Saturday, February 8, 2014

Outcast (2010)(Minor Spoilers Review)

**This review contains MINOR spoilers. No major reveals, or character deaths**

Mary (Kate Dickie) will do anything to protect her teenage son, Fergal (Niall Bruton) from harm. Fergal and Mary constantly switch homes to avoid any suspicious eyes, and Mary chooses a rundown apartment complex for the next stop on Fergal’s relocation tour.

Fergal tries to adjust to his new surroundings, but Fergal crosses the line, when he breaks one of Mary’s rules: No girls. Petronella (Hanna Stanbridge) is falling in love with Fergal, but Fergal is hesitant to accept Petronella as his girlfriend in the early stages of their relationship.

Meanwhile, a fearless outsider named Cathal (James Nesbitt) accepts a proposal from a magical Celtic clan to hunt and kill Fergal. Cathal receives tattoos to grant him temporary powers from the Celtic clan. Liam (Ciaran McMenamin) guides Cathal in his mission to destroy Fergal, but Cathal is obsessed with Mary. Reluctantly, Laird (James Cosmo), a highly respected member of the clan, accepts Cathal as a temporary member of the clan.

During Cathal’s hunt and Mary’s never-ending mission to protect Fergal, a monstrous creature stalks and devours unsuspecting victims in Fergal’s apartment complex. Mary uses her knowledge of spells and black magic as a witch to stall and detour Cathal, but Fergal is desperate to live a normal life as a teenager. Fergal asks Petronella to runaway with him, but Petronella is terrified at the thought of leaving her mentally challenged brother, Tomatsk (Josh Whitelaw) alone, because Petronella’s mother is a hateful alcoholic.

Cathal is one step behind Mary, and the creature’s body count rises during his bloody rampages. Mary tries to outsmart a pesky social worker, and she explains her past with the magical Celtic clan to Fergal. And Fergal’s plans to runaway with Petronella are put on hold, when Fergal meets his estranged father for the first time…..

 Kate Dickie delivers the best performance as Mary. Mary is a cruel and callous mother, who will do anything to save Fergal, and she uses her own brand of tough love to protect her son. There’s a scene where Mary confronts the social worker, because Mary intentionally  used the wrong address for Fergal’s paperwork. The social worker threatens Mary with the police, but Mary uses a spell to put a curse on the social worker. The curse? The social worker will live out the rest of her days wandering the apartment complex. Dickie has this intense and vicious look on her face during a stare down, but Dickie’s performance isn’t limited to the strict and unflinching mother. Towards the end, Dickie shows a more vulnerable side with a few tears, while Mary explains her past to Fergal.

Bruton is believable, as the quiet and soft spoken teenager, who’s trying to break out of his shell. Nesbitt is genuinely despicable as the deranged scoundrel, who will do anything to kill Fergal and Mary. Stanbrdige is entertaining as the tough and spunky young woman. There’s a scene where Petronella stands up to and taunts a local tough guy for trashing her character, and there’s another scene where Petronella berates the social worker for snooping around and asking too many personal questions. Although, Petronella has a softer side at times, because she protects and takes care of Tomatsk, and you’ll see a  few tender moments with Petronella and Tomatsk together.

The hocus-pocus stuff and the voodoo magic tricks reach a tiresome point after a while, because Outcast crosses the line for overkill a few times. Still, I enjoyed this one. Outcast is a brooding and gruesome horror film, featuring a poignant love story. Petronella and Fergal live hellish lives, but Petronella is the cure for Fergal’s pain and vice versa.

Also, your jaw won’t hit the floor for the reveals at the end, but Outcast deserves credit for a well executed finale. The finale packs an emotional and tense punch during a whirlwind of chaos, and Mary‘s brutal last stand features one of the major highlights in Outcast.

Rating: 7/10

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