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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 15.7%
Just Average: 4.07%
Pretty Crappy: 2.91%
Sucks: 2.91%

6 reviews, 136 user ratings

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Dog Soldiers
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by Mel Valentin

"'Night of the Living Dead' crossed with 'Aliens.' Need I say more?"
5 stars

"Dog Soldiers," a low-budget, modestly ambitious combination of "Night of the Living Dead," "Aliens," and "The Howling," is the rare genre exercise that never strays from its genre roots or influences, but still manages to deliver a uniquely engaging, if gore-drenched and blood-filled, viewing experience. In short, "Dog Soldiers" takes a premise perfectly suited to a low budget, an isolated group, a farmhouse, desperate circumstances, marauding supernatural creatures (in this case, a werewolf pack on the hunt for fresh meat) and almost alchemically combined these elements into a highly enjoyable horror/werewolf genre bender that will both stand on its own as a fan favorite and signal the emergence of a new writing/directing talent, Neil Marshall.

Not all is perfect in Dog Soldiers, however. Marshall opens Dog Soldiers with a double prologue, switching unnecessarily between three scenes, one set in the present, the second two hours earlier, followed by a flash-forward four weeks later. The opening scene is almost completely unnecessary, introducing two disposal characters, a first taste of blood and gore (and to introduce an object that will play a key role at the climax). The second scene involves a training exercise, introducing the central character, Private Cooper (Kevin McKidd) and his all-too-human antagonist, Captain Ryan (Liam Cunningham). Ryan, it seems, is testing Cooper as part of the final exam to become a member of an elite fighting force. Cooper fails, ostensibly for refusing a direct order.

The flash-forward leaves us with Cooper and a squad of army reservists, led by the earthy Sergeant Wells (Sean Pertwee), on a training exercise in the Scottish Highlands. The other men seem more interested in an upcoming football match between England and Germany than in the training exercise that promises to rob them of their weekend. Alas, the squad encounter more than they bargain with when they come across Captain Ryan, seriously injured but still alive. Ryan is the sole survivor; his elite squad ambushed by werewolves. As night descends, panic sets in, leading to a mad scramble across a rapidly darkening forest, a werewolf attack that leaves one man dead and the sergeant mortally wounded and Cooper taking a leadership role.

A fortuitous coincidence leads the squad straight into a quiet stretch of road and Megan (Emma Cleasby), a local zoologist who takes the men back to a nearby, abandoned farmhouse. There, Cooper tries to patch up Sergeant Wells (a blackly comic scene involving Superglue), direct the men in defending the farmhouse (by boarding up windows, etc.), and obtaining answers from the duplicitous Captain Ryan, all while fending off periodic attacks from the werewolves (regular bullets wound the werewolves, but only temporarily). Silver, of course, can be used to dispatch the werewolves. Pity, however, that none can be found in the abandoned farmhouse (where, as in a familiar fairy tale, food lies on plates in bowls, uneaten, waiting for the expected return of the regular occupants of the farmhouse). The attacks come at regular, rapidly shrinking the group of survivors until one or two (or more) are left for the final confrontation with the werewolves.

As in better genre efforts, once the premise has been laid out through exposition and character action (and interaction), Dog Soldiers kicks into overdrive, with only the occasional bridge or transitional scene between the action set pieces (partly to push the audience toward the one or two or more plot turns that will decide the fates of the individual characters). The set pieces are generally handled with skill and imagination, hampered only by the inevitable revelation of the werewolves in all their shaggy, man-in-suit splendor. Plot wise, there’s the oddly expedient werewolf behavior that illogically allows the soldiers to regroup and repair the breaches in the farmhouse's defenses when another attack could take all the soldiers out. Sadly, Dog Soldiers suffers from dodgy, sometimes risible makeup effects (there’s an interrupted transformation scene, but nothing approaching the innovative transformations scenes found more than twenty years ago in American Werewolf in London or The Howling’s).Dog Soldiers is also hampered by a third-act plot turn that seems to cross the line from comedy into misogyny.

Dog Soldiers more than makes up for its minor flaws, however. On the plus side of the ledger, Dog Soldiers offers a consistently high gore content, well-staged action scenes, economical delineation of characters (through, an occasionally impenetrable argot), and predictable, if nonetheless satisfying, plot turns. In summary, a weak opening, a problematic third act turn, and weak makeup effects are the only flaws worth noting in a nearly flawless genre entry. Dog Soldiers fully deserves a strong, nearly unqualified, recommendation, especially for genre fans.

The forthcoming sequel, "Dog Soldiers: Fresh Meat," promises to follow the central character from the last minutes of the final scene in the first film into all-new encounters with werewolves and members of the Special Forces. Sadly, Neil Marshall isn’t involved in the sequel. He’s moved on to writing and directing another horror film, "The Descent," wherein a group of adventurous female cave divers find themselves menaced by subterranean predators and intra-group conflict.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=6150&reviewer=402
originally posted: 08/18/05 20:32:07
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User Comments

5/08/17 Mark Louis Baumgart One of the best werewolf movies EVER. Rewatch it all of the time. 5 stars
7/22/11 Rob Superbly paced low-budget masterpiece,a must-see for fans of quirky and stylishhorror 5 stars
10/04/10 jared Spoon is the shit!!!! his fight alone makes this an awesome movie 5 stars
9/17/09 Richard Only plot hole: Megan heard gunfire the night before, yet not a shot gotten off by the SF 5 stars
5/04/09 Ben Awesome 5 stars
10/31/08 Shaun Wallner Friiggin Awesome!! 5 stars
6/25/07 CODY slow at first but cool action and horror movies, with great looking werewolves 3 stars
4/18/07 Stevo UK If the british army cant find a bunch of dogs, we need better funding from blair. 2 stars
10/29/06 Richard Agree completely. Best since An American Werewolf in London 5 stars
9/07/06 Ric Eh, Predator was much better. 2 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist No morph scenes, but still a good, well depicted werewolf flick!! 4 stars
4/11/06 ducka One of my favorites 5 stars
12/22/05 Dan Sylvestre Outrageously gory, refreshingly CGI free, don't miss it. 5 stars
10/04/05 firthy the best film in existance it couldnt be better 5 stars
10/02/05 cooper the uath... tha uath... 5 stars
9/04/05 Kaz Fantastic, Really funny 5 stars
8/29/05 Ian Superb, especially the psychology of the characters 5 stars
8/14/05 scott jebbia great movie 5 stars
7/18/05 Brandy Harrington This movie does NOT FUCK AROUND! Very badass. 5 stars
7/10/05 daveyt Long way from foundation, good work Neil...!!! 5 stars
5/16/05 E-FUNK Ranks up there with 'Howling', 'American Werewolf', and 'Ginger Snaps'. Cool fucking movie. 5 stars
3/17/05 megan good flim 5 stars
2/15/05 Jack Mack For my money the best werewolf film EVER! 5 stars
2/01/05 buda This movie rocks! 4 stars
11/16/04 Gooey Its the best werewolf movie ever 5 stars
11/13/04 Craig Jeffrey Best brit film in years. I cant get enough. Pertwee is amazing (Again). 5 stars
11/13/04 X $ % & ! Loved when the guy stabbed the wolf 100000 times. 4 stars
10/27/04 Steve Newman Great to see a UK AWESOME film - go watch 5 stars
9/26/04 KD Great action stuff 4 stars
9/22/04 Vince Pretty cool, but maybe slightly overrated by the efilmcritic crowd here 4 stars
8/26/04 American Slasher Goddess One of the best werewolf movies in a long time 4 stars
8/17/04 Destroy This Movie I loved this movie. Disregard Destroy 5 stars
8/16/04 Electron Overlord This movie kicked mopped the floor with the other werewolf film. But transformation... 5 stars
7/02/04 Stab Wounds Lots of blood and guts. 5 stars
6/04/04 Dean Rapp The werewolves costumes, took away from the movie. 4 stars
6/02/04 Mr. me Better than American Werewolf in London, & better than the Howling 5 stars
5/14/04 Andrew Lekar This is one of the best werewolf movies that I have ever had the privlidge to see. 5 stars
5/12/04  Shaun Rose I wish more movies were made today like this one. 5 stars
5/10/04 me Kickass Shit! 5 stars
5/05/04 Stephanie Mansi The Film was Brillient i loved eevery minute of it . 5 stars
4/18/04 Jon Great big sloppy fun 5 stars
4/16/04 Michael Greenwaldt Definitely no GINGER SNAPS, but pretty good once it gets going! 3 stars
4/14/04 Naomi Vingoe It's such i kool movie me and my friend watch it in a movie marathon 5 stars
4/04/04 Electricshadow So much potential. BUT! THe werewolfs were embarrasing, as was the dialog as was the plot 1 stars
4/02/04 Lord Durvok 2 Rips off so many movies it hurts 3 stars
4/02/04 steney spoon aka darren morfitt looks like Sam beb he is gorgeous and so are the wolves 5 stars
3/01/04 Charles Tatum Finally, a twist on the werewolf story 4 stars
2/28/04 slimmypee I LOVE DARREN MORFITT AND DOG SOLDIERS 5 stars
2/24/04 Cheyenne Conley LOVEIT!!!! w/ SEXY SOLDIERS 5 stars
2/23/04 Naturezrevenge Awesome little werewolf movie with soul. A must see for lycanthrope fans! 5 stars
2/02/04 Eloise 10 stars!!!!! love it love it love it love it 5 stars
1/21/04 American Slasher Goddess One of the best werewolf flicks in a long time. 4 stars
1/15/04 Vince Entertaining... but not that great. 3 stars
12/11/03 Micheal Fantastico!!! 5 stars
12/09/03 Witherspoon This is a fucking masterpiece. 5 stars
12/08/03 justin o'connor fucking great film 5 stars
12/01/03 Sammy The little film that no one heard or cared about when released... Now a cult classic! 5 stars
11/10/03 Renegade Bushido British swear words, Spoons stand, and awsome werewolves=cult movie classic 5 stars
10/19/03 Josh Standlee Those werewolves are friggin' huge! 5 stars
10/14/03 Gary GREAT 5 stars
10/12/03 Angel LOVED IT!!! LOVED IT!!! LOVED IT!!! 5 stars
9/28/03 Eloise Fan bloody tastic. Hollywood should be very afraid, this budget flick kicks their fat asses 5 stars
9/08/03 Carly Weston the best, and I've seen a lot lately 5 stars
9/07/03 Mikal Trimm Does for werewolf movies what 'Near Dark' did for vampire movies--made them cool again. 5 stars
9/06/03 R.W. Welch Basically The Alamo with werewolves. Okay, I guess. 3 stars
8/25/03 Amy R. M. Absolutly Awesome!!! I love everything about this film and its my no. 1 fav. in the world! 5 stars
8/16/03 dwukwiat KANIMO@poczta.fm the best fight scene in the kitchen, die dog die 5 stars
8/12/03 Rudiger "I hope I give u the shits, you fucking wimp!" - Classic. 5 stars
8/10/03 trent hughes the best wherewolf movie of all time!! 5 stars
7/23/03 Jan Fan - fucking tastic and Darren Morfitt is gorgeous 5 stars
7/18/03 mcculloch ,???? sweet meat,and a dash of intestinal pleasure! 5 stars
7/11/03 Alice Amusing 3 stars
6/24/03 HEATHER WARGO it's one of the greaties werewolf movies that i have seen and i seen them all. 5 stars
6/22/03 Davey Packer Best portayal of squadies in years, (fuck 28 days later!) 5 stars
6/16/03 Freya Howle I love it! 5 stars
6/08/03 Amanda Roberts As an ex military girl this film reminds me of why I joined up and of how much I miss it! 5 stars
5/11/03 Jack Bourbon Great accents, dumb dialogue. Fun movie, though. 4 stars
4/25/03 mr. Pink Didn't like this at all. I didn't care one iota for this crap. 1 stars
4/21/03 Tak ***** 5 stars
3/31/03 YES Best action/horror flick since Pitch Black. The action is fast, intense, and thrilling. 5 stars
3/30/03 Elendil I'm getting too old for this shit. 1 stars
3/29/03 Zedi fuckin brillant 5 stars
3/27/03 Jon "Thumb the Toad" Lyrik Yeah! Gore, horror, and humor! 5 stars
3/12/03 Dave Parker Complete agreeance! One of the most entertaining horror flicks in years! 5 stars
3/11/03 Sean Connery Suck it, MrChri5. Suck it long, and suck it hard! 5 stars
3/03/03 MrChri5 whats up with all the reviews? Its nothing special but worth renting. 3 stars
2/15/03 matt awesome 5 stars
1/27/03 TheBomb69 good movie but there was some holes in the story 4 stars
1/01/03 Vince Reed THIS BLOODY SOB F'ING ROCKS!!! 5 stars
12/31/02 Debbie Fantastic! Definitely worth OWNING! 5 stars
12/30/02 Stephen Butcher Brilliant, having been patiently waiting for the DVD release to show all my friends 5 stars
12/29/02 Isaac I didn't want the movie to end, it was that good! 5 stars
12/23/02 carl burton funny 5 stars
12/23/02 MASTER ROBIN FLANNIGAN The story was good and the acting was good considering the "type" of movie it was. 5 stars
12/22/02 wishdarrenwasmine this movie kicks ass and spoon was so hot...mmmmmmmmmmm...spoon 5 stars
12/16/02 Becky Great acting, fun horror, and good humor. So good, I even bought it on video. 5 stars
12/14/02 Brian Iwinski For not much of a budget, they pulled it off. I was entertained from the opening credits! 5 stars
12/13/02 Ashley West the best movie i've seen in ages. it scared the shit out of my mard arse friend. love it. 5 stars
12/10/02 nwo a lot of blood and guts!!!!!!! 5 stars
12/09/02 Paul Doherty Great film. Has true British grit, and humor. UK makes some great films. 5 stars
12/08/02 Sean Horan Good movie, great ending, and a surprise for the genre. 4 stars
12/08/02 weaselteet KICKS ASS 5 stars
12/08/02 MICK SWEEEET!!! 5 stars
12/08/02 Uter A nice homage to the multiple genres. McKidd (aka Tommy) and Cleasby are worth it alone.. 5 stars
12/05/02 Patrick Durkin Best werewolf movie since "American Werewolf in London" and I think better 5 stars
12/02/02 billy boy its was fucking scary as hell 5 stars
12/01/02 Yo Mama! Holy shit...that was pretty scary....I don't think I'll be eating sausages for a while!!! 5 stars
11/27/02 Ultimate Judge Boring. Not Scary. Ridiculous, crappy monsters. And did I mention that it was BORING.. 2 stars
11/26/02 CutterNewmoon Thoroughly enjoyable despite obvious plot holes and bad physics. 4 stars
11/25/02 Mr. Teeter Quite frankly, the laws of Physics were not evident in this picture which detracted from it 1 stars
11/24/02 Spunk Pumpkin heads body with lassies head? More holes then a pack of swiss, no predator for sur 1 stars
11/23/02 d v good 5 stars
11/20/02 Mason i thought it was dogshit 5 stars
11/19/02 Did We Watch The Same Movie? Great in spots, but the worst looking werewolvessince Lon Chaney 4 stars
11/19/02 Full Moon's Fury FANTASTIC!!!! .And Cooper is so sexy!!!! I luv it when they're gluing the Sarg bac 2gether 5 stars
11/17/02 SilverFang I loved that movie! its awsome! and the werewolves are soo cool! 5 stars
11/17/02 Kyle Fuck. This deserved a U.S. theatrical release... 5 stars
11/16/02 Bullpen "Bloody awful, if you ask me..." 2 stars
11/13/02 me had great black humour to add to the frightning scenes 5 stars
11/12/02 Film Dude Yeah, this was on Sci-Fi back in August... 5 stars
11/11/02 Maggie Griffin Forget the bland horror movies where you only see a shadowy werewolf with bad lighting! 5 stars
11/09/02 Stacey A really great movie... *So much suspense* 5 stars
11/07/02 Robert Sandlan What the Blair Which should have been! 5 stars
11/05/02 i see Wasn't this on SCIFI back in March? 5 stars
11/05/02 Colin McCarthy Finally someone remembers what makes a great horror flick. I love it to bits. 5 stars
10/09/02 Steve.M One of the Best all action horror/action movies ive seen 5 stars
9/25/02 Michael Roberts Best film I ever saw involving werewolves 5 stars
9/22/02 gary salter the best werewolf movie ever!!!!, tons of action, gore,mayhem!!!Saw it at a local horror fi 5 stars
9/20/02 Rastabub Great werwolf movie, I saw it in the US on the sci-fi channel. See Ginger Snaps, too! 4 stars
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  01-Nov-2002 (R)



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