After being involved in a horrifying and brutal violent attack, Kate (Beth Dover) struggles to move forward with her life. The medication she’s been provided isn’t helping, and she continues to struggle in areas of concentration and fails to maintain any form of focus. It also doesn’t help that her violent attacker, Mike (Tim Neff), has yet to be found by local authorities.
To start fresh, Kate decides to speak with her close friend Nickie (Ta’Rea Campbell). Nickie talks to her brother, Earl (Ato Essandoh), about possibly getting Kate a job working at a lookout tower in Idaho. Earl agrees, and Kate moves away from the busy city life and travels to Idaho. Kate is so excited to become fully trained for the role, hoping that a new job will provide a peaceful and calm mind. As Kate enters the small town and begins her new career, it all seems too good to be true until she begins to experience several strange, unexplainable, and yet horrifying situations while working. Kate begins to question if she is, in fact, all alone at the lookout tower. Perhaps her mind is starting to play tricks on her. After all, as some in the community claim, there’s no peace in nature.
Outpost is best described as a thriller with some moments of horror. For those unaware, Outpost has been directed and written by Joe Lo Truglio, best known for many comedic roles in films and for featuring in the comedy hit series Brooklyn 99 as the character of Charles Boyle. It’s instantly exciting to see that Joe has set himself a massive goal and challenge, unlike anything he has done in his career. While he’s best known for comedy and providing huge laughs on screen, the results as Joe enters the world of thrills and chills are surprising. Joe’s passion for all things film is highly evident throughout the runtime. You gain a strong sense of his inspiration from other horror titles, such as The Shining, especially throughout the entertaining climax.
Regarding the film’s mystery and thrills, there’s quite a bit here that I found predictable, but I was also excited to see the events unfold. Does Kate see things? Is Mike lurking around the lookout stalking Kate, or is she just losing her mind? These are just some of the questions the film continues to linger on, affecting Kate’s mindset and stopping her from doing her job well. The premise is excellent, and the storyline is also fun, and viewers will be invested to see how Kate ends up in this film. The people around Kate are suspicious and are either prime suspects for creating Kate’s torment or potential bloody victims. I loved the aspect of Kate having random visions as she tries to cope with past trauma. Viewers will see firsthand what she’s going through with her mental health. One example is when Kate is among the public, and suddenly everyone turns their heads to stare at her. She also has visions of people brutally attacking her.
The film’s setting, such as the lookout and landscape, is excellent and enjoyable. I’m happy to praise the areas of gore or violence. Depending on your taste in the horror genre, viewers may find some moments and one-liners random and comedic, not all of which worked. Beth Dover as Kate is energetic, fun, and lovely, and side performances from Ato Essandoh and Ta’Rea Campbell are also terrific.
As for the story, there are some minor issues here. Not everything was clear to me on the first watch when the reveals were made. It almost felt as if little details were missing from the final cut. Sure, the core reveals are outlined well, but certain subplots and other characters interacting with Kate feel slightly rushed or vague. The same could be said about the film’s style of editing, which at times lacks a natural flow, especially when Kate is shown interacting with one character after another. The film is most heightened during its final act, but for some viewers, the journey to finish could require some patience. If you can push through, it’s all rewarding as the credits roll.
Overall, there’s a lot to admire here in the directorial debut from Joe Lo Truglio. The actor has set out on a new challenge unlike anything he’s done before in his incredible career. His passion and excitement are apparent, as is the inspiration from other classic horror titles such as The Shining. The film’s setting, location and premise are a delight, and viewers will be enticed by the mysterious elements to invest in seeing how the story plays out for the lead, played by Beth Dover. The third act is filled with energy, fun, and, most notably for a horror film, blood. While the storyline line is fun and mysterious, the core reveals are predictable, and there are some reveals for the side characters that I found to be slightly unclear to me upon first viewing. Nevertheless, fans of all things Joe Lo Trugliowill be left feeling content and proud of his achievements and eager to see what’s next for him in the horror genre.
Outpost (2022) is available on major streaming platforms in UK & Ireland from September 11th and Australia & NZ from September 13th.