Review: ‘Outer Range’ Is A Stellar Mystery With A Supernatural Edge

Something’s rotten in the state of Wyoming. That is, there’s a mystery afoot, something unfathomable that threatens to disrupt a rural family’s life. Outer Range is a stunning and intriguing supernaturally mysterious thriller, and one that balances an unusual threat against tense family crises for a satisfying dramatic ride. It’s one of the most interesting western-style series in years.

Outer Range follows Josh Brolin’s Royal Abbott, a rancher in Wyoming facing a number of competing pressures at exactly the same time. One of his sons gets in an altercation with the son of the nearby and antagonistic Tillerson clan, while mysterious stranger Autumn (Imogen Poots) wanders in to camp out on their property. All this, of course, simultaneous to the appearance of an unfathomable black void appearing on the Abbott properties that only Royal knows about.

Brolin is great as besieged and confused patriarch Royal, who attempts to hold everything together against forces he can’t understand and an increasingly antagonistic set of neighbors. Imogen Poots also excels as the mysterious wanderer, who has an odd connection to the land that Royal struggles to understand. The entire cast excels, with Noah Reid’s Billy Tillerson proving a charismatic but odd member of the threatening neighbor clan.

It’s a strong, driving story with enough threats and pressures to pull an interested viewer along, and both the rising decidedly natural threats to the family and the supernatural mysteries land. Hard though it is to discuss specifics without giving away the farm (sorry, I know, I know), Royal’s more otherworldly situation is well used to explore his relation to ‘the scheme of things’ in the wider universe, including God itself, in ways that add complexity well.

Altogether, Outer Range is a wonderfully multifaceted mystery thriller that balances a variety of otherworldly factors with an air of magic and beyond-the-pale curiosity throughout. It’s all anchored well by an excellent central performance from Josh Brolin, who manages to feel like a grounded anchor in a series that very much could go off the rails yet, due to some talented scripting, sticks the landing. A definite must-watch.