Dog Soldiers (DVD, 2009, Limited Edition; Steelbook)

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Let's go roast some canine bollocks with Dog Soldiers

Aug 25, 2005
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Writing, acting, characters, werewolves weren't CGI, action sequences

Cons:dragged a teeny bit in the middle

The Bottom Line: This is my new favorite werewolf movie... or movie with werewolves.


So we’ve moved Movie Marathon Weekends to a whole new level, and have recently decided to have themed Movie Marathon Weekends. This last weekend’s theme was the often cheesy, sometimes scary Horror genre. Our first movie (Dracula 2000) was very, very disappointing. The next movie ( Honogurai Mizu No Soko Kara a.k.a. Dark Water) was simply disappointing. So it was with great trepidation that we loaded the final DVD into the player and began watching what we thought was a simple Werewolf story, and was, quite frankly, the last of our picks because we didn’t have much hope for it: Dog Soldiers.

Before the main story begins, there are two set-up scenes. The first shows two campers. At night, their tent is unzipped and they are killed off-screen. Like much of the carnage that follows, the viewer is spared the actual killing, and left only with the remaining blood, guts and gore. The second set-up scene shows a man running through the woods, and then fighting with his hunters. When he’s finally caught, we learn that it was a “try-out” for a military Special-Ops team. The man, Cooper, has passed, but fails when he refuses Captain Ryan’s order to shoot one of the dogs. Ryan leaves Cooper with the ominous words: I don’t believe in second chances and I never forget.

And on with the movie…

In the Scotland Highlands, a group of soldiers (one of whom is Cooper) is doing a routine training exercise, when they come across another military camp. This camp, however, is decorated in blood and guts. The only man they can find is none other than a raving Captain Ryan, who looks like he’s been torn apart, and can’t stop muttering “There was only supposed to be one.” The soldiers quickly raid the camp to find any usable supplies, and then go in search of a working radio or phone, dragging Captain Ryan along with them. Night falls, and the soldiers are attacked by non-CGI werewolves who kill one soldier and gut Sgt. Wells.

They are rescued from certain death when Megan, a local zoologist, shows up and takes them to the nearest house, a house whose inhabitants have all gone missing. Still trying to struggle with the idea of lycanthropes, the soldiers, now led by Cooper, try and hold off the intelligent creatures, who are working together as a pack to infiltrate the house and eat. To make matters worse, Captain Ryan and Sgt. Wells, who have both been injured by the wolves, are healing at a suspiciously rapid rate.


What I liked:

Like Kevin McKidd said in the one DVD special feature, a making-of featurette, Dog Soldiers wasn’t a werewolf movie with some military aspects, but rather a military movie with some werewolves thrown in. Military or werewolf or love story, however, if you don’t feel a connection to the characters, if you don’t care what happens to them, good or bad, you won’t like the movie. In Dog Soldiers, I truly loved the soldiers, with the exception of Ryan, whom I truly despised. As we all know, characters in a movie aren’t worth their costumes if the writing isn’t good. Rest assured, Neil Marshall has done well here. With Brit slang and homage paid to the movies that have gone before, there’s a perfect blend of humor, seriousness and some damn fine action sequences.

What I didn’t like:

Really, there wasn’t much. Maybe it’s just because my expectations going in were so low, or I had just come off of two disappointing movies, but I absolutely loved Dog Soldiers. It dragged a bit in the middle, but that’s about it.

4˝ Stars


Movie Details:

Rated: R
Runtime: 105 minutes
Written by: Neil Marshall
Directed by: Neil Marshall
Starring: Cooper ~ Kevin McKidd (also in Trainspotting)
Sergeant Wells ~ Sean Pertwee (also in Soldier and Event Horizon)
Captain Ryan ~ Liam Cunningham (also in First Knight and A Little Princess)
Megan ~ Emma Cleasby


Recommend this product? Yes

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