The Horror Honeys: It Destroyed His World. He Won't Let It Destroy Ours

It Destroyed His World. He Won't Let It Destroy Ours

 A Sci-Fi Honey Review

Outlander (2008) -


I recall seeing the trailer for Outlander a long time ago and thinking “I need to see this movie." But I never did. So last night I was aimlessly searching for something to watch, and lo and behold, there it was.  I am a fan of Jim Caviezel, and this movie is loosely based on Beowulf, so it started on the plus side. 
By the way, don’t confuse this movie Outlander with the books called Outlander (and possible future movie) by Diana Gabaldon. Jim Caviezel does not, in fact, play a large redheaded Scotsman from 200 years ago in this film. Rather, he plays a mid-sized short haired Spaceman named Kainan from circa 709 AD. 
Kainan crash lands his spacecraft  in Norway in a lake, and swims to shore. His copilot is dead. He learns the language and customs Matrix-style (some kind of eye-based zappy thing that makes him hurl), then wanders around and gets captured by a Hot Viking while investigating a village that had been burned to the ground, whose houses had strange claw marks on the doors; claw marks he clearly recognized.  It turns out that a space monster called the Moorwen had hitched a ride with Kainan and was eating or taking back to its lair every living thing it encountered.  The movie centers around Kainan trying to convince the locals there is a monster, which he calls a dragon so they won’t think he’s crazy, and  then, once the Moorwen eats half the townsfolk and convinces them it’s really there, hunting it with swords. 


This movie is a whole bunch of things mixed together, some of which I like and some I don’t. I thought the performances from Jim Caviezel, John Hurt and Ron Perlman were great, especially John Hurt.  I loved the Moorwen: in my opinion it’s one of the coolest monsters I’ve ever seen. Alien, the Predator, and a large animal like a rhinoceros combined with a lion or a dinosaur or something, and is bioluminescent, at times looking like it’s filled with flames. It’s awesome. And it swims and has a crazy tail.
Seriously. Awesome. Monster.
The effects were generally pretty great. The costumes were also excellent: apparently they came from leftover costumes from the movie Beowulf and Grendel. The set was an actual village built in Nova Scotia or Newfoundland where it was filmed, and it has a handmade Viking ship in it that was actually sailed and burnt off the coast of Newfoundland for a funeral scene. Insane.
The writing, however, is the movie's weak spot. There was some random anachronistic language, and the comic relief scenes (Drunken Sidekick, Hilarious Feast Scene, the usual suspects) were cringe-inducing and made me eye-roll. The ending was just ok.  The action scenes were generally really well done.
Sci-Fi Honey Lowdown:  I have to say, this movie avoided most horror plot tropes like the plague, which was awesome. In most movies, I can usually tell what’s going to happen next, and in this movie I was wrong pretty much every time. It actually kept me guessing; I like that. And really, it was based on Beowulf, so it ends like Beowulf, you can’t fault the writers for that.
I see this movie got mixed reviews online, and I understand why.  The writing wasn’t strong and they should probably have avoided/cut the ‘amusing’ scenes and gone straight horror. But the Moorwen was awesome, the acting was good, the sets and costumes and effects were great, and it kept me guessing.

Sci-Fi Honey Rating: I give Outlander 3.5 Burning Villages out of 5. It was pretty.