innocent_man: (redtalons)
[personal profile] innocent_man
Dog Soldiers is a werewolf movie with soldiers, directed by Neil Marshall, the same dude what did The Descent.

The movie opens with a young couple in Scotland getting eaten by werewolves (the man has just been knighted and given a pure silver letter opener, engraved "Chekov's Gun" [not really]). Then we cut to Cooper (Kevin McKidd) being tested for Special Forces and failing because his tester, Ryan (Liam Cunningham) orders him to shoot a dog and he refuses.

Cut to two weeks later, when Cooper's unit is deployed into Scotland for war games, against Ryan's unit, but they quickly discover that this ain't no game. They find the SF unit torn to shreds, Ryan alive but wounded, and they aren't sure what's doing it. One of them is killed, the sarge (Sean Pertwee), is wounded, and they wind up finding a young woman out driving her jeep (Emma Cleasby) who knows what's going on - there are werewolves.

They wind up at a farmhouse, dig in, and fight as best they can. But these werewolves don't just roll over and die when they're shot, these are the "silver or get fucked" variety. Oh, and they're infective.

The movie is a good action/horror movie, and it's notable for how the soldiers respond to the threat around them and for how they function as a unit of friends and comrades. It's very much like a war movie with werewolves. Also, there are neat little references to soldiers as dogs throughout, which makes for an interesting motif.

The issue, really, is with Meagan. She's actually a werewolf, and the implication is that she's trying to get out of the pack, but that she eventually comes to realize that these guys are screwed so she might as well eat them. That reveal is handled clumsily, though, and it doesn't make a lot of sense as presented. I'm willing to chalk some of it up to her being a bit unhinged, but it might also be that Marshall (who also wrote the screenplay) was grappling with some issues with women at the time, or that some important stuff got cut out.

The effects are interesting, if low budget. The werewolves are slow and cumbersome, so mostly you see them in quick cuts to make it look like they're faster. Their fur is beautiful and wolf-like, though. At the end, when they're picking their way through the kitchen, they grab the rafters in a way that looks interesting and stalk-y, but actually it was because they were on stilts and couldn't keep their balance (another happy accident for Marshall, like the cake thing in Descent).

I like this movie and it's a good werewolf movie, and we can always use more of those.

My grade: B+
Rewatch value: Medium-high

Next up: Don't Look in the Basement!

Date: 2012-07-20 06:17 pm (UTC)
gamerchick: Alistair from Dragon Age, looking happy.  Text: "Alistair approves +10" (Alistair approves)
From: [personal profile] gamerchick
I thought Dog Soldiers was cheesy but I freaking love The Descent. Perhaps one of my top 10 movies of all time. The only time I have ever full-on screamed in a movie theater was the first night-vision reveal of the crawler. It's so understated. I love it.

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