When I received Outpost from co-writer and director Justin Giddings, I wasn't sure what to expect. I love reviewing indie films for Film Daddy, but when I learned Outpost was a crowdfunded sci-fi film, I admittedly sat back in my seat and sighed.
When I hear any mention of 'sci-fi' I naturally think of blockbusters like Star Wars, Avatar, or Arrival because after all, science fiction is usually done best with a big budget and out-of-this-world computer-generated effects. And even with the right tools, sometimes the final product is –– for lack of a better word –– crappy. Time, money, and resources are the ingredients needed for a successful science fiction flick. Or so I thought.
At first I thought a crowdfunded movie attempting to tackle the science fiction genre sounded rough. So I pressed play and braced myself for the terribleness to come.
But the terribleness never came.
Outpost is an intense, yet thrilling, short film that kept me interested and on the edge of my seat. My biggest, and only, complaint is that it left me thirsting for more.
Keep it Coming
Outpost truly set out to accomplish a powerful storyline in a short running time of just 17 minutes. Because of this, the plot isn't as coherent as I'd want it to be or as nearly complex as the summary from the website shares. The story summary talks of making contact with other intelligent life while our main character bravely protects humanity, but neither of these ideas are fully fleshed out throughout the course of the 17-minute movie.
When the final Citizen of Earth's interplanetary research and diplomacy program finally makes first contact, he's forced to not only protect humanity, but that which makes him human: love.
It sounds more like an epic three-part saga instead of the short film it is. Despite this, the film's stars Ryan Welsh (who also co-wrote and directed the film) and Ryann Turner have a great onscreen chemistry that is rich and present in the small time we get to spend with them.
A Feast for the Eyes
In the end, I'm not mad that the plot wasn't as hearty as I normally would want. Visually, Outpost is stunning, which came as no surprise upon discovering visual effects artist Paul Lada was on the crew. Lada has a lot of impressive VFX credits on his resume like Prometheus, Harry Potter, and Tomb Raider. The visual effects compensate for the parts of the film where the story lacks.
Even the costumes (all of which were handmade) are striking –– a nod to the skill of designer Laura Cristina Ortiz. There's never a moment during Outpost where I doubt the existence of our main characters' universe and their life within it. Everything looks and feels undeniably real.
There's so much more for us to absorb in Outpost: from the characters and their journeys, all the way to the fate of humanity and the Citizen's mission at the outpost in the first place. But if I had to find something to complain about with this movie, I suppose "wishing it was longer" isn't the worst one to have.
So don't be like me. Don't judge a book (or film) by its crowdfunded cover, because it just may surprise. Outpost sure did.
Outpost was written and directed by Justin Giddings and Ryan Welsh, and stars Ryan Welsh and Ryann Turner. Film Daddy was contacted to review this film.
Brittany K. King is a Chicago-based writer and founder of Film Daddy. She spends most of her time avoiding saying the word ‘gyro’ out loud.
Follow Brittany on Twitter @brittanykking.