A crack team of battle-hardened mercenaries embark on a routine mission to protect a mysterious businessman through the no-man's land of war-torn Eastern Europe. However, after he leads them to a long forgotten, underground outpost, they unwittingly reawaken a lurking terror that soon changes their mission from one of safe-guarding, to one of survival, as they desperately battle an enemy even they've never faced before.
Directed by: Steve Barker
. Starring: Ray Stevenson
, Julian Wadham
, Richard Brake
, Paul Blair
, Brett Fancy
, Enoch Frost
, Julian Rivett
, Michael Smiley
, Johnny Meres
, Xuki Robeli
, Mark Smith
, Graeme Temple
, Charlie Jeffrey
. Music by: James Seymour Brett
Why ask why? Outpost is the answer to that question. This could have been a kick ass little horror flick if the people who made it had bothered to figure out the "why" of their story instead of plowing forward as if it didn't matter. It has a nice cast, a good look, effective direction and there are moments in it that are fairly well written. The failure to have any rationale or reason for what happens, however, keeps this movie from ever being more than just okay.
A polyglot team of mercenaries is rounded up to escort a mysterious man named Hunt (Richard Brake) into the middle of some nondescript Eastern European war zone. They find a hidden bunker that was once the site of experiments in Nazi super-science and is now dark and empty...or is it? A clump of seeming corpses and the surrounding woods full of vanishing enemies are just the start of the terrors facing these men of war.
Now, first of all, the folks distributing Outpost are trying to pass it off as a zombie movie. It's not. It's a ghost story with some sci-fi exposition. Don't be fooled.
Secondly, while three of the mercenaries are straight out of Ethnic Stereotypes 'R Us and Hunt just serves the Almightly Plot Hammer, there are four nicely drawn and well performed characters on display here. Ray Stevenson as the mercenary leader is a remarkably appealing tough guy. He has an unpolished, unchiseled masculinity that doesn't have to strain for strength and hardness. If the Hollywood marketing machine would stop wasting time with 20something pretty boys and get behind more guys like Stevenson, I bet they'd be happily surprised at the response. There's also a good and unforced dynamic between Richard Burke as a defiant, amoral, atheist and Paul Blair and the religious soldier he confronts and confounds. The script does a fine job of first presenting the fearlessness of Burke's character and the fearfulness of Blair's and then deconstructing them. Burke's guy is ultimately revealed to be kind of crazily self-destructive in his refusal to acknowledge anything greater than himself while Blair's guy is the only one of the group who doesn't delude himself about what they're facing. And Michael Smiley wonderfully captures the true meaning of the word "mercenary".
Thirdly, and most unfortunately, the absence of any logic to who and what the Nazi ghosts are why they do the things they do leaves Outpost with a terribly muddled middle and an ending that, while well executed, doesn't make a lick of sense. In this sort of story, the middle is where you explain what the threat is and why it's being a threat. Those answers then lead into how your heroes are going to fight back or at least escape with their lives. And even if you're going to kill your heroes in the end, the viewer needs to have something to grab onto to make them think the good guys might survive. This film doesn't offer up any of that up. The explanation of the Nazi ghosts is vague and perfunctory and while there's some scary and freaky stuff that happens, there's never any purpose or design behind it. The end result is a final battle that is very well staged but needs these Nazi ghosts that can turn invisible and intangible to materialize and walk slowly forward in solid form so the heroes can repeatedly shoot them.
One of the acid tests for this kind of horror flick is why the evil force doesn't immediately slaughter everyone. The good ones figure out a reason for that. The bad ones don't even bother. Outpost is a weird mix because it's a good one that doesn't bother. There are parts of this script that are just markedly dumber than the rest. Now, given the low standards of the genre, that's not a fatal flaw. It is a shame, though, because this movie could have been so much better with a little more thought.
Review by MBunge from the Internet Movie Database.