Sony // 2008 // 90 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // February 29th, 2008
You can't kill what's already dead.
When killer Nazi ghosts attack, what do you do? This badass little horror gem has a few ideas.
A band of mercenaries takes an eccentric researcher to an abandoned Nazi bunker for mysterious reasons. At first, the soldiers of fortune think they're on a quest to unearth some lost Nazi gold, but it's not long into their tour that they realize there's a darker purpose to their assignment.
Turns out the Nazis had used this particular bunker for some gruesome experiments that blended the occult with science, and the fruit of their labor was a legion of undead Nazi marauders. And now the mercenaries, led by their grizzled commander (Ray Stevenson), must do the impossible and survive the attack, before they end up on the business end of a zombie bayonet.
There are some major flaws in this movie, but, regardless, I enjoyed it mightily.
I don't know. Maybe it's because I think there are few cinematic heavies as awesome as murderous Nazi ghosts. Seriously, how do you get more evil than that? They're Nazis, and we all hate Nazis, right? Right! Add to that, they're also unholy spiritual manifestations of deceased Nazis and on top of it all they're murderous. Yes, murderous Nazi ghosts, unbelievable jerks.
And as far as murderous Nazi ghost movies go, I don't know if you'll find a more tense, atmospheric, gore-filled excursion into what makes murderous Nazi ghost movies so compelling than Outpost. From start to finish, the film is drenched in a sinister atmosphere that builds the tension to stratospheric heights. Even better, nearly all of the film takes place in the confines of the bunker, lending a claustrophobic feel to the proceedings and adding that much more to the dark surroundings.
The buildup is steady and the culmination is violent. When the bad guys perpetrate their dastardly deeds it's a shocker. I was legitimately taken aback by some of the gore that went down and after having suffered through a cosmically high number of horror movies, to actually watch something that unnerves me is an achievement. Eyeballs pop, bolts are driven into kneecaps, skulls pop like kumquats and there is an amazing amount of stabbing. As an added bonus, the plot device behind the Nazi ghosting is relatively interesting.
That's all well and good, and it's always great to watch gruff military hombres exchange gunfire with undead fascists, but there are some big missteps that prevent Outpost from achieving true noteworthy status. First, I know there aren't many hard and fast rules that govern the actions of ghost Nazis, but the mythology created in Outpost is all over the place. It's firmly established that these guys can just materialize out of thin air and lurk around for jump scare potential, but in the big finale where our heroes make a last stand against the marching horde, that teleporting power suddenly vanishes, purely for contrived suspense purposes. Except there's no suspense. Not through the entire 15-minute firefight. These Nazis are unkillable, and they absolutely deserve to be killed, but watching them just lumber around as bullets harmlessly bounce off of them. This set-up boxes the film into a corner, unfortunately, leading to a wholly unsatisfying ending. A bummer considering how cool so much of the film was.
On DVD, Outpost looks (2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen) and sounds (5.1 surround) great. The color has been softened and washed out considerably, but it's a stylistic choice and serves the film well. Eight minutes of uninteresting deleted scenes are the only extras.
It's got plot holes you could drive an Abrams through, but Outpost was still a fun, scary ride.
What can I say? I'm a sucker for undead Nazis with speech impediments and bad skin. Not guilty.
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Scales of Justice
* 2.40:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Deleted Scenes