Sci-Fi Adventure Box Office Bomb Doesn’t Deserve All The Hate, Stream Without Netflix

By Nikola Pajtic | Published

Outlander is not your average sci-fi action film, but that is why it crash-landed at the box office. Written and directed by Howard McCain, with several popular faces in lead roles, including Jim Caviezel, Ron Pearlman, and Sophia Myles, it has aliens, monsters, and Vikings. So why wasn’t it a hit?

Vikings And Aliens

Box offices and critics can, at times, be wrong, and I think that is the case here. For viewers who are looking for a sci-fi adventure that isn’t laser battles in space, Outlander is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. 

I was intrigued by Outlander’s unique story, and I hope you feel the same way. The film follows Jim Caviezel as Kainan, a humanoid alien who crash-lands in Scandinavia, but it isn’t where but when that matters. The year is 709 AD. After receiving information on location and language, Kainan steps into the unknown world of Vikings. 

Beowulf Without The Subtext

He quickly realizes that he is not alone as a monstrous creature called the Moorwen is in the area and preying on Vikings. Outlander then jumps into a familiar arc as you quickly can tell which famous story it’s adapting, but don’t let it discourage you. Kainan has to adjust to the Viking culture, get accepted by the warriors, and help them save the village from the Moorwen, all without revealing his true identity.

As Outlander progresses, we are introduced to the traditional Viking villagers. These include a wise king, played by John Hurt, his fierce daughter, played by Sophia Myles, and the king of the neighboring village, portrayed by Ron Perlman.

Surprisingly Authentic Viking World

I am someone who enjoys both sci-fi and epic fantasy, and I was impressed by the stunning visuals of the film. The Moorwen is a bioluminescent giant monster, resembling Predator but even more terrifying. On the other side of the production efforts, we have a Viking world that will stay with you for a while, especially the costumes and sets that breathe authenticity. While watching Outlander, at times, I felt like being transported back in time. 

From The Director Of Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

Howard McCain is a great director and an even better writer, as he is the man behind the script for Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. Outlander is a mashup of different genres. You have action, sci-fi, adventure, and epic drama, and Howard clearly wanted to bring something unique to the screen. Unfortunately, it felt like the audience wasn’t prepared for it at the time. 

An Epic Box Office Bomb

Outlander had a bumpy ride even before it crash-landed in US theaters. McCain wrote the story in 1992, and ever since, it has experienced development challenges. Filming finally began in October 2006 in Nova Scotia, Canada, and Newfoundland. For the film, McCain constructed a replica Viking village and ship to represent production efforts. 

Outlander premiered in Latvia on July 11, 2008, and in the U.S. on January 23, 2009. However, it underperformed at the box office, grossing only $6 million worldwide against a reported budget of $47 million. 

Critics Didn’t Like It

The critics weren’t gentle either. Critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes average out to 37 percent, with one review calling the film “schizophrenic” and others claiming that it is lacking in execution. The public wasn’t much kinder, giving it a 45 percent audience rating, which is a little harsh for a delightful B-movie.

However, there were some positive reviews, including the one from Ray Bennett of The Hollywood Reporter, who found it entertaining despite its flaws, praising the special effects and monster design.

One Of The Greatest B-Movies


Before you start watching it, you need to know that Outlander is not a mainstream film. While the execution could have been a bit better, the film is still full of action scenes, has a sci-fi twist on a classic Beowulf story, and has an impressive cast. It doesn’t deserve all the hate it received on release, and it needs a second chance.