Review

Review

FEARNET Move Review: 'Outpost: Black Sun'

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outpost black sunYou may have overlooked the 2008 Scottish offering known as Outpost, but seeing as it played multiple genre-friendly film festivals, stars Ray Stevenson, and earned some decent praise from the horror press (myself included), I'm going to assume that FEARnet readers have seen it by now. (It's about a group of soldiers who discover a nasty old Nazi experiment and do not live to regret it.) Those who enjoyed that flick will be pleased to know that not only is there an Outpost 2 available now, but there will soon be a third chapter. For the sake of this review, we'll focus on Steve Barker's Outpost: Black Sun.

Right off the bat I'm tempted to give Outpost: Black Sun a break because of one simple reason: it offers a potentially ridiculous premise, but it does so with a grim tone and an admirably straight face. A sequel that deals with "Nazi super-zombie soldiers" could easily rely on tongue-in-cheek dismissals and a gratingly broad tone (think of SyFy Channel flicks), but Mr. Barker (returning from part one) and his team seem intent on combining espionage, action, horror, and war movies into a flick (nay, a franchise) that doesn't mock its own premise or wink at the audience for an easy chuckle. Taking this stuff seriously means that the filmmakers risk looking silly, but the gamble pays off here.
 
If you've seen the first Outpost, then you already know why Outpost 2 opens with some brand-new characters: the lovely second-generation Nazi hunter known as Lena (Catherine Steadman) and a scientist named Wallace (Richard Coyle) find themselves embroiled in a horrific Nazi plan to destroy the world with a machine that reanimates dead Nazi soldiers into virtually invincible Nazi soldier-zombies. Throw a bunch of nasty villains, a platoon of gruff but mildly heroic commandos, and a few novel twists into the mix, and Outpost: Black Sun ends up a quietly satisfying little multi-genre combination platter.
 
The producers seem to have a little more budget this time around, and co-writer/director Steve Barker shows a fine touch in scenes involving dark locations, undead zombies, and his small handful of action scenes. Strong cinematography and a powerful score help to keep things moving along, but it's the straight-faced yet still comic-bookish screenplay that stands out as a pleasant surprise, plus lead actors Coyle and Steadman do a fine job of building up some chemistry and keeping the wacky premise from ever getting too silly. 
 
A decent enough sequel is an easy recommendation: if you liked Outpost, you'll probably like the second one, and in the realm of low-budget, imported horror movie sequels, that's often more than good enough. Plus I've also always liked Scotland, and they seem to really love their horror films down there. Here's hoping Outpost 3 can close things down nicely.
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