Title: Outpost (2008)
Director: Steve Barker
Cast: Ray Stevenson, Julian Wadham, Richard Brake, Michael Smiley,
My search for that awesome Nazi zombie continues. So far Dead Snow continues to be the #1 Nazi zombie movie for me, nothing out there has topped it yet. Outpost was one of those nazi zombie movies that has managed to elude me. The other two being Oasis of the Zombies and The Bunker, but Im not in a huge hurry to see them. Still my Tireless Reader, I promise to get to them, just so we have that whole Nazi zombie sub-genre thing covered in its entirety.
Outpost is the story of a group of mercenaries who are getting payed by a private firm to search out an abandoned military bunker in Eastern Europe . They are promised that it’s a small operation, in and out, 48 hours the most. The leader of the mercenaries isn’t quite sure that they are going to search for minerals as he was told. The whole team suspects that the true meaning of their search is another. Soon, they discover that the abandoned military bunker used to belong to Nazis that were participating in some sort of experiment that deals with the re-animation of dead soldiers! It isn’t long before the team begins to get attacked by Nazi zombies! What exactly has this team of mercenaries been sent to look for? Can the team escape from the bunker with their lives?
So this low budget flick has a lot of good things for it. First of all, I have to give props to the filmmakers for making this film look better than it should look. This is a very low budget production, the filmmakers even mortgaged their home to make it, but their efforts paid off because the film got some critical acclaim and it was released in theaters in Britain, the films country of origin. These filmmakers were smart, since they had little money they cut back their costs by setting their film in the woods and in a claustrophobic military bunker, filled with shadows and darkness. The bunker setting made me remember films with a similar premise, like for example John Carpenter’s The Thing. You know the premise because its been reused to death in horror films. Basically you take a bunch of paranoid/scared dudes, you locke them up in a claustrophobic environment and then you have them go nuts amongst themselves. That’s what we get with Outpost. During the course of the film, characters get on each others nerves, they betray each other, despise each other, but they have to learn to pull together or perish.
I thought it was interesting how the film addresses the issue of belief. Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot films and documentaries that kind of question the way things are. I swear I’m not doing this on purpose! These are the kind of themes that are appearing in films today, questioning beliefs, questioning society, defying the way things are. For example, on Outpost we have two conflicting characters. One is a soldier who beliefs in god and country, going to church and all that, while we have another constantly defying his beliefs, telling him things like “nothing happens after we die, we just die” and this happens a lot during the movie, the questioning of the idea of god and what happens after death. This theme matches perfectly with the film because in essence this is a ghost movie. It’s never really explained very well, but apparently what we get in the film is a mix between zombies and ghosts. Kind of like the same thing that they did in Blood Creek, where we had a mix of zombies with vampires. So amongst other things, this film questions the afterlife and our belief in it, something that is commonly done in films that deal with the supernatural.
This movie handles suspense and atmosphere very well. The setting of the bunker is appropriately spooky for the kind of film this is. Lots of dark corners and passageways, you get a feeling of claustrophobia. My only problem is that the Nazi zombies take a little too long to appear. For a huge part of the film we don’t really see them up close and personal. This is another great way to save money in make up effects; you keep your characters hidden in the background, in shadows and silhouettes. On this movie, Id say that this worked great, it makes the group of Nazi zombies look more menacing.
On the downside, the film is so low budget that its scare techniques are very low key in nature. The Nazi zombies actually take a while to show up on screen, you get impatient when its been more than 40 minutes without a freaking zombie. But on the plus side, it does build up suspense very well, so I guess it compensates for that. Whenever the Nazi zombies appear in the forest, they do so with a blinding bolt of light that comes from the forest. The soldiers are attacked by a supernatural gust of wind. The Nazi zombies are some times kept far away in the woods, we see their silhouettes far in the woods, and whenever they get close and personal their faces are kept in shadows. Still, for a low budget flick, I say it could have been worse. If anything, what the film demonstrates is that all these filmmakers need is some cash to make a truly great film. So its one of those films that shows promise, but is set back by its budgetary limitations. Dead Snow is still my top choice for best Nazi zombie movie, followed by Shockwaves. Outpost could go on the #3 spot. Not a bad film, but it could have been so much more. Maybe things will turn out better in the proposed sequel: Outpost II: Black Sun.
Rating: 3 out of 5