Franchise Weekend – Outpost: Black Sun (2012)

Director: Steve Barker

Writer: Steve Barker, Rae Brunton (Screenplay)

Starring: Catherine Steadman, Richard Coyle, Ali Craig, Nick Nevern, Daniel Caltagirone, Gary McDonald, Julian Wadham

 

 

 

 

Plot: The year is 1945, the closing stages of WW2, and a German scientist by the name of Klausener is working on a frightening new technology that has the power to create an immortal Nazi army. Flash forward to present day, and a NATO task force is hurriedly deployed to Eastern Europe, where a sinister enemy appears to be mercilessly killing everything in its path. But this is no ordinary foe. Only Helena, a gutsy investigator on the trail of the notorious war-criminal Klausener, accepts the reality of that they are facing a battalion of Nazi Storm-Troopers, a veritable zombie army on the march. With the help of Wallace, a man who’s been chasing Nazi secrets for years, the two of them team up with a Special Forces Unit to venture deep behind enemy lines. Their mission to fight their way back to the source of this evil army and prevent the seemingly inevitable rise of the 4th Reich.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Idea for the Sequel

 

Story: Outpost: Black Sun starts as we follow Lena (Steadman) in Paraguay searching for German war criminals with her main target being Klausener the man that was involved in the mission Hunt (Wadham) went on last time around. We also see how the effects of the first film have led to the new Third Reich spreading like a virus from the source.

Lena teams up with Wallace (Coyle) to build a team to get to Klausener’s machine to try and bring an end to the war that could be about to bring the promise of the Nazi’s invasion into a world problem.

 

Thoughts on Outpost: Black Sun

 

Characters/PerformanceLena is a strong leading lady, she has been tracking war criminals in the modern time but learning of the existence of Klausener draws her back to Eastern Europe to put an end to his terror. Wallace is an engineer stationed near the bunker who reluctantly helps Lena on her mission as he knows how to stop the machine. The rest of the characters are generic soldiers you barely learn the names of and the now Nazi zombies.

Performance wise, Catherine Steadman does a good job coming into a very male heavy film easily becoming the star performer, with most of the male cast all becoming forgettable by the end of the film.

StoryThe direction the story goes is interesting because it builds on how the last film finished. The idea that the experiment is spreading is a big plus, but the first film had a lot of a supernatural vibe to everything, this time we just get zombies and an elevated sci-fi feel to what is going on. I can understand why things went this way for franchise value but I do feel it takes away from the first film.

Action/HorrorThe action is much heavier in this film as we get to see plenty of fights between the humans and zombies. This increased action does take away from the horror side of the film as it doesn’t reach the horror needed for what is happening.

SettingsThe settings are also a part of this film which lose out by making this a bigger picture, we lose the idea of just one solo location for a bigger battle.

Special EffectsHere is another weaker point, sure the battles and fights all look great but trying to show the effects of a EMP just look cheap whenever they are used.

Final ThoughtsThis is difficult to make my mind up on, I liked the bigger picture going on, but I did find the random jump cuts to after something has happened frustrating, the fast pace also leaves a mixed feeling because it does work but takes away the horror. This is what I would like to think of as a good franchise builder, not saying it is bad but relies on having seen the first and wanting to see more.

 

Overall: Good franchise building horror film.

Rating

 

 

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Fanged Up (2018)

Director: Christian James

Writer: Daniel O’Reilly, Nick Nevern, Dan Palmer (Screenplay)

Starring: Daniel O’Reilly, Danielle Harold, Stu Bennett, Vas Blackwood, Stephen Marcus, Steven Berkoff, Lauren Socha

 

Plot: A young rogue is thrown into prison for the weekend, unaware that the guards are blood-sucking vampires and the inmates are their victims.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Bloody Hilarious

 

Story: Fanged Up starts when loud mouth Jimmy Ragsdale (O’Reilly) gets into a fight he ends up being locked up over the weekend, the prison environment seems strange for Jimmy with his Russian cellmate Victor Stanczyk (Bennett) who does offer to help him, even with the strange habits the prison had adopted including midnight meals.

Elsewhere in the prison new doctor Katie Makepeace (Harold) has her first job and isn’t used to the routines set out by the Governor Payne (Berkoff). It doesn’t take long for Jimmy to learn that the guards are vampires and along with his ex-girlfriend Katie and a few inmates including Victor, Shifty (Blackwood) and Reeves (Marcus) the battle to survive the bloody thirsty monsters comes to light.

 

Thoughts on Fanged Up

 

Characters – Jimmy is your typical cockney geezer, he talks too much with his mouth always gets him in trouble and this time he lands him in jail. In prison he wants be the tough guy, he isn’t a tough guy, now he must use his cockney lingo to survive the horrors. I will say that Jimmy could be a character you enjoy or one that could get on your nerves though, depending how you react to cockney figures. Katie is the brand-new doctor for the prison, she is taking her first role as a solo doctor, it doesn’t take long for her to clash heads with the Governor and she joins the prisoners in the battle to survive. Victor is the big tough Russian inmate that befriends Jimmy even if part of their conversations get lost in translation. Shifty is the prisoner that can get you anything on the inside, nice guy that helps lead the path to a way out, not much of a fighter though. Governor Payne is the head vampire that has been controlling and planning events in the prison waiting for a certain day to arrive.

PerformancesDaniel O’Reilly takes the leading role in this film, the character feels like it should be early Danny Dyer and while he does balance through the thin line of funny and annoying, you will be liking his character by the end of the film. Danielle Harold is our leading lady and the film even addresses her beauty in the doctor role, she does everything to make her character standout through the film. Stu Bennett was the biggest surprise for me, I know he has gone into acting after wrestling and this type of movie works for him. I do think he pulls the Russian accent off and is a character we did want to see more of. Vas Blackwood is good in this role too and to be honest everyone does a good job through the film.

StoryThe story can be bottled down to one simple line ‘Prisoners vs Vampires’ this is how simple the story is to follow. The idea is an idea we have seen elements to before, anything revolving around vampires needs to take a fresh approach, much like 30 Days of Night bought us to a location that is always dark for 30 days, this brings us to a location for the story to follow criminals that can be used as food for the vampires. We get a thin romance angle, which could easily be dropped and still give the main story the same effect, but otherwise this is a vampire story than can be enjoyed by the fans.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy is hit more often than it misses, we get plenty of bad moves from Jimmy which give us the laughs, a few pop culture references which hit for the time being too. When we look at the horror side of the film we are studying the inclusion of the vampires and whether we would be scared by them, the characters would be, but they are not to the same level of scare as the classic vampires.

SettingsThe film takes place in the prison, this does feel fresh for the vampire genre and using a singular location where the vampires can prey does add to the idea of their calculated nature when it comes to hunting.

Special EffectsThe special effects do work for the film, most of them tend to be blood baths which is fine as long as they are consistent through the film, which they are.


Scene of the Movie –
Jimmy meets Victor.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would have liked Victor to get more screen time.

Final ThoughtsIf you like vampire comedy, if you are British or like British comedy, this one is for you, it will make you laugh more than it will make you scream and you will have a good time watching this.

 

Overall: Blood soaked comedy you can sink your teeth into.

Rating