Home Video Hovel- Outpost: Black Sun, by Rita Cannon
The first thing you should know about Outpost: Black Sun is that it’s about a superhuman army of zombie Nazi Stormtroopers. The second thing you should know is that, as such, it could really use more zombie Nazi Stromtroopers. To paraphrase a line from Boardwalk Empire, you can’t be half a movie about zombie Nazi Stromtroopers.
This is a sequel to the 2008 film Outpost, which I will admit I didn’t realize until I watched the making-of featurette included on the Blu-Ray. From what I can gather, that film concerned a group of mercenaries in eastern Europe who are hired to scope out an old military bunker, and discover the horrifying results of some Nazi medical experiments, one of whom is still alive. The sequel continues mining the subject of Nazi occultism, this time through the eyes of Lena (Catherine Steadman), a descendant of Holocaust victims who has dedicated her life to tracking down war criminals. She meets and teams up with an engineer named Wallace (Richard Coyle) who’s in Europe on a Nazi-related quest of his own. The pair then join forces with a group of British soldiers on a mission to find and shut off some kind of complex machine that’s powering an army of undead, immortal Nazi soldiers.
This would all be fine, if not for the fact that this movie takes itself so seriously. I don’t think it’s necessarily impossible to make a serious move about zombie Nazis – I’m sure there’s someone out there who could do it well. Unfortunately, director Steve Barker is not that person. For a movie with a premise as outlandish as this one, Black Sun is curiously unremarkable in almost every way. I would have enjoyed it more if it were an out-and-out disaster, but it isn’t. It’s competently shot (though perhaps excessively dark and moody – there are some outdoor scenes where the blue filter is so oppressive it reminded me of the first Twilight movie). The acting is fine. The plot has a few bizarre moments – for instance, the unexplained appearance of a hunchbacked zombie woman who cackles shrilly while stabbing a soldier in the face with a hypodermic needle. But most of the film’s action takes the form of run-of-the-mill shootouts. The few hand-to-hand, zombie-on-human fights that take place are disappointingly bloodless. All in all, its worst crime is simply being bring. What’s the point of making a zombie movie that doesn’t revel in its zombies? Especially when the other, more down-to-earth plot elements don’t make any real sense anyway?
More than anything, I’m confused about who this movie is supposed to be for. It’s too tame and straight-faced to appeal to fans of hardcore horror or campy B-movies, but too preposterous to satisfy someone looking for a legit thriller or war movie. It’s silly and joyless at the same time. By trying so hard to stay in the middle, Outpost: Black Sun becomes entirely forgettable.