Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Film Ramble: Outpost

Having accidentally set myself a precedent, it's going to be hard not to bang on about movies here. I'm a huge film geek, to the point where I rent parts of my brain out to the IMDB on weekends. Still, this is supposed to be a blog for my writing, and a blog for my writing it shall be.

Only, I don't have much news at the minute, and I just saw an excellent film.

So I'll try and keep myself to plugging genre films that are distinguished by good writing or plots that are above the dismally low Hollywood average. Frankly, it angers me how genre film and television are so incapable of doing more than recycling ideas and concepts that were old in the respective literature three decades ago. To my knowledge there are no films or shows that are contradicting that, that are pushing sci-fi, fantasy and horror into fun new places. In the absense of innovation, I guess we can still aplaud good execution.

That said, Steve Barker's Outpost is the best low budget horror / sci-fi hybrid I've seen this year - which sounds like a hugely qualified statement, but I've seen a few. It has a fun and fairly original concept, which it executes pitch-perfectly. Anyone who liked the very good and fairly similar Korean war / horror hybrid R-Point will certainly dig it. It's creepy and clever and, while it doesn't set out to achieve anything hugely exceptional, it does what it does well, on the kind of budget lesser directors would be pushed to make a washing powder advert for.

But what really grabbed me from a writing standpoint was the dialogue, and the way it paints an ensemble of excellent, complex characters with a few broad strokes. Military contractors (or soldiers of fortune as they were called back in the day) are particularly interesting figures these days, and I keep thinking I'd like to tell a story around them. When I do, I'll be pleased if I pull it off half as well as Outpost.

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