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outpost

What’s it About?

In war-torn Eastern Europe, a world-weary group of mercenaries discover a long-hidden secret in an abandoned WWII bunker.

“Outpost”

Directed by Steve Barker

7 out of 10

Director Steve Barker (Outpost 2 – Black Sun) packs quite a bit of action, terror, back story and craft in the short running time of about an hour and a half. Outpost, a British Horror flick,  is lean, tight, well shot and has a terrifying story to serve as the springboard to some wicked goings on. Be warned though – Outpost is bleak, claustrophobic and dark. It is quite an unconventional horror film that serves as part history lesson and part cautionary tale about the futility of scientists playing God.

Outpost does not project any pretenses. Once we get all the info we need it boils down to Barker and his writers Rae Brunton and Kieran Parker to provide the appropriate chills and suspense. More often than not Outpost really works on a few levels. Sometimes, sadly it suffers from some kind of damn underwhelming execution that pisses me off because the reason eludes me. But oh well. It’s a well put together flick that is unsettling and briskly horrific.

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In a run down bar in Eastern Europe a scientist named Hunt (Julian Wadham) recruits a Merc simply named DC (Ray Stevenson / Dexter and Thor ) into providing some back up in the ways of ex -soldiers for a mission to check out and investigate an abandoned underground military  bunker.  DC accepts and gets his men ready to escort Hunt to his mysterious location.

We get to know some of the soldiers en route and they all seem very tough as nails and bad ass. Some get along while a couple of others clash. One dude, Prior, (Richard Brake)  seems to be an atheist of huge proportions while another is a devout Christian. Stuff like that. The dynamics established by Barker are well fleshed out and of course Hunt and DC remain the stoic and steeliest of them all. This is a horror flick so upon reaching the bunker and doing some recon they get underground and things immediately take a turn for the worst.

Seems that the SS has been busy dabbling with field theory, re-animating corpses and timeline shifting. All in a day’s work. Barker and his writers, while not breaking new ground here, keep the SS angle about creating super soldiers that never die pretty interesting if not very detailed. Hunt discovers a machine and without DC knowing sends out a communication to request more back up now that he has found the device built by the SS to  manipulate time and space.

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They also find a bald and scarred man (Johnny Meres) that never speaks and he turns out to be a deadly piece of the puzzle. While Hunt tinkers with the machine and tries to turn it on the soldiers face a bigger threat that comes not only from the surrounding woods but from inside the bunker as well. I’ll give you one guess…Yep. Super uber-cool and deadly un-dead Nazi zombies. Not your conventional zombie but more like huge knife wielding un-dead mofo’s. They can’t be stopped and are slowly taking over the bunker by eliminating DC’s men. Hunt tells DC that some large un-named Corporation sent him to retrieve the machine.

At one point Barker takes us on a history stroll using some old 8mm reels that includes some well done and nasty animation outlining the uses and consequences of the SS experiments. It is a cool scene that is quite capable of raising the hair on the back of your neck. Without getting into gory details so you can enjoy how this eerie and memorable horror movie unfolds I will tell you that it is worth your time.

Outpost resembles other such genre films like The Fog, Deathwatch and to a much lesser degree Dead Snow. Like I mentioned earlier it is brisk and packs a punch in the right places. The un-dead soldiers are not revealed in all their gory detail. They stay hidden, elusive and dangerous. They appear then disappear. As the film winds down to DC and Hunt trying the stave off the un-dead Director Barker throws in a very neat twist regarding the survivor the men found.

The score by James Brett is actually quite good taking advantage of some moody and heavy strings to propel the suspense and dread.  DP Gavin Struthers supplies dark and closed in photography that works in the film’s favor during the tight and scary sequences. I found much to like in Outpost and I would have scored it higher but some of the actors really fell flat in places where we should have had some kick in the performances. I nitpick though. “Outpost” is fun and brief but worth a watch for it’s interesting back story which involves the discovery of yet more horrifying scenarios played out by those naughty SS bastards. Enjoy.

“Outpost II – Black Sun” (2012) is the sequel by Steve Barker as well.  Stay Tuned for the Review!

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