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Haunted Sideshow

Dustin Putman

Alien Outpost  (2015)
2 Stars
Directed by Jabbar Raisani.
Cast: Joe Reegan, Reiley McClendon, Brandon Auret, Adrian Paul, Sven Ruygrok, Michael Dube, Darron Meyer, Rick Ravanello, Douglas Tait, Matthew Holmes, Nic Rasenti, Scott E. Miller, Kenneth Fok.
2015 – 92 minutes
Not Rated (equivalent of an R for strong bloody violence, sexual references and language).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman for, July 7, 2015.
Kudos to "Alien Outpost" for attempting a lot with limited resources; filmed in the deserts of Johannesburg, South Africa, on a budget of under $5-million, the film combines "Platoon" with "District 9" to varying degrees of success. In 2033, twelve years after Earth was initially invaded by extraterrestrials, a team of United States Defense Force soldiers are dropped onto the Pakistan-Afghanistan border to join a military squadron based for the last year at Outpost 37. For a long time, orbital defense satellites have kept the aliens (called "Heavies") out of their outpost, but when a deadly breach is perpetrated by humans, it is discovered that the Heavies have figured out a new way to continue their planetary assault.

The writing-directing debut of Jabbar Raisani, "Alien Outpost" is not shy about its allegorical intentions (one soldier describes "fighting a war the world has chosen to forget") while plausibly portraying a fictional future where the planet's population has been ravaged by interlopers from outer space. The decision to approach the story under the auspice of a documentary crew visiting the outpost gives the picture a "you-are-here" feel, but as the attacks heat up and the military men must forge through a war zone, it becomes increasingly difficult to buy into the first-person shooting style and the sheer breadth of coverage that the supposed doc crew civilians capture. Visual effects are used judiciously to hide the seams, while performances are solid despite only a few characters—most notably, homesick new recruit Frankie Forello (Sven Ruygrok)—getting a chance to grow beyond faces in the crowd. "Alien Outpost" resorts to basic "shoot-'em-up" fare by the finale and doesn't lead anywhere special, but Raisani and co-writer/cinematographer Blake Clifton have sharp enough aesthetic eyes to suggest that their best work is yet to come.
© 2015 by Dustin Putman
Dustin Putman

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