Outcast DVD Review
Directed by Colm McCarthy
Written by NAME
2010, Region 2 (PAL), 98 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 17th January 2011
Therese Bradley as Jitta
Niall Bruton as Fergal
Claire Catterson as Susan
James Cosmo as Laird
Kate Dickie as Mary
Christopher Downie as Police Officer #1
Karen Gillan as Ally
James Nesbitt as Cathal
Hubble bubble toil and trouble. The age-old tales of witches’ spells and superstitions have certainly come a long way since Hocus Pocus! With the teen-pedalled resurgence of vampires and werewolves and the like, mainstream British TV actor James Nesbitt stars in this supernatural thriller backlash, which is just for the grownups. So no teenyboppers allowed, you hear?
A mother and her teenage son move to a new estate in Scotland. The type of estate that, if you look at it from far enough away, you would think it had been abandoned years ago. It’s the kind everyone has chosen to forget or ignore. Scraps of litter are scattered and piled up across the black and grey streets, kids lurk about like modern day zombies and it looks cold and wet, even on the sunniest and driest of days. A young boy, Fergal seems nice enough; quiet and unassuming. He soon attracts the attention of local ‘tart with a heart’ Petronella, who lets her depressing surroundings affect her more than she lets on. It soon transpires that, if Fergal’s mother Mary is to be believed, there is something odd about her ‘nice’ boy, something evil.
Meanwhile Cathal and Liam, two mysterious Irish men, are on the rampage. They’re a bit like the brothers in Supernatural, but older and hairier. Okay then, nothing like them. A crude tattoo is etched all over Cathal’s back which gives him special powers to kill a beast that is stalking the dark corners of the estate. Together they cast spells, using poor unsuspecting birds as sacrifices, to track it down. Mary, who seems to be a complete nut job with her nightly flesh cutting rituals and suitably evil glares, is simultaneously casting some spells of her own.
There are a lot of famous faces here from British television, so I was expecting something first class, but some of the acting misses a beat with me and I think I know why. You know when you watch a scene being filmed and the actor has to react to something that will later be CGI’d in? It looks false because our short attention spans and SFX-spoiled minds are used to everything being there. That’s what happened here. It was almost as though they’d forgotten to add something which left the performances looking ‘hammy’.
Much of the spell casting scenes seem to involve naked people writhing and twitching in a very bizarre fashion which, quite frankly, made me feel a little uncomfortable. Or did it just make me snigger? I don’t remember now. There is a wonderfully gruesome moment when Cathal cuts off a bit of his own tattoo. I’m ashamed to say I gasped with delight at that point, when it seemed the story was looking up instead of meandering around the depressing streets of Scotland that bear no relation to the reality of the place. All in all, what with the reveal I sadly saw coming a mile away, I couldn’t help but feel it would’ve benefited from being half an hour shorter. And perhaps a cameo part from Bette Midler.
Video and Audio:
The DVD is presented in an aspect Ratio of 1.78:1, with many of the scenes being so dark I could barely see what was going on. Although the audio is fine, with all the thick Scottish and Irish accents some viewers may benefit from the use of subtitles.
A trailer which is somehow more eventful than the film itself.