March 9, 2013 21 Comments
- Kevin McKidd as Private Cooper
- Sean Pertwee as Sergeant Harry Wells
- Emma Cleasby as Megan
- Liam Cunningham as Captain Ryan
- Darren Morfitt as Private Spoon
- Chris Robson as Private Joe Kirkley
- Leslie Simpson as Private Terry Milburn
- Thomas Lockyer as Corporal Bruce Campbell
Dog Soldiers marked the debut of Neil Marshall, who would later go on to direct the claustrophobic The Descent. And what a debut it is. Brutal, darkly funny and all out action, Dog Soldiers is a werewolf horror film with a lot of bite(pardon the pun).
A group of British Army soldiers are dropped in the Scottish Highlands for a routine training mission. The group is led by the wise-cracking sergeant and the no-nonsense Private Cooper. Some of the group, most notably the football loving Terry are bored and wanting to find out the result of the England v.s Germany game, but soon the ordinary training mission changes into something very unexpected. They come across the bloody remains of their opponents and the only survivor is Captain Ryan, who has history with Cooper. The Captain enigmatically hints at what caused the carnage but doesn’t reveal it. Not long after, the soldiers are attacked by unseen assailants, and begin a desperate defence in order to stay alive. They are picked up by Megan, a zoologist working in the area and taken to a nearby house that acts as a shelter against the attackers. Once inside, Megan reveals what they are fighting is much more dangerous than the soldiers imagined, they are werewolves. So begins a bloody, action-packed and bullet laden horror as the soldiers try to fight the lycanthropic threat and make it till the morning sun rises.
Like with The Descent, Marshall creates believable characters whose relationships with each other seem genuine within the context of a horror film. The film could easily function just as well as an action film, but the presence of the werewolves adds another dimension to the film and creates a darkly comic undercurrent as the soldiers try to outwit the bloodthirsty enemy. Nowhere is this more apparent than when the group realises their shortage of ammunition and resort to using old weapons in order to protect themselves. The character of Spoon who loves violence and is skilled with weapons, is also used to great effect when grappling with the lupine enemy. His line as the creature grabs him around the neck is humorous and sums up his character’s personality and never give up attitude. Because of things like this, the film succeeds with combining shocking amounts of gore and comedy horror whilst retaining an action packed atmosphere that barely pauses for breath once the first attack starts.
If by chance, Dog Soldiers has evaded your attention or you’re a fan of The Descent, then this film is advisable to you. If you love gory horror films sprinkled with dark humour and copious amounts of blood, this film is crucial.