Yeah, I thought that headline might grab your attention. It’s been over a week since Halloween, and I still haven’t blogged about what I watched that night. Usually, for me, Halloween is a time for getting reacquainted with an old favorite, like the holiday’s namesake from 1978. The evening’s viewing, whatever it may be, functions a bit like a security blanket. Comfortable. Dependable. Guaranteed to please. Only this year, I did something different. I unwrapped the crinkly cellophane from the jewel case and popped a movie that I’d never seen before into the player—a movie that’s like a cross between Predator and The Fog.
Outpost is an ambitious little British title from 2008, about an international cadre of mercenaries in some unnamed Eastern Europe warzone. Ray Stevenson, fresh from Rome, is the steely leader of the bunch. Julian Wadham, meanwhile, plays the shifty engineer who hired them. Ostensibly, he’s looking for minerals. Actually, he’s looking for an old SS bunker—on behalf of some shady and very wealthy backers, naturally. The bunker houses a wartime experiment designed to produce invulnerable soldiers, and when the ragtag mercenaries find it, messy deaths follow.
I enjoyed Outpost very much, due in no small part to the impressively dank set design and lighting. The story doesn’t stand up to too much scrutiny, though. For one thing, the bunker seems to be located a short walk from a well-maintained country road. In all the years since 1945, no one stumbled across it and disturbed the ethereal Nazis who reside in the area? And the ending, in which the survivors decide to draw the undead troops into the bunker, makes no sense, since we’ve seen the specters in the grimy halls and quarters many times already. But these are minor quibbles if the viewer, like me, is just looking for some decent, well-made entertainment. With an orchestral score, no less. How often do you hear that in a low budget horror movie?
The characters are underwritten at the expense of story progression, but the acting is solid. And all the actors are British, which came as a surprise—Brett Fancy and Enoch Frost, playing Russian and African respectively, are quite convincing. And while the hulking Stevenson is an effective central presence, Paul Blair’s Jordan, the only soldier who dares to occasionally drop the tough guy act, makes a bigger impression. Thankfully, he makes it to the end … almost. Jordan also has the creepiest scene I’ve seen in ages, when he goes, all alone, to check out a room full of German corpses. They are dead, right? Hey, get your mitts on Outpost and see for yourself. It’s got the OP-dEaD blood-spattered seal of approval.