Outpost (2008 film)
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Outpost is a 2008 British war horror film, directed by Steve Barker and written by Rae Brunton, about a rough group of experienced mercenaries who find themselves fighting for their lives after being hired to take a mysterious businessman into the woods to locate a World War II-era military bunker.
|Directed by||Steve Barker|
|Written by||Rae Brunton|
|Produced by||Arabella Croft|
|Edited by||Alastair Reid|
|Music by||James Seymour Brett|
In a seedy bar in a town ravaged by war, scientist and businessman Hunt (Julian Wadham) hires former Royal Marine turned mercenary D.C. (Ray Stevenson) to assemble a crack team of ex-soldiers – Prior (Richard Brake), Jordan (Paul Blair), Cotter (Enoch Frost), Voyteche (Julian Rivett), McKay (Michael Smiley) and Taktarov (Brett Fancy) – to protect him on a dangerous journey into no-man's land. Their mission is to scope out an old military bunker in Eastern Europe, likely in Kosovo. Voyteche, one of the mercenaries, claims that there is nothing important located in the area they are heading to. As the mercenaries approach their destination, they hear sounds of fighting off in the distance; fighter jets pass overhead, and artillery can be heard as well. As they make their way through the woods an intense burst of static knocks out their radio communications. The mercenaries speculate as to what their job is and why they have been hired.
Reaching their destination, the team discoveries that the location is a seemingly abandoned bunker complex. Leaving two of the mercenaries, Jordan and Taktarov, above ground to watch their backs, the rest of the team fans out and begins to explore the outpost. Above ground, Jordan notices a flash of light coming from the tree line. The two mercenaries assume that it is sunlight flashing off a scope and open fire, causing the rest of the team to come racing back up the top. Another burst of static is heard over the team’s radio, and suddenly radio operator McKay is wounded. D.C. soon realizes that it doesn’t seem like anyone is actually out there, as the only shot fired in return was the one which wounded McKay. Taktarov, who had continued to fire after D.C. ordered a halt, is sent out into the tree line in order to check for a body or blood. He returns a minute later to report that there was no sign of a shooter— no bodies, no blood, not even shell casings to indicate anyone had been there.
The mercenaries get back to work exploring the bunker; despite it seemingly having been abandoned for decades they discover a small modern metal crucifix necklace dangling in a forgotten corner of the bunker. Locating the bunker’s generator, D.C. and Hunt get to work restoring the power. Cotter and McKay discover a room filled with corpses and are horrified when an arm sudden shoots up from the pile of corpses. They frantically call for Jordan, the team’s medic. D.C. leaves Prior to protect Hunt while he and Jordan race to the scene and begin tending to the survivor, Götz (Johnny Meres).
As the lights come on, Prior discovers a room with a projector screen. Lifting it up, a flag can be seen on the wall behind it. Prior then slowly steps back, revealing the swastika on the flag — the emblem of the Nazi Party.
The mercenaries begin interrogating Götz, who is catatonic, with McKay being particularly demanding. The mercenaries assume that local paramilitaries had used the bunker to hide the evidence of ethnic cleansing. Prior shows them the Nazi flag he found, and Jordan suggests that there might be a stockpile of Nazi gold, looted from the nations they conquered, hidden in the bunker. D.C. orders the rest of the team to prepare defenses for a long stay, as they assume whoever shot at them earlier was likewise looking for gold. McKay sets up a command post in a central room, propping Götz up in a nearby chair, while Hunt begins to go through a set of documents. He then heads into a back room where he discovers an odd spherical machine known as Die Glocke — an example of occult Nazi experiments. He reports his discovery to his employers.
Out of boredom, McKay sets up a chessboard on the table between himself and Götz. Going through a box full of personal effects, he discovers an old German coin. Dropping it, McKay reaches down to pick it back up....only to see the jackbooted legs of a pair of men standing next to Götz. Hurriedly throwing himself to the side, McKay readies his rifle, only for there to be no sign of the two men. D.C. wanders into the room to see McKay lying on the floor, and is less than impressed. He sends McKay to try and get the radio working again.
Hunt, meanwhile, is working in the room with Die Glocke; over his shoulder the form of a SS trooper can be seen stepping out of the shadows. A noise is heard in the background, and Hunt heads to the door, but can’t get it open. As he fiddles with it, the SS trooper suddenly looms up behind him, and heavy breathing can be heard; Hunt spins around quickly, only for there to be nothing there again. He is angry, assuming that one of the mercenaries was playing a prank on him. He then fills D.C. in on the premise behind Die Glocke — that it was a project carried out by the SS during World War II, using reality shifting and reanimation to create invincible soldiers.
Additional paranormal events continue to happen to the men in the outpost. McKay manages to get the original bunker radio equipment working, initially producing eerily scream-like static before suddenly switching to classical music. Despite unplugging the radio, McKay is unable to get it to stop functioning before it suddenly shuts itself off in a small explosion.
That night, the clearing around the bunker is suddenly shrouded by an eerie mist, and silhouettes of SS troopers are seen up on the ridgeline, causing the mercenaries to open fire. Despite all their shooting, the figures on the ridge don’t seem to be affected, and an intense windstorm forces the mercenaries to take cover. When they emerge from cover, Taktarov is missing. The mercenaries discover that their claymore land mines are intact, meaning that there wasn’t a way for their enemies to get in close. D.C. discovers an Iron Cross badge and blood on the ground near Taktarov's position. Back in the bunker, Jordan shows D.C. the round he removed while treating McKay’s wound— a German rifle round not in use since the Second World War. The bullet is warped and deformed; the odds that it could have been fired from a rifle are slim. D.C. drags Götz into an interrogation room and threatens him with a pistol; he still doesn’t speak, but he clearly snaps out of his catatonia, indicating it may have been act all along.
D.C. demands answers regarding the assignment from Hunt: an unnamed corporation wanted Hunt to find and recover a large generator-like device responsible for the SS reality-shifting experiments. Hunt thinks that the German experiments with the nature of reality trapped them within the area around the bunker. He reveals that his backers have contacts in Interpol and if the team tries to leave early hit men will be dispatched to go after the mercenaries’ families, as well as his own.
Above ground, Taktarov is brutally tortured and killed by the undead SS; a short time later, as the other mercenaries discuss their pasts and keep watch, Voyteche, who is off on his own on the other side of the perimeter, is silently stabbed to death by a pair of undead SS troopers. The next morning, Voyteche and Taktarov's dead bodies are found joined at the head, with Taktarov's skull containing a spent round. The second killing is the final straw for D.C. Despite the threat of Hunt’s backers, he decides to leave the bunker. Hunt protests vehemently and returns to the generator room, with D.C. sending Cotter to retrieve him.
Cotter reaches the generator room and ignores Hunt’s dire warnings to try and get him ready to leave. Suddenly, Hunt freezes and stares, as the form of another SS trooper emerges behind Cotter. Hearing the heavy breathing and noticing Hunt’s reaction, Cotter orders Hunt to run as he draws his knife and swings at the SS trooper, who ducks and buries a pickaxe in Cotter’s chest. The undead SS soldier then crushes Cotter’s skull, killing him. Hunt snatches up Cotter’s AKM assault rifle and fires several bursts into the SS soldier’s back, which only seems to irritate it. The remaining mercenaries come running, only for the figure to vanish as they fire at it. D.C. and Hunt show the surviving mercenaries the tape of the SS experiments.
It is revealed on the tape that Götz is actually a surviving SS Brigadeführer and the man responsible for running the experiments at the outpost. An enraged Prior promptly shoots him in the head. After Prior kills Götz, the "breather" comes back to life almost immediately. The lights go out, and MacKay is killed, with the team discovering his corpse at the bunker’s entrance. The mercenaries and Hunt attempt to restart Die Glocke to neutralize the powers of the undead SS and trap them to evacuate the outpost.
The surviving mercenaries engage in a battle with the undead SS garrison, now led by Götz. The mercenaries slowly retreat as the undead SS advance into the bunker, using the narrow confines to buy themselves time. Prior delays too long in retreating down one of the corridors and is overrun, but manages to finish off a few of the undead SS before being killed himself. Hunt manages to get Die Glocke working, setting off a shockwave which seemingly disables the attacking undead SS. The unstable machine promptly shuts down again and the SS get back to their feet. Jordan is pulled down a side corridor and killed. D.C. tries to buy time for Hunt to escape through the bunker’s ventilation system, only to be overrun and killed after a heroic last stand. Hunt makes it to a set of doors to an upper level of the outpost, only to be confronted by Götz and his men blocking his way. Hunt is pulled down from behind and killed.
A second corporate team arrives 72 hours later to carry out the same assignment, only to find a "breather" among the piles of naked corpses. The clearing is lit again, revealing the illuminated soldiers surrounding the bunker. In the distance stands the Brigadeführer, who gives the SS soldiers a nod and they begin their assault on the team.
- Julian Wadham as Hunt, "Company" agent
- Ray Stevenson as DC, British Royal Marine Warrant Officer
- Richard Brake as Prior, United States Marine Corps
- Paul Blair as Jordan, French Foreign Legionnaire
- Brett Fancy as Taktarov ("Tak"), Russian Alpha Group
- Enoch Frost as Cotter, Belgian Peacekeeper
- Julian Rivett as Voyteche, Yugoslav military
- Michael Smiley as McKay ("Mac"), British Army Parachute Regiment
- Johnny Meres as Brigadeführer Götz, German SS (Schutzstaffel) Officer ("The Breather")
The film was produced by Scottish couple Arabella Croft and Kieran Parker and their production company Black Camel Pictures. They mortgaged their Glasgow home in order to raise £200,000 to finance production. The script is by Rae Brunton, based on Parker's original concept, which he described as "Platoon meets The Sixth Sense".
Although set in Eastern Europe, filming was done in the ruined WWII Edingham Munitions factory near Dalbeattie, in a forest on the Balmaghie estate near Castle Douglas, and in the Glasgow Film City studio complex in the Govan area of Glasgow. Filming began in January 2007.
Sony Pictures bought distribution rights to the film for £1.2 million. Sony released it directly to DVD in the USA on 11 March 2008. Following favourable reviews, the film was exhibited theatrically across Europe. The film's European premiere was at a gala showing as part of the Dumfries Film Festival on 3 May 2008, followed by limited distribution to 130 UK cinemas.
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Will Brownridge from The Film Reel.com gave the film a positive review, commending the film's acting, and "creepy" zombie design. On his website Ozus' World Movie Reviews, Dennis Schwartz awarded the film a grade C. In his review, Schwartz criticized the film's underdeveloped story, and muddled script, but commended the film's atmosphere, cinematography, music score, and action sequences, calling it "a commercial attempt to pull in some coin during the popular zombie craze sweeping the world of cinema."
Barker returned to helm the 2012 Black Sun but did not return to direct Rise of the Spetsnaz, which was directed by Kieran Parker, one of the producers for Outpost and Black Sun. Both films were largely panned by mainstream critic outlets.
- "Govan zombies taste film success", BBC News website, 16 April 2008
- Document : Film Premiere Comes to Dumfries Archived 23 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Dumfries and Galloway council website, 16 April 2008
- "May programme" Archived 12 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Robert Burns Centre Film Theatre website
- Brownridge, Will. "Outpost - The Film Reel". The Film Reel.com. Will Brownridge. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
- Schwartz, Dennis. "outpost2008". Sover.net. Dennis Schwartz. Archived from the original on 15 January 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
- Hanley, Ken W. "Q&A: Director Kieran Parker on "OUTPOST: RISE OF THE SPETSNAZ"". Fangoria. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
- "Outpost II: Black Sun Begins Casting". Bloody Disgusting. 18 August 2009. Retrieved 25 August 2009.
- Ward, Audrey. "ContentFilm picks up horror sequel Outpost II". Screen Daily. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
- "Outpost: Black Sun". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
- "OUTPOST 3: RISE OF THE SPETSNAZ (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
- Outpost at IMDb
- Outpost: Black Sun at IMDb
- Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz at IMDb
- Outpost at Rotten Tomatoes
- 'Behind The Scenes' Featurette
- Govan zombies taste film success – BBC News, 16 April 2008
- Horror film premiere on horizon – BBC News, 16 April 2008
- Outpost (movie official page) on Facebook
- Outpost 2: Black Sun (movie official page) on Facebook