Director: Neil Marshall .
Starring:Kevin McKidd, Sean Pertwee, Liam Cunningham . UK. 1h 45m.
Initially I thought this was the beginning of the hammer horror comeback. But sadly a bunch of nonchalant thrillers were released years later, that aside this is what the hammer horror revival should gave been goddammit!!
A group of clueless army grunts get shafted by their superiors into a bullshit situation with a most vicious and unlikely foe. The film begins three times, initially with a couple out camping who get attacked by an unknown beast in a hail of blood, then again Cooper (Kevin McKidd) whois introduced a hopeful to be gain access into a special ops group but is failed by the callus Ryan (Liam Cunningham) for not shooting an innocent dog on command, he’s assumed a wimp and then the third and thankfully final beginning, we get the group, headed by Sergeant Harry G. Wells(Sean Pertwee), Copper is now under his command and is was more comfortable with his underdog team. They are dumped into the middle of nowhere in Scotland, their aim is to track down and capture a group of special ops, but after some banter and a mysterious (and hilarious) cow death, they find themselves being hunted by “big ‘owling things” stumbling on the special ops camp that’s been obliterated, there are blood tracks and “remains” but no bodies, apart from ?? who has been nearly fatally wounded, but reluctantly they rescue him and manage to find a safe haven in a lone cottage in the woods, after being rescued by Megan (Emma Cleasby) who knows a little more than she’s willing to admit. So with two wounded soldiers, some bad feelings and limited ammo they make a stand against “the ‘owling things”.
It’s as if Guy Ritchie was asked to write a script for a not so serious horror movie, but it works, Dog Soldiers is so chuffing British it hurts. The boys are incredibly comfortable with each other and it shows on screen, a big lads night out crossover with a creature feature.
One of the biggest assets to this film is the no bullshit special effects, there is no CGI here, they have gone back to basics and have utilized the creature effects that British horror is so very famous for. The upright dogs that are stalking the soldiers from the shadows are a perfect combination of human and wolf.
Kevin McKidd shines in his movie as a strong willed, caring brave soldier, he really is the kinda guy you’d want to work for, Cunningham is the perfect arch enemy, being the total opposite, he’s self absorbed, rude and is highly abrasive against everyone in the house, including the dog that they adopt after moving in. Spoon and Joe also stand out as good back up cast, very distinctive, (Weather)Spoon is the loud hyperactive lad who makes for some interesting bait and cracking one liners, Joe just wants to be at home watching the footie. With the blend of Brit humor, some terrifying wolf antics this is definitely one of the more watchable and thoroughly enjoyable werewolf flicks with a brilliant action packed ending. it’s so easy to get into and doesn’t beat about the bush trying to educate the audience it’s just simply thrills us. Despite a few inaccuracies here and there, the lack of plot holes makes it pretty perfect, although I would have loved to have seen a little bit more of the wolves in the woods, they were so brilliantly designed to be hidden for most of the film that was the only shame, and the use of Claude Debussy, Clair De Lune is magical, in quiet take out scene near the end of the film Megan settles down at the piano playing this classical track as there is an almost sentimental montage of defeated faces on the soldiers, this song is of course a tribute to the moon, how fitting..
R – Howl (2015), Wolfen (1981), Howling (1981), Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998),
L – Selected Werewolf Movies, Selected Scottish Films, A-Z of werewolves,
A – Werewolves and how they slowly became lycans
5S – Sean Pertwee, Kevin McKidd, Liam Cunningham
Vs – Werewolves Vs Lycans