Outpost 11 (2012) Review
101 Films – 91 minutes
UK DVD release 30th September 2013
Dir – Anthony Woodley
Starring – Billy Clarke, Luke Healy, Joshua Mayes-Cooper
Outpost 11 is the story of three soldiers manning a remote listening post in the Arctic Circle. One day the warning light goes off unexpectedly and their world is plunged in to chaos. Albert (Mayes-Cooper), Mason (Healy) and Graham (Clarke) must fight the isolation, madness and arctic spiders to survive.
The tension and suspense that builds is the driving force for Outpost 11. Most of the movie happens within the small shack the three men find themselves in. Rarely it strays outside into the vast snowy landscape. Even parts of their cabin are never used or left undisturbed due to an unspoken fear which further limits the movements of these men. The men have joined the army for war yet they are stagnating, away from the ‘action’ of the battlefield awaiting the slightest piece of news. When the men talk about why they joined the army, the powerful scene of Graham revealing he has ‘always’ been in the army, is powerful and has a hint of Orwell to it. Stuck in the middle of nowhere, their memories of pride and desire for joining are the only things left of that pride and desire.
Not many actors are seen in Outpost 11. Just a handful are needed to match the isolated, lonely feel of the characters surroundings. Billy Clarke, as jobsworth Graham, shines as his character undergoes a radical transformation. Graham has never known anything over than fight in wars for king and country. He is a man who takes pride in his service and rank, it is this that drives the character to breaking point as the movie progresses. He was willing to do anything for his country in the heat of battle yet ends up doing something he never dreamed of: nothing. Graham starts to display symptoms of cabin fever and his feeling of his authority being ‘questioned’ takes Outpost 11 into its final act. Clarke performs the minor, fleeting at first, changes in a way that builds the tension as the truth emerges about his role. It is believable and the best performance in the film.
Clarke even provides some (slightly seedy) humour as, on a few occasions, Graham is shown pleasuring himself. Seeing this apparently respected solider carrying out such an act, and nearly caught once, may be a metaphor for building tension within the character that needs a ‘release’. Or it could be he is just very lonely. Clarke doesn’t ‘hold back’ in these scenes, either.
There is something odd happening in ‘Outpost 11’ that at first appears to be an infestation of strange looking spiders. As things play out, more and more unexplained incidents occur. As these, in places, happen the same time as Graham’s mental decline it may be that what he imagines is seen on screen, too. Yet Albert and Mason suffer from some form of eerie sighting or strange happening. Is it possible these men are suffering from a mass hallucination or is there something more sinister at work?
It is not quite clear when Outpost 11 is set, other than an ‘alternative past where steam still rules the world’. The uniforms and some equipment used, plus talk of ‘the war’ and king make it appear as if it could be the early 20th century. But the use of televisions and VHS cassettes cause doubts. Perhaps Outpost 11 is not rigidly set in the far past but any era it likes at any given moment. The uncertainty matches the unsure mindsets of the men struggling to handle the events that happen regardless.
Outpost 11 is a well paced, tension filled movie that will draw the viewer in, making them want to find out the truth. A brilliant , claustrophobic UK horror. 7 out of 10.
About James Simpson
A freelance writer and lover of movies, James is a long term contributor to UK Horror Scene. He has a regular feature on UKHS, World of Horror, as well as reviewing and interviewing when he can. He also writes for Gore Splattered Corner and Space Monsters Magazine. He has previously written for Scream Magazine and Zombie Hamster. Twitter: @JSimpsonWriter