not a soldier of fortune or returning special forces agent, but a health insurance salesman and "prepper". He’s helping Pipi and Coco as much out of compassion as out of his efforts as a single father protect his own young daughter. Horacio wants to make Coco a better father for the sake of his unborn child and to create a peer he can rely on in times of need. Those times arrive quickly and repeatedly, in heart-stopping but low budget moments.
There is no grand and glorious survivalist hero who leads them all to a post-apocalyptic fairy tale good-old days retreat in the mountains. But a former sheltered young man becomes a responsible father for all the children in the movie, and the last survivors of the quarantine get a chance to live beyond the infected zone. And that, given this movie genre, is a very happy ending.
My Rating for "Phase 7"
I personally give "Phase 7" 5 stars. It is rich in plot, character development and horror without losing its soul.