Film Review: Outpost at Dead by Dawn 2008, 24 May, Filmhouse, Edinburgh

28 Apr

Outpost

Are there any films that couldn’t be improved by the addition of a few Nazis or zombies? Patrick Swayze fighting Hitler’s hordes in Dirty Dancing or the odd rampage (or shuffle) of death from a few living dead in any Will Ferrell film could bring them a whole new audience that would otherwise shun them. Though in the case of Ferrell that might still be a struggle.

So what happens when you combine the two, create a Zombie-Nazi-Action-Horror movie and film it in Dumfries and Galloway on a tight budget? You get Outpost, one of the first films screened at this years Dead by Dawn Festival at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse.

Recruited by a mysterious businessman to accompany him deep into modern-day Eastern Europe, DC (Rome‘s Ray Stevenson) assembles a rag-tag group of mercenaries to assist. They’re soon holed up in a military bunker and surrounded by both dense forest and an enemy that doesn’t play by the normal rules of warfare…because they’re vicious Nazi zombies, in case you hadn’t guessed…

This is a dark film, both in subject matter and in look. Nazi experiments gone wrong are never going to be cheery, but the clever use of animation in one scene to represent old propaganda is genuinely chilling, looking just like footage glimpsed in numerous BBC2 war documentaries.

The near constant darkness of both the bunker and the forest is a definite bonus to the cash strapped production team, and any limitations in this area barely register as the action heats up.

In the end what really matters is how those zombie Nazis look and act. The good news is that they’re brilliantly done, appearing in the background of a scene one moment, only to vanish the next, reappearing soon after to cause bloody havoc. Nobody is safe in Outpost. The picking off of the soldiers one-by-one is de rigeur in genre movies and is done justice by the newbies involved here.

There’s blood and gore aplenty here, though it never comes across as overtly gruesome. Well, maybe bullets being hammered into an eye socket or two could be deemed gruesome, but it’s so fast moving that you’re onto the next scene before there’s time to consider it in too much detail.

Until more filmmakers decide to insert the undead into their bland, teen friendly features, it’s well worth giving Outpost a chance.

Review by Jonathan Melville

Outpost is released on May 16 in the UK, visit the website for full details.

View the trailer

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