Dog Soldiers


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Dog Soldiers
"You have no idea what's going on."

Dark-and-stormy-night movies have a formula. You break it at your peril.

Writer/director Neil Marshall has borrowed components from the werewolf genre without fully understanding the importance of sticking to the rules. He starts well with a squad of soldiers on exercise in the Scottish Highlands, except the Special Ops captain (Liam Cunningham) is such a nasty piece of work that even the British army might have twigged that psychopaths don't make good officers. Also, the forest looks a bit clean (text message from publicity dept: "film shot Luxembourg") and the house in the middle of nowhere resembles nothing you might find in the wilds of Invernessshire.

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This isn't about The Falklands Factor, or why boys with guns like to do it in the rain. It's about being stuck in the sticks with a bust radio, a girl called Megan (Emma Cleasby) and some wolfy things in the woodshed.

It's Aliens on land. With a dodgy moon.

The script is high on squaddie banter, low on shocks. The creatures appear invincible, which is always an unfair advantage. You glimpse them in the blink of an eye, as if the effects budget ran out half way through. They attack suddenly. There is a lot of noise and gallons of blood and the Sarge's (Sean Pertwee) guts laid out across his belly. When you do see them, they look like tall girls in doggy masks.

You have no idea what's going on. Megan is a zoologist, studying fauna and staying in the house. She says the family who live there are nice people. Once a month they turn into werewolves and eat their neighbours, except there aren't any neighbours. Why don't they eat her?

It's a rotten advertisement for joining the army.

Reviewed on: 08 May 2002
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Soldiers on training exercise in Scotland meet hungry werewolves.
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Read more Dog Soldiers reviews:

Jennie Kermode ***

Director: Neil Marshall

Writer: Neil Marshall

Starring: Sean Pertwee, Kevin McKidd, Liam Cunningham, Emma Cleasby, Darren Morfitt, Chris Robson, Leslie Simpson

Year: 2002

Runtime: 105 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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