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Alien Outpost (Blu-ray Review)

Alien-OutpostThis July, beat the summer heat with two highly stylized horror thrillers, Dark Summerand Alien Outpost, both making their Blu-ray and DVD debut on July 7th, 2015 from Scream Factory, in partnership with IFC Midnight. Featuring exciting new bonus content including cast and crew interviews, audio commentaries, making of featurettes and more, both titles can be pre-ordered now from ShoutFactory.com.  Today we are taking a look and reviewing the science fiction portion of the releases.  That being the IFC Midnight thriller Alien Outpost.  Directed by Jabbar Raisani (Visual Effects Supervisor on Game Of Thrones, Machete, Predators), the explosive Alien Outpost is a science-fiction gem with stunning effects and  non-stop action.

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Film 

Set in 2021, Alien Outpost  is the story of the aftermath of the First Earth War , in which an invading race of aliens known as the Heavies are narrowly defeated. But thousands of the aliens were left behind, and a new war on terror now rages. In the wake of the war, a series of remote operating bases are created to defend the planet, with the deadliest being base Three Seven, positioned in the most hostile place on Earth. 

A documentary film crew is sent to record daily life in Outpost Three Seven, where the men, led by hardened commander Captain Spears, are under constant enemy fire. When a member of the crew disappears during a Heavy ambush, the unit launches a raid deep into enemy territory to rescue him… only to make a terrifying discovery.

While this film is going to be tossed in with the “found footage” type of films, its not really that.  This is more of a fake documentary than anything else.  It features confessional interviews with its characters and just in its “look” is a bit more cleaner and professional in its appearance than the “shaky camcorder while things offscreen growl and someone flips the light switch on and off” type cheapie.

Alien Outpost actually is very well made, staged and crafted.  There just isn’t enough action here, which it excels at when it happens.  Impressively, this movie has some really good CG that holds up in its high definition home presentation here.  They also effectively use there aliens without overkill and are not afraid to hide the goods because they don’t have the money or some other reason.

This movies experience is a little bit average when all is said and done with some moments of brilliance.  The biggest issue for me is that I couldn’t really get on board with any of these characters.  Every one of them trying to out-badass the other making them all sort of monotonous and blending together.  This makes the “between shootings/explosions” scenes not really click and work.  However, there is plenty here aside from that to be entertained (the end really picks up well) and I’m sure there will be plenty of those that enjoy it more than I did.  If you’re curious at all, definitely check it out.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1o80p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  This is a very sharp and detailed picture.  Its one of the best looking modern Scream Factory movie images I’ve seen.  There is a lot of the same brown-esque color in the film due to it being set in a desert with military carrying camouflage, but there is such distinct differentiation between everything it should be commended.  The image is also clear and clean as can be. Details on uniforms, and the surface of the dirt/desert grounds is also to be commended as you can make out the hay, dirt, leaves and pebbles from one another without having to squint at all.

Depth:  Every performer looks loose and free in their environment.  Movement is absolutely comfortable and smooth.  Background images see plenty of high end detail.

Black Levels:  Blacks are deep, but the shading is done impressively.  Guns, boots and hair follicles still all see a high level of detail and next to none is hidden.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are very accurate.  There is a nice palette of browns/beige and the like just on the military uniforms alone.  Yellows, oranges and reds look quite bold and pop gorgeously when called upon.  Greens in forests and the like look natural and very good.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural, but show some gloss reflecting the hot atmosphere of the environment of the film.  Pores, scars, stubble, wrinkles all show through in this very impressive look.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.  Any distortion is by intention.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics:  While this is found footage, the sound here is crisp and quite dynamic.  Effects are clean and well rounded.  Its a very involved experience that works a bit more fun into the track.  The 2.0 track is no slouch itself, but the 7.1 is its own star here.

Low Frequency Extension:  Explosions feel a nice deep thunder and gunshots feature an extra shot courtesy of the sub woofer.

Surround Sound Presentation:  This is a fun track, with gunshots flying all over the room.  There is good detail made in this mix with ambiance and sound traveling between speakers.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogues is crisp, loud and clear.

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Extras 

Alien Outpost comes with a reversible cover image featuring an alternate poster design.

Audio Commentary

  • By director/co-writer Jabbar Raisani and director of photography/co-writer Blake Clifton

Interviews With Cast and Crew (HD, 16:23) – The cast and crew talks about trying to make a sci fi documentary set in the future but as grounded as possible.  You get your basic behind the scenes footage and interviews here.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 3:22)

Theatrical Trailers (HD, 3:40)

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Summary 

Alien Outpost continues the new tradition of IFC Midnight and Scream Factory collaborations. The film itself is a solid little fake documentary featuring military badasses and aliens shooting each other out in the first person aethestic.  It also features some impressive special effects. This release features outstanding video and audio in its presentation.  The extras don’t look like much but definitely add to the experience of the film.  If you’re a fan, this is a good release of it and worth your pickup at its decent price.  For those who aren’t familiar, check it out before making the purchase.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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