OCTOBER 26, 2010
One of my longtime readers has been requesting Outpost for a while now, so I felt a sigh of relief when the movie ended and I realized it was pretty damn good. I’d hate to be like “What the hell, man? Why you making me watch this drivel!” So, good call! Think Neil Marshall directing The Keep and you’ll have a decent idea of what’s in store in this underrated minor gem.
The cool thing about the movie (to me anyway) is that its exciting even before it becomes a horror movie. It starts off as a modern day men on a mission movie, with Ray Stevenson (how is this guy not a bigger star?) leading a team of various ex-soldiers, hired by a mysterious businessman who wants to check out an old bunker from WWII. I love this sort of scenario, and even if it turned out to be a typical action movie I probably would have enjoyed it, since it was actually shot in Eastern Europe for authenticity, and the rogue’s gallery of badasses were a delightful lot.
But then – undead Nazis! I hesitate to call them Nazi zombies, because they don’t turn anyone, they are not seeking their gold, and the gore is minimal, so it’s sort of missing the key features of a typical Nazi zombie movie. But they are undead, and they are numerous. And they even have a pretty good explanation for their existence – the bunker houses a machine designed by Nazi scientists that was aiming to create a super-soldier. The team accidentally turned the machine back on, resurrecting a number (but not too many, which to me makes things scarier) of soldiers, plus a general/commander/whatever type who is spooky-looking as hell.
There were a number of surprising elements too. For starters, the shady business guy doesn’t sell them out. Sure, the soldiers don’t like him much, and they butt heads more than once, but it’s not like he traps them all there and fends for himself like Burke in Aliens or whatever, and it’s he who comes up with the plan to escape. That doesn’t stop him from getting in some great snippy lines towards the others though, particularly when one of them accuses him of having no clue what to do (as if he should) and he retorts “The last time you found yourself dealing with the undead, what did you do?” Heh. I liked the guy.
Plus, the Nazi dudes are pretty vicious. I hope I’m not spoiling anything by saying the number of survivors is pretty low, and they kill the living fuck out these dudes. At one point, three or four of them gather around one soldier, they all draw blades and proceed to stab the shit out of him over and over in unison. Even Rob Zombie’s Michael Myers would think that was overkill (interestingly, actor Richard Brake, best known as the guy who says the F word about 9000 times in Halloween II, is one of the soldiers). There’s also a horrifying scene where they stick a knife inside a guy’s mouth and slide it on his teeth – GAH!!!
It’s also quite well directed. Some might disapprove of director Steve Barker’s decision to leave a key death off-screen, but I liked it, it was sort of tasteful – and really, what’s the “best” way to depict the horrible death of a major hero? Either way, the film is great to look at throughout – the scope imagery fits well, and like The Descent, it’s dark but filled with enough contrast to keep it from being an ugly mess. The early, pre-explanation scenes are quite eerie and drenched with atmosphere, and the big action scenes are as exciting as they should be. And the script by Rae Brunton never lags, nor does it make it obvious who will live or die first – always a plus.
The only technical issue I had was with the music, which was often overbearing and ill-fitting with the scene. It also frequently took on that repetitive and obnoxious dun-dun-DUN-DUN-dun-dun-DUN-DUN motif that you hear in stuff like the Bourne movies or the Kate Beckinsale thriller Whiteout. It’s an atmospheric movie, but the score seems to be straight out of Bruckheimer. Something a little more subtle and sparse would have been far more enjoyable, I think.
The disc’s only extra besides a bunch of trailers are some deleted/extended scenes, nothing of major importance. Seeking more info than the disc offered, I discovered that a sequel is in the works, though whether it was actually shot yet seems to be a mystery – the website says they plan to shoot in early 2010 but there have been no further updates (meaning: it didn’t happen). Hopefully it does, even though it sounds like a prequel (sigh), I think these guys have some chops, and a little undead Nazi action never hurt anybody.
What say you?