Dir. Neil Marshall (2002)
A group of army men doing routine maneuvers run into a group of werewolves on the Scottish moors.
I have been meaning to get around to this film forever, as I’m generally a fan of werewolf movies and this one usually comes highly recommended. I figured Halloween was the perfect time to do so and to share my thoughts with all of you lovely people. While I can definitely say that this one doesn’t hold up to classics like An American Werewolf in London (coming soon!), the creatures themselves were badass and there was more than enough violence to satisfy even the most ardent lycanthropic superfan.
Neil Marshall manages something incredible in this one, an indie film that, aside from the production values of the actual cinematography itself, feels very much like a big-budget Hollywood movie (or whatever the equivalent is in England). The acting is phenomenal, with a fun turn from Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones) in his most despicable role and Sean Pertwee (Event Horizon) at his most badass. The film is also filled with numerous callbacks to other famous horror movies, from The Evil Dead and Aliens to The Shining and Jaws. Marshall is a true fan of the genre, a fact that is evident throughout, and he holds absolutely nothing back by producing a werewolf movie that is equal parts brutal and hilarious.
There are a ton of twists and turns throughout the film, and the ending is batshit crazy. It’s a relatively boring film until the soldiers reach the cabin (and even a bit beyond), but once the werewolves reach their prey, all bets are off. It becomes almost a survival horror, but you’re never quite sure who’s going to make it out of this adventure alive. Will it be lovable hero Cooper (Kevin McKidd) or local maiden Megan (Emma Cleasby)? Will Ryan’s (Cunningham) enormous brass balls carry him through to the end? WILL THE FUCKING DOG DIE?! I came into this film hoping that I’d find an interesting and entertaining werewolf movie, and I left with a new member of my top 10 of the subgenre. This movie rocks, and its well deserving of its cult classic status.
Who this movie is for: Werewolf movie fans; Dark comedy fans; Dog lovers
Bottom line: Filled with brutal gore and some truly incredible creature design, Neil Marshall’s Dog Soldiers is the werewolf movie I didn’t know I needed in my life. This one is fantastic, highly recommended and a perfect addition to a Halloween marathon. Just stick it in the “werewolf” slot and be done with it. It might not be the best lycanthrope movie ever made, but it’s way more entertaining, for the most part, than some of the more well-known entries. It’s also got a fantastic Scream Factory release, so if you’re into physical media, I’d definitely give this edition a look. Check it out.