I’ve always had a lot of respect for independent movies. The passion and plucky spirit it takes to make a movie with just your guts and can-do attitude is admirable no matter what the result.

That sentiment extends even further to filmmakers making movies during the pandemic. With cast size and shooting locations limited, the degree of difficulty is that much higher.

That is why my hat is off to writer/director Nate Strayer and the cast and crew of his movie “Outlier.” Made during lockdown and on a budget, this little thriller is clearly a labor of love. 

The downside is that it’s not very good. “Outlier” is the first feature for pretty much everyone involved – and it shows.

The plot centers on Olivia (Jessica Denton), who is stuck in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend James (Logan Fleisher).

Olivia and James have an altercation at a gas station when Thomas (Thomas Cheslek), a complete stranger, intervenes. Thomas gives Olivia a ride and since she is distraught and has no place to go, she decides to go back to Thomas’ house until she gets things figured out.

Thomas, a software engineer, is mild-mannered and seems like your typical Good Samaritan, but Olivia soon discovers there might be more going on than meets the eye.

“Outlier” is mostly a stiff and dull thriller, although it does occasionally bump into some interesting ideas, like someone stumbling around a dark hotel room looking for the door to the bathroom.

There’s just not much here to get excited about and even though this movie essentially only has two characters, there’s barely any development to make you care about either one of them.

I definitely applaud the effort behind “Outlier,” but it takes more than just effort to produce a halfway decent movie.

“Outlier” is not rated but features adult situations and violence.

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