Tuesday 18 January 2011


Out now on DVD is this new James Nesbitt/Kate Dickie starring horror.

Check out the trailer and read my review, next...

On the run from dangerous madman Cathal (James Nesbitt), Fergal and Mary (Niall Bruton and Red Road's Kate Dickie) are forced to move to a Scottish council estate in an attempt to escape capture. It's not just Cathal they have to worry about though, as there's a beast roaming the estate with a link to their past. Young Fergal soon makes friends with the kind hearted neighbour girl Petronella (Hanna Stanbridge), but when residents start to go missing and Cathal closes in on their location, Kate must use some ancient forces in order to survive.

Outcast sets itself up as some sort of cross between Lynne Ramsey and Neil Marshall, managing to create some minor echoes of Let The Right One In in its early scenes. The unforgiving structures of the estate are made to appear like some sort of grim prison, which in effect they are for Petronella and the other residents. At the core of the film is the likeable, sympathetic character of Petronella, creating a window to the often mute and subdued character of Fergal.

James Nesbitt is quite an imposingly feral figure as the hunter Cathal, and both he and Kate Dickie should be commended for their impressively bitter performances. These characters have clearly spent a lot of time living in this world, with Mary struggling to hide her contempt of the duties Fergal has imposed on her. She didn't choose this life, and has become increasingly resentful at having to live it.

The film often shows Cathal making use of celtic rituals in his hunt for Fergal and Mary. These sequences add some weight to the supernatural themes of the film, as they could be based on actual lore. Although seemingly a monster film (and at times an unconventional love story), Outcast is less focused on showing us the roaming creature and more on its depiction of the dark arts.

As for the eventual reveal of the creature, it's wisely kept in the shadows until the finale, with the odd glimpse offering little clue as to the real identity of the beast. It's more than simply another Werewolf, and they should be commended for bringing a truly original creation to the screen, even if the final product doesn't quite live up to the hype.

Outcast is an assured attempt at a modern British horror, and despite not fully delivering on its initial promise, has some strong performances that make it an effectively creepy supernatural thriller.


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