A very pleasant surprise as sci-fi/action flick is not only fun and entertaining, but creates strong likable characters and a good sense of drama. Outlander tells the tale of an alien warrior, Kainan (the underrated Jim Caviezel) whose ship is downed on Earth during the time of the Vikings by the same creature that murdered his family. While in pursuit of the beast, he is captured by a village run by kindly King Hrothgar (John Hurt) and his lovely daughter, Freya (Sophia Myles). But the monster, called a Moorwen, sets it’s sites on Hrothgar’s village and has already destroyed the neighboring village run by King Gunnar (Ron Perlman) who places the blame on Hrothgar. Now Kainan must somehow convince these rival warriors and their people of what is really responsible and that there is a monster, unlike they have ever seen before, that has chosen them as it’s new food supply…and more importantly, that they must unite and fight with him or die.
Outlander is a very entertaining movie that blends genres well and is not only helped by it’s good cast, but by also presenting a cool creature that is not only dangerous, but a bit sympathetic too, once we find out the whole story behind how it came to be there. The production value is strong, the visual style makes good use of the Novia Scotia and Newfoundland locations and most of the FX are top notch, thought there are a few instances where the CGI is weak. The action sequences are well staged and there is plenty of blood and gore to go along with the mayhem. A very entertaining, suspenseful and sadly overlooked genre flick from writer/director Howard McCain.
MonsterZero Nj trivia: Originally Karl Urban was sought to play Kainan but, the role went to Caviezel.
3 and 1/2 Moorwens
I’ve always liked monster movies and am a huge fan of Guillermo Del Toro, so it’s no surprise I champion his giant bug movie set in the sewers of NYC. But I really do believe this is a good and very underrated monster movie. The story tells of a deadly disease devastating the city’s children and carried by it’s cockroaches. Entomologist Susan Tyler (Mira Sorvino) creates The Judas Breed, a new insect bred to destroy the infected cockroaches then die-off themselves. But the Judas Breed have other ideas and are soon lurking and growing in the city sewers and are now preying on humans. Susan, along with her husband, NY health department employee, Peter (Jeremy Northam) and a reluctant subway cop, Leonard (Charles S. Dutton) find themselves in the fight of their lives, and the lives of everyone in the city, as an expedition into the depths of the subway system gets them trapped in the monster insects’ nest.
I really enjoy this sci-fi/horror as it’s got a good story, has a top notch cast, the creature FX are really good and there is enough carnage and action to satisfy the average monster/giant bug movie fan. The attack scenes are intense and suspenseful and Del Toro gives his creatures a nice air of mystery till he’s ready to reveal them and when he does, they are menacing and have a character about them. He creates a lot of mystery and atmosphere and his visual style is gorgeous as usual. There is now available a director’s cut as Del Toro was unhappy with studio tinkering on the original release. It expands the story of Sorvino’s Entomologist and her husband, Peter as they try to have a baby, basically adding a bit more of a human element to already likable characters. But those looking for more creature stuff will be sadly disappointed. Film also stars Josh Brolin, F. Murray Abraham and in a small role, Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus.