Outpost (2007)

Outpost (2007)

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"So... any idea who built this bunker?"
“So… any idea who built this bunker?”

Twitter Plot Summary: A mercenary team find a bunker in Eastern Europe where the Nazis once conducted secret experiments.

Genre: Action/Horror/Sci-Fi

Director: Steve Barker

Key Cast: Ray Stevenson, Julian Wadham, Richard Brake, Paul Blair, Brett Fancy, Enoch Frost, Julian Rivett, Michael Smiley, Johnny Meres

Five Point Summary:

1. A mission into a non-specified section of Eastern Europe? Yeah go on then.
2. Oh – a breather. Literally, there’s one still alive.
3. Was that additional pairs of feet on the other side of the table…?
4. Message sent and message received.
5. Ooh look, the machine is…never mind.

Ray Stevenson leads a mercenary team into war-torn Eastern Europe at the behest of well spoken English man Julian Wadham. The team, a veritable hotch-potch of nationalities and personalities, arrive at a bunker in the middle of a field where their radio dishes out a high pitched frequency, rendering it useless, and they come under fire from unknown assailants. Forced to seek refuge down in the bunker, the group discover that most chilling of things… a long lost edition of Top of the Pops. No, of course that’s not it – they actually find details of a secret Nazi experiment that resulted in the creation of Nazi zombies!

The script from Rae Brunton is in no rush to fling said zombies at us, rather it is content to slowly build up the tension and present a drip feed of information for the first 30-40 minutes. While we as an audience grow increasingly tense about the situation (at least, in theory), this is mirrored by the tensions building between the mercenaries and with the man who brought them there. The direction from Steve Barker helps ratchet up this tension slowly and deliberately until eventually we discover exactly what happened down in that bunker during World War 2. The zombies for once do not adhere to the zombie movie playbook – they are not interested in eating living flesh and/or brains, nor are they susceptible to a bullet to the head. They truly are an unstoppable, unnatural force to be reckoned with, which is a scary concept in itself. How do you stop an enemy that can’t be killed or destroyed by conventional methods? This is one aspect of the Nazi Zombie sub-genre that I’m a big fan of – by changing up the standard zombie rules you freshen things up and help the zombie genre as a whole move forward and not labour on past successes.

It had been the longest game of chess ever.
It had been the longest game of chess ever.

It builds to an inevitable conclusion, more Night of the Living Dead than Dawn of the Dead in its outcome. You can also probably guess that people are bumped off one by one – it’s almost inevitable with this kind of setup. Whilst there are a few inconsistencies or unexplained aspects regarding the full story, the action itself is well portrayed, in particular given that, when it happens, it all takes place in tight corridors. To sum it up, it’s cheap effects done well, and as we all know, zombie films live or die on their effects. There’s not a huge amount of gore, but what little there is is presented well.

Outpost stands to be blamed for creating the Nazi zombie sub-genre, which is both a good and a bad thing depending on your perspective. As is typical of zombie films as a whole, they’re divided between either pretty good or pretty bad – much like Marmite there is no middle ground. This applies just as equally to the Nazi zombie sub-genre, you’ll either have a good film or a bad one. Outpost is one of the good ones, an exercise in not showing your hand too early but not being deathly boring whilst building to the big reveal.

Favourite scene: The feet under the table. Almost too subtle.

Quote: “By early 1945, the party was over. The war was essentially lost and the German military machine was falling apart. All the files show that the SS sent in a unit to shut this place down. And as far as I can see, nobody walked out alive.”

Silly Moment: You mean Nazi zombies isn’t silly enough?

Score: 3.5/5

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