Unlike The Stand (with a similar scenario), where we followed the travels of people attempting to find (in one way or another) a better place than that from which they came, Phase 7 stays in one location. This is quite expected given the low budget of the film. Even the credits (it seems purposely) show how inexpensively the film is made.
The film stars Daniel Hendler (The Lost Embrace) as Coco, a mild-mannered semi-hipster who lives in an apartment building with his very pregnant wife, Pipi (Jazmin Stuart, known in Argentina for her show, Sweethearts). As the film begins, the couple is shopping for groceries, “stocking up” for something which is never clearly-defined, if well-timed. That night, as the two are eating dinner, they receive a phone call for one of them to go to the lobby of their apartment building. Coco goes down to find that the building has been cordoned off by health officials, who announce that they are quarantining the complex due to a suddenly prevalent deadly strain of flu. They also remove an ill woman and her husband from the building. As time goes on, supplies and resources become rarer, and Coco and Pipi find that they must join together (and do battle) with fellow residents – including conspiracy theorist Horacio (Yayo Guridi, in his second film), as well as the creepy Zanutto (played by veteran actor Federico Luppi, Pan’s Labyrinth). Although this film takes place at the apartment building, and tells just the stories of the few people within the complex, that small crowd is used as a microcosm to show what is going on around the world, not just in that Buenos Aires block of apartments.
One place that this movie really falls short is in the subtitle translations from the original Spanish dialog. One sentence reads: “Before the rumor of closed trades and stop of activities the chaos starts.” This is not the sort of thing that lends itself to good movie watching. Another challenge this film fails is the description of the virus which is causing the world-wide panic. It is a matter of minutes from the time that Coco first hears about the epidemic to the time the building is cut off from the rest of the world. The death count from the flu epidemic that causes this panic is stated to be in the tens of thousands, but influenza kills tens of thousands of people each year in the United States alone.
This is not the best film I have seen this year, or one that I would highly recommend. However, it did have some decent acting, and some of the scenes were fairly well done. Phase 7 only cost about a half-million dollars to make, and I have seen movies that are a lot worse that cost a heck of a lot more to produce.