Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

It’s not like Nazi’s aren’t bad enough as it is but then take that Nazi and turn him into a zombie monster… who regenerates… and has time space displacement powers enabling this murdering Nazi zombie to transport from place to place… then multiply that Nazi by about 150… and we have one serious Nazi problem. How in the world are these poor bloodthirsty hardened Mercenaries we’ve just met in ‘Outpost’ from Sony Pictures Home going to deal with THIS foe?

Not very well. In some war torn Eastern European country hardened Mercenary DC (Ray Stevenson) is having a meet and greet with some erudite condescending British dude named Hunt (Julian Wadham) as they try to hammer down the financial details of Hunts excursion deep into the danger zone of this country to retrieve something of unknown origin. With the details all secured, our man DC, along his right hand man Prior (Richard Brake), assemble their crew of hardass soldiers and proceed to parts unknown.

Once on their location, an abandoned bunker, Hunt settles down into looking for something though our crew has no idea what that something is. The weirdness settles in almost immediately as our crew is fired upon from the trees by an unseen force. They return fire with extreme prejudice and surely they though they would have hit SOMETHING considering how much firepower they laid out, but a quick recon revealed absolutely nothing. DC realizes that they are dealing with a different kind of foe here… oh if only he knew. When our crew finds a pile of dead bodies in this bunker, albeit with one dude still alive within this pile in a catatonic state, they start thinking that maybe this quick little gig should be cut a bit short. If these cats knew what I know then they would already know that this gig IS getting cut short, just in a way they would not like. It turns out those freaky Nazi scientist, who are always mucking around with stuff they shouldn’t be, have gone and done it again, this time creating… well… you  should see for yourself what they have gone and created. Damn Nazi’s.

A horror movie as visual art. Rarely, if ever, have I used those two words together, but I believe it is appropriate when describing ‘Outpost’ which is one of the most visually effective horror films that I’ve seen in a very long time. Director Steve Barker, working in conjunction with his cinematographer Gavin Struthers, has taken very seriously the use of light in their film and how it affects everything within the movie. It’s one thing to have a great claustrophobic location, which they have in abundance with this abandoned Nazi Bunker that they have designed, it is something else to imbue it with the atmosphere and dread that these guys have done with this location. From the minute they walk into the bunker, lit initially with only hand held fluorescent lights, you have the immediately feeling that something is terribly wrong and it all could go off in an instant. ‘Outpost’ is lit so well and so dynamically that it should almost be a film school primer on how to light a scene for maximum effect.

Unfortunately, despite the spectacular atmosphere in ‘Outpost’, this is not to say that it is a good movie. Sadly the filmmakers didn’t do nearly as much with all of this great setup as we would have liked. ‘Outpost’ isn’t a bad film by any stretch, and ultimately is entertaining, it just seemed like it could have been so much more as far as being a ‘scary’ movie. There were glimpses that this is what the filmmakers were going for as it had some very scary scenes early on but midway through the film seemed to change direction from being a scary flick and turned into an action based shootemup, at which it was far less effective.

As the tone turned so did the logic, as much logic as you can have in a movie featuring disappearing, reappearing Nazi zombies. In one instance the Nazi’s were supernatural, appearing out of thin air and then in the final showdown, when they could have simply done the whole ‘thin air’ thing and dispatched with these dudes, they just walked into a hailstorm of bullets all zombiefied like, which didn’t seem to make a heck of a lot a sense. But then we are dealing with regenerating supernatural Nazi zombies, and zombies aren’t exactly the smartest monsters on the block, no matter how awesome their time displacement abilities may be.

The film was highlighted by very good performance by bunch a dudes who looked and spoke the walk of hardened mercs. Actor Ray Stevenson was fantastic as the Tough as Nails leader of this hardened crew and showed me that he has more than what it takes to relieve Thomas Jane as the next Frank Castle in the new ‘Punisher’ movie, and I also dug Enoch Frost as the bitter African merc Cotter. This poor man has a look that’s probably going to keep him typecast as mean, angry, bitter upset tough guys for the majority of his career, but it worked to perfection here.

‘Outpost’ was an above average film that seemed like it could have been simply fantastic had the filmmakers kept the narrative focused more on the ‘fright’ and less on the ‘might’. But even considering its various flaws it is still a movie well worth seeing.

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