Outpost: Black Sun (Blu-ray / DVD)
Directed by Steve Barker (interview here)
Distributed by XLrator Media
For a movie that seemed to have very little fanfare (I hadn't heard of it until it showed up at my door and was even more shocked to learn it was a sequel), Outpost: Black Sun ended up living up to the non-hype by being a good but not great action thriller that has a lot going for it but plays it way too safe with its super-fun concept (Nazi zombies!).
It sadly also skimps on the horror, the results being a flick that should be considered more of a decent action romp than a zombie flick, which was a bit of a bummer for this horror fan who was looking for a bit of both here. That's not to say that Outpost: Black Sun is completely skippable either; it's just probably a movie that's better enjoyed when you go into it with your expectations in check.
Co-written and directed by Steve Barker, Outpost: Black Sun follows a young woman named Lena (Catherine Steadman) whose family business has always been tracking down notorious Nazi war criminals. Her final assignment is finding an evil German scientist known only as Klausener, who has created a machine that can raise the dead- dead Nazi soldiers to be more specific, which pose a serious threat to the human race if allowed to run amok.
Lena's investigation into Klausener's nefarious activities leads her to Eastern Europe, where she runs into Wallace (Richard Coyle), a friendly face and historical investigator of sorts who is also hot on the trail of the Nazi scientist and his deadly machine. The pair join up with a Special Forces team that also happens to be in the area, and soon they discover Klausener's underground bunker that houses not only his dastardly zombie-making machine but a few more undead surprises that the war criminal has in store for the group of heroes.
Unfortunately, it's only during the final act in Outpost: Black Sun where it feels like Barker is ready to let his hair down and have some fun with his zombie-centric subject matter, resulting in a movie that really had some potential out of the gate but never fully delivers on its promise of Nazi zombie carnage at all.
In terms of directing, Barker does a solid job at the helm but never pushes things too far one way or the other, making for a movie that is perfectly adequate but nothing that leaves the viewer with an overwhelming impression one way or the other. Outpost: Black Sun is chock-full of plot, action and admirable production design but doesn't offer up much in terms of character and atmosphere, which is a shame because had Barker and his co-writer Rae Brunton paid a little more attention to character and suspense, this sequel could have become something far more noteworthy than it ends up being.
XLrator Media's Blu-ray presentation of Outpost: Black Sun is great as expected since the film was shot digitally, but unfortunately there's only one special feature included, a "making of" featurette that clocks in around the five-minute mark, as well as a trailer. Considering the attention to production design in the film, this writer would have loved to see more on those aspects of O:BS highlighted as they definitely provided many of the bright spots of this indie project, but sadly, viewers get short-changed in the extras department here.
For the historical action thriller enthusiasts out there, Outpost: Black Sun might be a movie that caters more to your tastes; for the rest of you, this sequel doesn't offer up enough horror to make this a particularly interesting viewing at all. Barker's directorial efforts are adequately entertaining enough on Outpost: Black Sun, but as a whole, you'd be better off revisiting the flick's 2008 predecessor (which, since seeing the sequel, this writer checked out and rather enjoyed) instead.
2 out of 5
1 1/2 out of 5