Dog Soldiers (2002)

Six soldiers. Full moon. No chance.
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Dog Soldiers - Six soldiers. Full moon. No chance.

For an innovative yet still traditional werewolf movie look no further than British Horror movie Dog Soldiers. Following a team of soldiers who believe that they are on a routine training mission, the charismatic team soon realise that they may not have been given the right amount of information to complete their assignment. The movie does not take itself too seriously although this could easily be missed due to the dry British wit throughout. The setup is typical for a horror and the scenario forces the story down a path where the only outcome can be guts, gore and scary wolf-man hybrids. Much of the blood and violence is crow-barred into the plot but this is by no means a criticism of the flow of the movie, anyone intrigued by this Brit-flick would be sorely disappointed if there was a scarcity of unnecessary human mutilation.

The movie begins in Scotland where a love struck couples camping trip is rudely cock-blocked by an unseen, yet obviously famished, beast who decides to redecorate the inside of the tent an un-subtle shade of vermillion.

The plot then jumps to Wales, where Private Cooper (Kevin McKidd) is flexing his survival abilities in a bid to become part of the illustrious crew know as Special Forces and although his skills are exemplary he fails due to his animal-loving nature when he refuses to shoot a dog. Private Cooper is send back to his conventional force by the big meany known as Captain Richard Ryan (Liam Cunningham). Four weeks later, Cooper and his squad are dropped into the Scottish highlands for a routine training mission led by Sergeant Harry G. Wells (Sean Pertwee). The squad, armed with blanks and against the Special Forces (can you see yet where the good guy antagonism is going to come from?), want the operation to be over as quickly as possible so that they can get home to watch the footy. The exercise soon increases in complexity as the tattered remains of the Special Forces unit are discovered with the lone survivor, Captain Ryan, having turned into a gibbering wreck. Soon after the gruesome discovery the soldiers are attacked by a very, very furry enemy who would get along in society so much better if their owners had made them wear their muzzle. Unfortunately, due to undisclosed mitigating circumstances, Cesar Milan was unable to join his squad for this training mission and unable to control the voracious hounds with the trademarked "tssst" on the neck, the army's members begin to decrease.

Deciding to flee, the squad are saved by a gallant female zoologist named Megan (Emma Cleasby) upholding the zoologist prime directive to stop the hostility between dogs and humans. Megan decides that the safest place to be after dark when surrounded by insatiable beasts is in a lonely house in the middle of nowhere with no telephone, and perplexingly the soldiers agree. Megan explains that the beasts are werewolves and again, perplexingly, the soldiers take her word for it.

Now all they need to do is survive the night and hope that no one in the house is soon to turn into a wolf.

As the movie ventures into the realms of traditional horror, after a period of horror unusualness and character building, the twists and turns take place in a fairly predictable yet still entertaining manner and the viewer is treated to a battle to the death between soldiers and wolf-people, hoping that the lycanthropes make a big dent in the army team as this will involve more glorious guts and mutilation. Dog Soldiers is a biggish budget Brit-flick thrown together with a low budget mindset to add a bit of B-movie authenticity and staying true to the flawless monster movie formula often seen in slasheresque movies where the age old horror baddies from back in the day are re-invented for a modern audience. Dog Soldiers is a solid slice of typically British horror and almost homage to the black and white horrors that started the craze for fear inspiring cinema.
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Categories: British Horror Movies
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