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

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Six Soldiers. Full Moon. No Chance. DOG SOLDIERS

Sep 12, 2009 (Updated Sep 26, 2010)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Great actors, realistic dialogue, and gore, gore, gore.

Cons:Gore, gore, gore.  And cussin'.

The Bottom Line:

The werewolf movie is humping the leg of the War movie, and the results are pretty darn good.


Dog Soldiers (2002) Written and Directed by Neil Marshall

Wells: If we do happen to make contact, I expect nothing less than gratuitous violence from the lot of ya. Because we're firing blanks doesn't mean we have to be thinking nice thoughts. So you remember, you keep the fire down, right, you get stuck in and you kick their f***ing teeth out, or I guarantee you, Joe, they will be eating your bollocks for breakfast, sunshine.
Terry: Hard-boiled or fried, Sarge?
Wells: Scrambled.

Werewolves and British special forces.  Sounds like a recipe for a made for Sci Fi Channel cheese fest, right?  Well, surprise, surprise, this is rather good.

To set the background; Cooper (Kevin McKidd) is trying out for special forces, but the commander of that unit has a test that goes one step beyond; Captain Ryan (Liam Cunningham) orders him to kill a dog.  Ryan was right; Cooper is not the kind to blindly follow stupid and cruel orders, and that makes him unsuitable.

Jump forward.  The almanac says to September 1, 2001. (Full moon, and the soccer scores for England versus Germany match up.) Cooper's new unit is on combat training in the forests of Scotland.  But they are not alone in these woods, and when they find the gory remains of several soldiers, they switch from training rounds to live ammo.  There are strange shapes in the trees, and howling.  Being sensible lads, they start looking for the way out.

The encounter two people on their retreat, Captain Ryan, and a local woman, a zoologist named Megan (Emma Cleasby).  Ryan is the only survivor of his unit, and near death.  Megan takes them to a nearby cottage.

As they retreat, they see what is following them, and there's no denying what they are; werewolves.    So, here they are, in a cottage fifty miles from the neighbors, night is falling, there are eight people, and a lot more werewolves.

Duty Roster:
Sean Pertwee ...  Sgt. Harry G. Wells
 Kevin McKidd ...  Pvt. Cooper
Liam Cunningham ...  Capt. Ryan
Thomas Lockyer ...  Cpl. Bruce Campbell
Darren Morfitt ...  'Spoon' Witherspoon
Chris Robson ...  Pvt. Joe Kirkley
Leslie Simpson ...  Pvt. Terry Milburn

This is Aliens meets the Howling, with thick British Accents.  A team of crack soldiers facing down against a relentless foe, one that can make you into one of them.  Outnumbered, and far from home, they have to try to survive.  And just because you are well armed doesn't mean you are armed enough.

There are several things going for this production.  It has the necessary element of isolation.  It has engaging characters that you can identify with.  The limeys may be bad^$$ but they are very human, and their language is earthy in the extreme.  Definitely not for kids.  But they are not devoid of humor, and you like them.
The next thing is they resisted the urge to use CGI on the werewolves; they are men in suits.  Big men, in furry suits.  And pretty good suits at that.  And to hide some of the lacks and flaws in the suits, they hint rather than show, which is always good in horror.
They also did not stint on the gore.  This is definitely not for kids.  Certain scenes could be marketed as diet aids.  There is blood splatter, disembowelments, and dismemberments, and spare body parts, lying around.  Not my cup of tea, personally, but I know the difference between well done and cheese fest; this is fairly well done.
But the movie's biggest strength is the Dog Soldiers.  They did not stint on the talent.  Sean Pertwee and Kevin McKidd are definitely not B List.  And in fact, they were so cozy with the director that many of these same actors appear in the director's next project, Doomsday.  Nor is there a weak performance.  Admittedly, sometimes the accents are so thick I am tempted to turn on the subtitles.

All in all, one of the better horror titles of 2002.

This review, like Pvt. Cooper, is Lean-N-Mean, at a concise 666 words.

Full Moon Theatre. Werewolves on the Silver Screen.



The Howling
(0)True Blood: Season Two.(O)Wolf Moon(O)Wild Country (O)The Wolfman (2010)(O)War Wolves(O)Wolf Man: The Legacy Collection
She-Wolf of London(O)Werewolf of London(O)The Twilight Saga: New Moon(O)Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man
The Wolf Man(O)Dog Soldiers(O)Wolf(O)True Blood
An American Werewolf in Paris(O)Underworld: Rise of the Lycans(O)Underworld(O)An American Werewolf in London
Silver Bullet(O)The Brothers Grimm(O)Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(O)The Brotherhood of the Wolf(O)Wolves of Kromer


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