Outpost (DVD)

It’s been a long time since Nazi zombies have shuffled across the big screen, and memories of such crap fodder such as Shock Waves and Zombie Lake still haunt horror lovers around the world. Outpost is designed to put those rotting demons to rest in a bunker far, far away.

Outpost follows a crack team of battle-hardened mercenaries on a routine mission to protect a mysterious businessman through the no-man’s land of war-torn Eastern Europe. All well and good until he leads them to an underground outpost where they unwittingly reawaken a lurking terror that soon changes their mission from one of safeguarding to one of survival: they must battle a paranormal army that nobody knows how to fight against. Unnerving, shocking and downright frightening, Outpost is one of the most effective horror movies I’ve seen in a very long time. Played totally straight by a perfectly selected cast of quality character actors it’s a traditional “haunted house” style movie with the added bonus of zombies. Special mention has to go to Johnny Meres who plays the lead zombie, The Breather. His performance is truly outstanding, and you just can’t take your eyes off him when he’s on screen. The script doesn’t waste a second and keeps the story and plot pulses coming at a machine gun rate which hopefully signals a new era of horror. At last it seems we’re moving away from the dreaded torture porn genre that has oh-so-overstayed its welcome.

The movie is shot with such a bleached and washed-out palette that you feel the cold and eeriness the team are experiencing. Not since I saw John Carpenter’s The Thing have I felt this much chill factor. As you’d expect Outpost has plenty of grit, gore and aggression but this isn’t the secret to the horror of the piece, it’s in the waiting and listening to all the small noises that whisper in your ears as you wait for the next big shock. It’s these quieter moments that conjure up the biggest scares. The set decoration is quite amazing; each room is decked in authentic paraphernalia and detail. The first time we see the Nazi insignia is truly horrific and used to full effect.

The whole movie has a string-lead score from James Brett that helps to create the claustrophobic atmosphere without ever diluting the horror. It never relies on clichéd musical stabs to try and increase the fear. Steve Barker, here making his feature debut delivers a movie with such vision and impact that one can only salivate at what celluloid classics he’s going to deliver in his career. Easily the best horror movie of the year so far and a possible contender for the horror movie of the decade.

EXTRAS *** An audio commentary with director Steve Barker and producer Keiran Parker, six deleted scenes, an alternate opening and ending, the theatrical trailer and a behind-the-scenes featurette.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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