Viral contagion thrillers don’t get much more benign than “Phase 7,” whose low budget inspires some clever production choices and no shortage of narrative longueurs. Set in a Buenos Aires apartment building put under quarantine after a mysterious epidemic outbreak, this well-shot but listless Argentine pic lacks sufficient satiric energy to distinguish itself from countless other entries in the self-parodic, bio-apocalyptic subgenre. Picked for distribution to AMC theaters as part of the “Night Terrors” series co-run by Bloody Disgusting and the Collective, “Phase 7” won’t reach Stage 1 on the B.O. scale, nor will it result in much ancillary action.
The film’s laid-back hero is Coco (Daniel Hendler), a soon-to-be dad who realizes late in the game that a strange disease has gripped the citizens of Argentina as well as those of seven other countries. Following a “Taxi Driver”-style burst of machismo in the mirror, Coco allies with well-stocked survivalist Horacio (Jose “Yayo” Guridi) against the old, paranoid and trigger-happy Zanutto (Federico Luppi). Pic culminates in violent slapstick farce while remaining dramatically exhausted. By default, a close-up of Froot Loops drenched in milk constitutes the film’s critique of consumer culture.