Lightbulb Film Distribution. On Demand and Download September 11th
Outpost opens with a woman screaming in terror – Kate (Beth Dover, Orange is the New Black) has suffered a traumatic attack. She begs her friend Nickie (Ta’Rea Campbell) to contact her park ranger brother Earl (Ato Essandoh), who Nickie clearly hasn’t spoken to in a while, to ask if she can volunteer as a forest service firespotter, in order to get away from everything and try and come to terms with the violence she has suffered.
Earl is understandably reticent – but he needs the help, so he agrees and drives Kate out to the remote tower which has no real facilities and an outhouse toilet that is often used by hikers. She is to report in twice a day and will be alone up a mountain for several months, with only the noises around her for company. What could possibly go wrong with someone in a fragile mental state? Still, the views are beautiful! But will she be overwhelmed by the flashbacks to the trauma and can she get over her fear of men being near her.
This is the feature length directorial debut of Joe Lo Truglio (who also wrote the script) and he has made a quite effective psychological horror – though he is better known as an actor in shows like Brooklyn Nine Nine and Reno 911, he also a self confessed horror fan.
Beth Dover is good in the lead, and the film manages to create an air of unrest as she struggles with her mental state – seeing things that aren’t there… or are they? As the film progresses we learn more about her assault and the solitude begins to play with her mind. Can she deal with the loneliness, but also the locals in the nearby town, the random hikers who turn up and the nearby grumpy old guy Reggie (familiar face Dylan Baker), who is sometimes friendly and sometimes a grumpy git. Her flashbacks start to bleed into reality and Lo Truglio does a good job of keeping you guessing as to what is real and what might be the imaginings of a fractured psyche.
Things pick up apace in the final part of the film but the ending feels rushed and ultimately unsatisfying, however, overall this marks the writer/director out as someone worth keeping an eye on.