Outpost, a new horror film written and directed by Joe Lo Truglio, is an excellent examination of terror, trauma, and isolation taking the ultimate brutal toll on a person. The film stars Beth Dover, Ato Essandoh, Dylan Baker, Becky Ann Baker, Dallas Roberts, Ta’Rea Campbell, Tim Neff, and D.R. Anderson. Outpost releases in theaters and digitally on May 19, 2023.
‘Outpost’ Plot Summary:
After a violent assault, Kate asks her best friend Nickie for help escaping an abusive ex. Nic’s brother, Earl, hires Kate as a fire lookout in northern Idaho. Kate feels the peaceful solitude will help. But the trauma and isolation have other plans. She meets Reggie, a moody widow, and Dan, an odd coworker. Kate’s brutal past plants seeds of paranoia. Her grip on reality slips. To Earl’s dismay, it also disrupts her ability to protect his tower and the town. Their partnership starts to crack. But Kate finds solace in a local hiker, Bertha. Their bond triggers a renewal in Kate, unlike anything she’s ever felt. Is it the change she always wanted, or something else…something darker?
‘Outpost’ Displays the Toll of Trauma
Outpost is almost a perfect horror film for a myriad of reasons, making this a great horror title. The film includes a cast full of talent, a consistent sense of dread from some stellar editing, and depth into the darkness of the themes it explores. There are some minor ways in which the story falls flat, primarily occurring toward the end.
The main character, Kate, isn’t flawless, and in many ways that makes her perspective a perfect one to follow in this isolating journey. Dover commands the screen and the paranoia that grips her character flows directly into every moment. There’s immediate care for the character; while her reactions are extreme at points, it becomes understandable given the glimpses of her horrific past. The back and forth between a sense of control and chaos is spectacular – it truly shows the interesting ways the mind can spiral into false beliefs and be a horror in itself.
Outpost has some well-crafted and gorgeous shots that take advantage of the beautiful-yet-daunting landscape that surrounds Kate. In the first scene, there’s an ominous energy that takes over and sets a great pace for the rest of the film. The direction into a land of unease and paranoia has a direct course and does well in not straying from it. The flow of Kate’s reasoning and preparation for the role at the outpost is understood and consistent.
Nature is a character itself in Outpost and is evident in Bertha’s own words when she tells Kate, “Surrender to your nature, you get your power.” These characters build from one another in the same way; Kate does this with the land around her.
However, certain characters feel awkward in their portrayal. This seems to be a character or actor-specific choice and it’s found a lot with Dan, another ranger working alongside Earl. Some character choices don’t necessarily connect, but luckily it didn’t distract a whole bunch from the story itself.
The parallels between Kate’s past and how nature and animals behave around her are some outstanding decisions made and complement the flow of Outpost so well. When it comes to the pacing and flow of the story there was almost no issue, right up until the last twenty minutes or so. At that point, character decisions and twists felt rushed at times and therefore didn’t give the reveals the authority they should’ve had. There were some great moments of opportunity for more of Kate’s backstory to shine through. This could have truly saved the timeline and pace right there at the end.
In the end, Outpost is a wild ride full of eerie shots, a fantastic exploration of trauma & paranoia, and showcases some gruesome kills that match nature’s brutality. Even though the ending could have been handled better, this is a film worth watching. Each shocking and tense moment of this horror film provides for fans of psychologically twisted narratives. The film arrives in theaters and on digital tomorrow, May 19, 2023.