Alien Outpost (2014)

Alien Outpost posterI’ve said it time and again here on Anything Horror. A big budget does not necessarily make for a good film and a micro budget doesn’t automatically mean a film is going to look cheap or amateurish. Just look at the STAR WARS prequels. I didn’t hate those films as much as most people but they definitely weren’t too good. Just because they had a huge budget (combined, the prequels cost $343 million to make) this didn’t ensure their success. They had all the visual effects, CGI, and creatures you could want in a film but what was the one thing those films lacked? Good writing!! On the other end of the spectrum take the film ALIEN OUTPOST. This modestly budgeted film probably cost less than the Kraft food service budget on the prequels but it has a solid script and story. ALIEN OUTPOST is the kind of indie film I love to come across. It has everything you look for: Good acting, solid writing, and a great pace.

ALIEN OUTPOST begins in the aftermath of an alien invasion. In 2021 the aliens came outta nowhere and attacked earth. The world united and fought off the ruthless aliens. In 2023 the USDF, which formed after the United Nations was disbanded, created outposts scattered across the globe to seek out and destroy any and all aliens left behind on earth. These outposts were heavily armed with elite soldiers who were well-funded and well taken care of. These soldiers saw heavy battle every day and as a result were on six month active duty rotations. But now the year is 2033 and most of these outposts have either been destroyed or decommissioned. The few that remain are undermanned, underfunded, and under constant attack. Two photojournalists are granted access to one of the last remaining outposts, Outpost 37, in the Mideast desert. Most of the world has moved on and doesn’t even think about the alien invasion that occurred over a decade ago but the soldiers at Outpost 37 know that the aliens, called “Heavies,” are still here and are planning something big.

Outpost 37 Stills 2013ALIEN OUTPOST is as much a human story as it is a story about alien invaders. Think BAND OF BROTHERS with aliens killing them. As the journalists arrive at the outpost it looks both abandoned and like it’s on its final legs. But as the soldiers come out to meet them we see a diverse unit that embodies the world having come together. Many of the soldiers get quick thirty second interviews as they explain why they joined the USDF. Some of the soldiers spotlighted include Omohundro (Joe Reegan), new to the outpost; Frankie (Sven Ruygrok), a younger kid trying to prove himself; Andros (Reiley McClendon), who’s been at the outpost fighting for over a year; and Bones (Tapiwa Musvosvi), Hans (Justin Munitz), and Brick (Michael Dube), all seasoned, grizzled warriors. The soldiers are led by two tough-as-nails COs, Sgt. Wilks (Scott E. Miller) and First Lt. North (Matthew Holmes).

Alien Outpost3Director Jabbar Raisani, who also wrote the screenplay with Blake Clifton, take the time for the viewer to get to know the soldiers thereby giving us an emotional stake in what happens to them. The way some of the soldiers are established with their backstories you can pretty much figure out which ones are going to die (kind of like the old cop who says, “I only have two days left until I retire”), but I found all the characters well written and well acted. The ensemble cast was fantastic. In between getting to know the characters, Raisani gives us plenty of action as the outpost is under constant attack by the Heavies and the locals. The outpost has recently experienced an increase on attacks which leads them to assuming something bigger is going to happen.

Alien OutpostNo doubt ALIEN OUTPOST will remind you of DISTRICT 13, They were both filmed in South Africa, both involve aliens, and both are metaphors for something beyond what we’re seeing on screen. DISTRICT 13 was a metaphor for apartheid and ALIEN OUTPOST is a metaphor for … I’m not too sure. The obvious, easy answer is terrorism. The Heavies using the locals to attack the soldiers at the outpost has a striking similarity to ISIS recruiting idiots on Twitter and other social media outlets. The outposts themselves can be seen as metaphors for the continued military presence the U.S has in Afghanistan and Iraq. There’s also frequent appearances by military contractors and drones as if to make a statement about the current state of warfare, but this theme is never examined. The metaphor here is never made as solid as the one in DISTRICT 13. Instead Raisani goes more for action, explosions, and violence which is pretty impressive on such a modest budget.

Alien Outpost1Towards the end of the film we get to see our heroes battle the Heavies and this is where the film decides to switch to a full-blown action flick. The battle is well filmed as we get to the bottom of what the Heavies have really been up to. ALIEN OUTPOST is marked by good acting, solid writing, and lots of fun action sequences. It’s by no means a perfect film but the characters are given enough soul and the fire fights are given enough intensity to keep you entertained until the end. Check this one out. In a recent interview, writer-director Raisani mentioned this is the first film in a planned trilogy. I say bring it on.

My Summary:

Director: Jabbar Raisani (& co-writer, executive producer, & visual effects supervisor)

Plot: 3 out of 5 stars

Gore: 1.5 out of 10 skulls

Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains

Reviewed by Scott Shoyer

Stay Bloody!!!

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