Lookouts (2016)

lookoutsI’m very surprised by how great “Lookouts” ended up being, as often times fantasy films from independent directors never really change my idea about the genre in general. “Lookouts” is thankfully a very unique and heartfelt fantasy thriller centered on a young boy who has to grow up to become a man, and face down a monster that’s stolen almost everything in his life that he cherished. I think if “Lookouts” is ever financed as a major motion picture, we could have a wonderful epic on our hands. Based on the popular Penny Arcade comic series “May we Die in the Forest, directors David and Kristin Bousquet do a bang up job realizing a world that’s both awe inspiring and teeming with menace.

Most of “Lookouts” is based on flashback with the directors conveying the narrative through shifts in time that connect the dots on how we arrived to young Pehn. Terrified of monsters, Pehn ventures out with his mentor and fellow troop members to look for a root to help cure his leg wound. When Pehn ventures out on his own, straying from his troop, he is taken surprised by the hideous basilisk which proceeds to destroy his group and skilled mentor. Now faced with guilt and paralyzing fear, Pehn decides to go out and track down the basilisk to seek revenge. The Bousquets do a darn fine job with pacing and offering some grade A special effects that are near seamless. Perhaps the most effective moments of CGI involve the snarling and flying basilisk, and the creepy shells of its victims frozen in terror.

Star Kelton Roney is great as inadvertent hero Pehn who is tasked with hunting with dread basilisk, which dwells in the woods, while Chris Cleveland is a scene stealer as the Ranger who leaves a mark on Pehn, helping his transition in to manhood. David and Kristin Bousquet’s adaptation is quite impressive garnering some excellent cinematography and sharp editing that help this world come alive in such a short span of time. I hope we can see a follow up or lengthier version of “Lookouts” somewhere down the line, as there’s an epic tale of coming of age that deserves to be told.