Outpost
OUTPOST. 2007
Director: Steve Barker

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



Outpost Set, we're unconvincingly informed, in "Eastern Europe, today," Outpost (2007) appears to have been filmed in a wooded lot & a clearing down the road apiece. Even during the mercenaries' long trek across the countryside to get to said clearing, they pass nothing, see nothing, experience nothing specific to Eastern Europe. So as for setting a mood of place & time, not a bit of it.

A man with mysterious purpose (Julian Wadham) hires mercenaries in a bar, apparently chosen for their variety of foreign accents. Accents pass as "character," Brett Fancy faking a Russian accent making him distinct from Ray Stevenson impersonating Sean Connery & Ennoch Frost doing a South African accent, and so on, coming off a little like a cartoon with only one person doing all the voices using every accent he knows.

There's an army in the area, plus insurgency fighters, though we never see representatives of either category, & we're provided no sense of what part of Eastern Europe, today, is plagued by insurgency fighters. It's all kept generic, like the film itself. The advance promotions tell us what the film can't prove, that this takes palce in Kosovo.

So our ragtag band of mercenaries sneaks around in an acre of some park pretending they're forging a path through a forest, avoiding the alleged insurgency or unspecific national army. This is dragged out interminably, purely as padding so that a ten-minute story has a chance of reaching a feature-length status.

OutpostThe array of actors struggle mightily to provide scowly grizzled performances & they're not responsible for the film's foolishness. If anyone ever again trusts them with character-actor performances I'm sure they'll repair the damage this film has done them.

After dragging us through the boring wooded lot forever, they finally arrive at the clearing where there's an underground Nazi bunker.

This is the set for the rest of the film, a long-abandoned bunker wherein the batteries still work when the slim plot requires them to work, & don't work when the cameraman wants to film lots of flashlights. The filmmakers have only a few technical skills, & ability to effect eerie lighting is one of them. Too bad scriptwriting & basic story logic weren't included in the skill list.

The bunker is quite big underground but could still have been the basement of the Roxy. The bunker is a stand-in for a haunted house, providing spooky shadows, glimpses of Nazi silhouettes in the corners, eventually a pile of unrotted corpses from World War II, including one that's still alive.

At first the mercenaries think these are the bodies of Jews killed by the Nazis, because how often do we find a pile of sixty or seventy year old corpses still fresh & new. But no, they're the Nazis themselves, & the one who is semi-alive is the evil Nazi Sergent Major (Scott Pedan, who has no speaking lines so gives only a manniken performance, but his make-up design is one of the film's few effective bits, he's creepy just sitting there).

Eventually the the "ideas" for the film will explain why they corpses weren't rotted, but that's provided well after the moronic first assumpion by the mercenaries that a pile of naked corpses might stay unrotted for six decades or so.

OutpostThe pile of corpses & the ghostly presence of monster-masked Nazis are the result of a nazi experiment in the bunker to manipulate time & space. They were trying to create immortal warriors who could appear anywhere in the world in an instant, but all they ended up with was this bunker haunted by themselves.

The guy who hired the mercenaries wants the machine that caused this, for investors who sound pretty demonic themselves but never enter into the story. While Nazi time travel zombie-ghosts capture our mercenaries one by one & torture them, the boss tries to get the time device started running.

None of it makes any sense of course, it's one of the worst thought out scripts ever. The film comes to a screeching halt at one point for the wackiest mumbo jump crackpot lecture explaining the time travel S. S. officers' immortality & how they're trapped in the time warp because the machine's not on but everything will be fine if they can get the machine to work. Then the "story" if it is one starts up again.

The "highlights" of the film are the gory torture scenes, few & short but pretty gross. The bulk of the time is spent firing machine guns at the ghost-nazis who are scarcely troubled by hails of bullets but it gives the requisit filmic illusion that sometlhing is happening when it's not.

Mercenaries vs Nazi time travel torture zombies should've had much more exploitation value, even without a good story. I swear, if I'd seen the script for one going-over before shooting, I could've made it sensible enough to get by, but as it stands, it's like no one involved understood storytelling even at its most rudimentary level.

And the faces of the unknown cast were worn & weary enough they could've been such a relief from the youth casting of most horror. But there's less characterization than on some vintage video game so it really doesn't matter who does what to whom; doesn't matter who lives longest or who dies soonest.

If such retro E.C. Comics shtick as "squish your head like a grape" strikes you as just the thing, you might like it, but even such immature crap as that arrived too little too late to save the film by weight of gore alone. Of the many Weird War movies, this one most resembles the equally awful The Bunker (2001), & may have been influenced by such, uhm, "classic" Nazi Zombies films as Shock Waves (1977). But if you want to see a good one featuring soldiers vs the weird, try Dog Soldiers (2002) or The Keep (1983).

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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