Recent years have put Britain back on the horror map, right bang where it belongs. So, what’s Outpost all about? Apart from being a well-made low budget UK horror film about undead Nazis? And what is its position in UK horror history?
Horror aficionados will know that the UK has rediscovered its love of making horror films in recent years. The last time it churned them out as regularly as this was in the Hammer House of Horror years, when vampiresses were real vampiresses, werewolves knew how to howl properly and Christopher Lee was the vampire pin-up of choice.
Recent years have put Britain back on the horror map, right bang where it belongs. Initally we had the flawed but vastly entertaining ‘The Hole’ (starring a saucy young Keira Knightley). Then a whole slew of horror movies poured forth, ranging from the groundbreaking films that have made horror history (‘Dog Soldiers’, ’28 Days Later’, ‘Severance’, ‘The Descent’, ‘Shaun of the Dead’, even…) to the ones that should have stayed in the underground where they belonged (‘Creep’).
So, what’s Outpost all about? And what is its position in UK horror history?
Well, the initial plot’s good fun. In a seedy bar in a town ravaged by war, mysterious businessman Hunt hires ex-marine D.C. to assemble a crack team of ex-soldiers to protect him on a dangerous journey into no-man’s land. To this gang of hardened warriors, battle-worn veterans and borderline criminals killing is just a job – and one they enjoy. Their mission – to scope out an old military bunker.
It should be easy – 48 hours at the most. Lots of cash for little risk, or so he says. Once at the outpost, the men make a horrific discovery that turns their mission on its head – the scene of a bloody and gruesome series of experiments, carried out by the Nazis on their own soldiers during WWII. Hurrah! Amid the carnage, they find something even more disturbing – someone who’s still alive. As war rages above ground and a mysterious enemy emerges from the darkness below, D.C. and his men find themselves trapped in a claustrophobic and terrifying scenario. Their mission is no longer one of safe-guarding – it’s one of survival. Together they must discover why Hunt has brought them to the outpost – and what it is that’s killing them off, one by one.
Horror fans can find merit in nearly any horror film, no matter how bad the film in question might seem on the surface. While a horror film might fail in visceral display, or suspense, it might succeed in comedy, or lineage, or cinematography… and ‘Outpost’, sadly, just isn’t up there with Dog Soldiers (although neither is it as mesmerisingly awful as ‘Creep’).
The plot, if you sum it up in a paragraph, initially has everything going for it. Grizzled mercenaries? Check. Scary evil Nazis that should have died half a century ago? Fantastic.
Now here’s the bad news: Plot. Not summed up in a paragraph but lasting over a whole film. Sadly, ensuing events after the mercenaries find that Nazi are so presposterous that you will be gasping not with shock but at the audacity of the writer. And because the film is full of brute sweating mercanary men being gritty and realistic, you can’t laugh at the (*spoiler removed*), because – for a horror movie featuring holes in time and undeadish Nazis – the film takes itself very seriously indeed.
The good news is that the cinematography is ace – lots of blanched gritty desaturation, lots of fab landscape that hasn’t had palm trees flown in to make it look like an Indiana Jones set, and the murky bunkers do a fair job of adding suspense.
And the visceral display isn’t bad either – nicely done, with ‘surprise’ moments that aren’t groundbreaking but are neatly handled.
And, let’s face it, a film where the main people get picked off one by one always works out in the end. You want them to live? You keep watching with your fingers crossed. You want them to die? Good news! Most of them do!
I’m sorry to have seemed like such a spoilsport. I’m not saying you shouldn’t watch this movie. You should! It’s a nicely-acted British horror movie with some good moments in it, and anything with undeadish Nazis in it can’t be all bad. Just lower your expectations (it ain’t no Dog Soldiers – but then, to be fair, few things are) and you’ll enjoy it for what it is – a gritty, well-made low budget horror movie that doesn’t feature Paris Hilton.
In all, ‘Outpost’ won’t set your horror-loving little heart aflame, but is worth watching just so you know you’ve supported decent low budget horror and ensured the continued financial support of horror in the British film industry.
Do your part for your country, soldier! Watch this film!