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Monday, December 3, 2012

Day 338: Dog Soldiers

Dog Soldiers
Sup, dog?

Today's movie is a special request from Julian of the super catchy band Glory Days. You should go listen to them now and follow them on Twitter. I'll wait. If you're on Twitter follow Julian at @juliandimagiba and Glory days at @weareglorydays. Now that we're all done swooning, back to the horror. I have had a few requests spread out over the course of this past year. Most people pick a movie that they think I'll like or may have missed. Not so much with this request. I was given this movie to watch with the knowledge that the movie was not good. A quick search on Rotten Tomatoes shows that it actually had a pretty high rating. Who would be right?

Dog Soldiers is a 2002 British werewolf movie starring Kevin McKidd (Grey's Anatomy, Trainspotting) as Private Cooper and Sean Pertwee (Soldier, Event Horizon) as Sergeant Harry Wells. An unnamed young couple are camping in the woods when they are viciously attacked by an unknown beast. Private Cooper has a tryout to join an elite military unit. In order to pass, Captain Richard Ryan (Liam Cunningham, Safe House, Game Of Thrones) commands Cooper to shoot a dog. Cooper refuses and Ryan shoots the dog himself, failing Cooper in the process. A month later, a group of British soldiers, including Cooper, drop into the Scotish highlands for a training mission with the elite unit. The find the unit savagely murdered with Captain Ryan wounded, but alive. He mentions being attacked by someone or something, but doesn't make much sense. The group is attacked by a pack of large werewolves and they try to fight back. Sgt. Wells is badly injured Their guns prove relatively useless and they make a run for it. The find a road and are picked up by a woman named Megan (Emma Cleasby, Doomsday, F). She takes them to an empty house where they tend to Wells' wounds and fortify their positions. They fight off the werewolves, but ammunition begins to run low. Surrounded, the group decides to plan for an escape. Will they be able to survive and are both Megan and Captain Ryan hiding something?

Awoooo werewolves of Scotland

This may be one of the few times where I've watched a movie in English and desperately needed subtitles. It's even worse than in Dead Cert. The combination of thick accents, foreign slang, fast talking, and a sprinkling of military terms left me utterly lost and confused in certain scenes. It didn't make much of a difference in terms of the story, but it would have been nice to know just what people are saying. Speaking of the story, it's a fairly predictable werewolf movie with more gun play than some war movies. There are plenty of guns and explosions which is all well and good except they don't really stop the werewolves. What's the point of wasting the ammo when it's not really doing anything? The movie tries to go with a few surprises, but they were pretty obvious. The movie also makes it a point to inject humor into many scenes. Some are funny, but others are eye roll worthy.

Dog Soldiers knows it's a low budget B-movie and revels in it. Sometimes that's a good thing and sometimes it's a bad thing. The camera work was a little shaky and erratic during the action scenes making it hard to focus on what's happening. About 80% of the movie is action scenes so you can see how that would get old fast. The werewolves actually look good, but a little stiff. It's a shame the camera never really focuses on them as we get quick shots and individual body parts instead. What the movie lacks in story and logic it makes up for in loads of blood and gore. Sgt. If you like the color red, you're really like this movie. Wells actually has his guts spilling out yet manages to push them back in and get patched up for a majority of the movie. Come one, really? Injuring him makes sense, but don't eviscerate the guy and play it off like he's fine. Some may think this is nitpicking for a cheap horror movie, but it's just too hard to ignore. The direction is fine and the acting is good. 

Plunker! Tallywhacker! Wanker! Uh...Loo!

Between Julian requesting Dog Soldiers because it was terrible and online reviews saying it was great, I have to side with Julian and not just because we're both wrestling nerds. While the violence is good and there's plenty of blood and gore, it wasn't enough to keep me from slipping into bored annoyance. The accents were so thick that I was reminded of the scene in Austin Powers: Goldmember where he and his father speak “English” English. I know it's supposed to be a B-movie, but I found it too hard to ignore plot holes and predictable twists. The werewolves look good, but the film doesn't really focus on them. If you look at a movie like The Wolfman or An American Werewolf InLondon, we see plenty of werewolf. Why hide them? There are better werewolf movies out there and I suggest you find them before settling for Dog Soldiers.


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