OUTPOST (2008) – The Dungeon Review!
Outpost was a recommendation that also happened to be on the Wikipedia zombie list I have been referencing. I stated in last week’s review of The Grapes of Death that zombie films come in many shapes and sizes. Outpost is another film that doesn’t quite fit in the zombie sub-genre. They never refer to the film’s menace as zombies. The word “undead” comes up as does the word “ghost” but they are not quite either of these things. There is a wacky explanation for these bastard’s abilities that involves evil Nazi experiments. Zombies or not, there is much to admire about this low-budget lesser known supernatural flick.
A group of Mercenaries are hired by an engineer named Hunt. Hunt has hired the men to accompany him while he inspects a property. The property is a bunker which the men soon learn belonged to Nazis. They find a pile of dead bodies inside and are shocked to find one of the men is alive. The men hypothesize their benefactor is after Nazi gold but soon learn there are far more sinister forces at play.
First and foremost the production gets top marks visually. It is very washed out and bleak looking and the bunker they explore is an oppressive labyrinth of tunnels and rooms that may actually be creepier with the lights on than off. On the subject of lights off; much of Outpost takes place at night or in dim indoor light but not once did I have any trouble seeing the action. Light and shadow is used extremely well throughout Outpost. It helped create the perfect atmosphere and mood. The film relies heavily on visuals and tension-building and contains very little violence until the finale.
Atmosphere and mood isn’t Outpost’s only strength. The character development is excellent and the dialog and actions of the group felt realistic and natural. I don’t know anything about being a soldier but the men generally acted in what seemed to be a pretty logical manner. The acting in the film is actually quite good. While some of the characters are better developed than others, I couldn’t criticize any of the performances. Particularly strong is Ray Stevenson who plays DC. Unfortunately the same thing cannot be said about their supernatural menace for which the rules seemed a bit willy-nilly. Visually the menace does resemble a zombie although we never get a real clean look. The supernatural Nazi menace is kept slightly shadowed. Outpost isn’t about the blood, gore and effects it’s about tension. The nuggets of information revealed created an impressive sense of dread. Despite the lack of graphic content there are some very effective scenes of violence.
Outpost is well filmed and acted with strong characters and a great mood and atmosphere. The origin of the supernatural menace left me with questions so I look forward to checking out the sequel listed on IMDB as being in post-production. This intense low-budget horror film isn’t without some flaws but Outpost is definitely worth a look. Recommended!
Dungeon Rating: 3.5/5
Directed By: Steve Barker
Starring: Ray Stevenson, Julian Wadham, Richard Brake, Paul Blair, Brett Fancy, Enoch Frost, Julian Rivett, Michael Smiley, Johnny Meres