Outpost: Black Sun (UK 2012)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 1/30/18
Cast: Catherine Steadman, Richard Coyle

Lena (Catherine Steadman) is a detective who relentlessly hunts down World War II Nazi war criminals, although in this day and age, how many of them could possibly still be alive? Regardless, she's especially interested in finding a man named Klausener, who is somehow related to her family history. Unknown to her, he's also responsible for creating an army of undead super soldiers, who will serve the Fourth Reich in an upcoming conflict. Following a lead from one of Klausener's cohorts, Lena ends up in a remote Eastern European village and runs into a scientist friend of hers named Wallace (Richard Coyle), who has all sorts of top secret intel concerning Klausener's undead army. Together, with the aid of a small Special Forces strike team, they track down the source of the zombies' power and attempt to put it out of commission.

For a low budget horror film, it looks great and is surprisingly well made. Apart from some crappy looking helmet-cam combat footage, the camera work and lighting are superb and create a delightfully tense and spooky atmosphere. Catherine Steadman delivers an excellent performance as Lena and is also stunningly attractive (despite an extremely unflattering hairdo). Admittedly, she's the reason why I tracked down the film in the first place. Richard Coyle gives a delightfully shifty performance as Wallace, and you're never quite sure whether to trust him or not.

The story is a bit formulaic, but it moves at a decent pace and progresses much like a video game with its deserted homes, abandoned schoolyards, spooky forests, secret military bunkers, and of course, Nazi zombies. The zombies are strong, fast, and virtually unstoppable. Bullets and headshots have no effect, which makes me wonder why dismemberment never came up as an option. A zombie soldier is much less effective when it's cut up into several pieces. But no, our hapless heroes insist on riddling them with gunfire, knowing full well that it's just a waste of ammunition. The makeup is good, and the visual effects suffer only from a handful of poorly rendered CGI scenes. I went in with low expectations and was pleasantly surprised by how solid and entertaining it was. Lena is a strong and compelling no-nonsense character with just the right combination of conviction, intelligence, and vulnerability. And even though it doesn't do any good against zombies, she looks pretty sharp carrying a gun.