Dog Soldiers

Dog Soldiers (2002) movie poster

(2002) dir. Neil Marshall
viewed: 03/01/07

A few years back, my brother-in-law and my nephew rented this movie and told me about it.  I’d never heard of it at the time.  They had mixed feelings about it.  So, I never really made it any priority to see.  But then I saw writer/director Neil Marshall’s recent horror film, The Descent (2005), which had a reasonable buzz as being pretty scary.  And I really thought it had some quality elements in it, and so I decided to queue this one up.

Set in the Scottish Highlands, a small group of army men get dropped off for a training exercise.  But it turns out that there are big, scary werewolves teeming the area, and they start getting killed with lots of spurting blood.  It’s that kind of movie.

The werewolves themselves make-up, costume, animatronic things, that are first shown primarily in shadow.  There is a quality to non-CGI FX but sometimes they can look a little crappy too.  I shouldn’t complain.  It wasn’t a real problem.  It was part of the film’s charm.

What Marshall seems to do best is write and direct his cast.  Unfortunately, he also edits the movie, which has a fucked up pacing, especially in early scenes.  Editing is not meant to draw your attention most of the time, so if you notice it, there’s a good chance it’s not working well.  He also occasionally over-uses camera movement in settings that really don’t call for it.  This annoyed me a lot in the first part of the film.

But the thing is, it’s pretty good.  Most of the actors are good and while there are some hilariously ridiculous plot points, the whole thing works well.  It’s not brilliant, but it’s entertaining, and it’s promising.  Hopefully, Marshall will continue to develop as a writer/director.  I will certainly keep an eye out for his next film.

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