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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Franchise Weekend – Outpost (2008)

Director: Steve Barker

Writer: Rae Brunton (Screenplay) Kieran Parker, Steve Barker, Rae Brunton (Story)

Starring: Ray Stevenson, Julian Wadham, Richard Brake, Paul Blair, Brett Fancy, Enoch Frost

 

Plot: In war-torn Eastern Europe, a world-weary group of mercenaries discover a long-hidden secret in an abandoned WWII bunker.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Horror

 

Story: Outpost starts when Hunt (Wadham) recruits DC (Stevenson) to bring his mercenaries Prior (Brake), Jordan (Blair), Taktarov (Fancy), Cotter (Frost), Voyteche (Rivett) and McKay (Smiley) to an abandoned WWII bunker in the middle of the war in Eastern Europe. The bunker which seems easy to find does grab the attention of a passing patrol but now the men must make this safe in case of a meeting with any enemy soldiers.

When the truth about Hunt’s mission becomes clear, DC finds all his men in danger against an enemy they don’t seem to be able to kill and a lone survivor that doesn’t say a word. The group must fight to survivor against the remains of a Nazi experiments.

 

Thoughts on Outpost

 

Characters/PerformanceDC is the generic leader of the mercenaries, he doesn’t have a backstory of any merit, he just demands the respect of his unit. Prior is the top soldier in the unit keep it together for the rest of the unit. Hunt is the man who hired the unit and of course he is alternate plans for the mission. The rest of the soldiers are what you expect to see from a team of mercenaries.

Performance wise, well Ryan Stevenson is a good leading man but does struggle to make the most of his character, if you are to be honest we do find most of the cast struggling to make enough impact.

StoryThe story is a good watch for horror, we all know the stories of how the Nazi’s were trying experiment with the supernatural so, this is the main part of the story. There are not many twists and this can give the horror fans enough without getting carried away.

Action/HorrorThe action is mostly just shooting in the way you would expect soldiers to be part of. The horror is a lot of creepy material that leads to the extra horrors where we see the gore involved in the kills.

SettingsMost of the film is set around the bunker which does keep the film easy to follow and adds to what you expect from the Nazi based horror film.

Special EffectsThe special effects are used well to add to the extra kills in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good horror that uses the idea of Nazi war experiments to the full.

 

Overall: I enjoyed this one for a basic horror film.

Rating

 

 

The ReZort (2015)

rezort

Director: Steve Barker

Writer: Paul Gerstenberger (Screenplay)

Starring: Dougray Scott, Jessica De Gouw, Martin McCann, Claire Goose, Elen Rhys, Jassa Ahluwalia

 

Plot: The ReZort, a safari park, offers paying guests the opportunity to kill as many zombies as they please following an outbreak.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Pure Fun Zombie Action Horror

 

Story: The ReZort starts in a world that overcame a zombie outbreak with the world rebuilt apart from one small island known as the ReZort where you can pay to shot the undead, but something has gone wrong that has the world on the edge of their seats.

Rewind 10 days and we meet Melanie (De Gouw) who has struggled with survivor’s guilt following the outbreak as she turns to her boyfriend Lewis (McCann) to head to the ReZort as a form of therapy. Joining them on the trip we have mysterious Archer (Scott), left at the alter Sadie (Rhys) as well as two thriller seekers and a business group looking to make their own ReZort.

When one of the guests hacks into the system the heavily controlled zombies get released leading to Project Brimstone being ordered which is a countdown before the island gets levelled, the remaining survivors must find a way to get off the island before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on The ReZort

 

StoryHow has the idea of having a zombie Jurassic Park hybrid not been done before? Well this finally give us that film and sure the film is easy enough to read but it is so much fun to watch in the zombie genre that is always looking to go for super serious we get something that is easy to follow and plays into the conspiracy idea too. I do have my own personal complaint and that is make up your mind which type of zombie you want because one minute we have the slow-moving ones the next they are the sprinters and it doesn’t add up for a zombie fan. If you want an easy to watch fun zombie film look no further.

HorrorWe have all the basic zombie scares going on through this film as the film balance between action horror going on.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters are all what you would come to expect from a zombie film, we have the wildly happy to kill character, the people over their head, the hero that hiding a secret with the only fresh feeling character being Melanie who doesn’t want to kill but wants to use it to help her overcome her personal problems. They are all good and play out their part perfectly.

The performances are all good without anyone stealing the show, Dougray Scott does feel like the biggest star in the film with how he plays out his character with Jassa Ahluwalia and Lawrence Walker boarding on either great or annoying.

SettingsHaving a whole island for a zombie killing holiday is all good for the setting, it is strikingly familiar to the Jurassic Park concept as well as Westworld but it does offer yet another fresh approach to the zombie genre of horror.

Special EffectsWe all know the zombie special effects by now and this doesn’t give us anything new on that side of everything but does live up to the standards you need from the genre.

Final ThoughtsI feel this film has some beautiful shots of the zombie attack, we have one that follows over a zombie’s shoulder which I haven’t seen in film and the final shot I think is one of my new favourites in zombie film.

 

Overall: This is a really fun film, just imagine Jurassic Park with Zombies while also mixing the games of Dead Rising and Dead Island you get this wonderful mix of action horror fun.

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