You Won't Waste Your Time With This One
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 10/08/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Every few years a horror film comes along that simply wows genre fans. Maybe it has something to do with awesome gore effects, or a better than average plot, or great performances by previously unknown actors; it might even resemble something like "Dog Soldiers," a recent film that contains all of the above mentioned attributes along with a nifty reworking of one of horror's old touchstones: the werewolf story. Whatever it is that makes a horror film stand out, we need more movies that look like this one. "Dog Soldiers" seemed to come out of nowhere, like manna from heaven feeding weary horror fans slogging through the deserts of slasher film retreads and the recent trend of mediocre remakes. The fact that this gripping take on the werewolf legend comes from the British Isles makes it even more remarkable. The misty climes of the Scottish highlands are the perfect setting for such a bleak movie. Remember how successful "An American Werewolf in London" was when it took place in the same bleak atmosphere? You get that type of oppressiveness in "Dog Soldiers" as well.No one really believes in werewolves anymore. The whole business about people changing into bloodthirsty wolves when a full moon comes out just doesn't seem as scary in a world of serial killers and terrorism. And shooting a beast through the heart with a silver bullet or stabbing them with a silver blade? C'mon! Something as easy as that wouldn't even turn Jason Voorhees's head for a second! Yep, in today's world you will need something much more involved than a couple of hairy brutes roaming around in the woods once a month. Fortunately, you get much more with "Dog Soldiers." How about an entire family of werewolves, a squad of heavily armed soldiers on a training exercise in the wilds of Scotland, and a deserted house in the middle of nowhere? How about a guy brave enough to take on an eight-foot tall werewolf with his bare hands? How about enough gunfire to make "Scarface" look like a Disney film? If you think lycanthropes and assault weapons go together like milk and cookies, you will adore this film.The plot is seductively simple: a squad of army regulars, including a tough as nails soldier who recently flunked out of SAS training because he wouldn't shoot a dog, runs into more than they can handle during a routine exercise out in the hills. They uncover a group of SAS troops torn to pieces in the wild, and find only one survivor of the group cowering nearby (who just happens to be the guy who flunked our sturdy hero out of the SAS). This colonel rants and raves about how there are more of "them" then we thought, and how there's no way to stop them, and other seemingly mad statements. One thing's for certain: anything that can turn a group of SAS commandos into hamburger would send me running home to mother. The regular army guys recognize this danger, too, and decide to scoot right out of the hills and back to civilization. Regrettably, whatever attacked the SAS guys suddenly reappears to wreak havoc on our group of heroes. While fleeing through the woods from these shadowy figures, the men stumble upon a vehicle driving along a country lane. As it turns out, the car contains a beautiful young lass who knows all about what's going on in the woods. It's werewolves out hunting for the night, she says, and as if to emphasis this point the lycanthropes attack the car. The group manages to get to a nearby house and barricade themselves inside, but the vehicle goes up in flames and now there is no way out until morning. The rest of the film consists of one lengthy combat scene after another, as the soldiers use machine guns, blades, and their bare hands to hold off the group of enraged wolves. Another thing: for some reason best left unsaid here, the werewolves seem to resent the soldiers holing up in this particular house. These guys just cannot get a break.With the exception of one scene well into the movie that strains the bounds of believability, everything works in "Dog Soldiers." The characters are interesting and well developed, especially the Sergeant leading the platoon and the rejected SAS soldier. Even the evil SAS colonel who knows much more than he is letting on adds a fun dimension to the film. Throw in literally gallons of blood and gore, gallows humor dialogue, and pacing that fairly grabs you around the neck and you have a horror classic for the ages with this gem. I should also mention that "Dog Soldiers," at one point in the movie, actually made me jump so high out of my chair that I nearly hit the ceiling. You probably won't see this shock coming, and I won't spoil it for you, but if you don't react in some way when it happens, you're probably comatose. I salute a movie that can inspire such a jolt in my jaded system. It wouldn't surprise me at all if "Dog Soldiers" gets a sequel in the near future, if not for any big box office numbers then for heavy rental numbers and enthusiastic praise from many horror fans. I could watch this film again and again without ever getting tired of it, and I think you will like it too if you give it a chance."
Excellent Low-Budget Action/Horror
John C. Hocking | Ann Arbor, MI United States | 09/25/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Hey, this is a B-movie from the UK about a bunch of soldiers in the woods fighting off a pack of werewolves. A lot of people are going to avoid it just because of what it is. I just want to say that if you're the kind of person to whom the the premise sounds watchable, the movie will probably exceed your expectations.
A couple professional touches lift this little flick way above the low-budget pack.
First, the pacing is lickety-split; everything the viewer learns about what's happening, and who it's happening to, occurs while the action is rolling right along.
Second, the actors are into their roles and perform with gusto. Their script is blunt and profane, avoiding 'Tarantino-wannabe" hipness and coming across pretty much like what a bunch of freaked out young soldiers might actually sound like.
Third, the action is slick and thrilling. It's great to see budget constraints overcome by sheer imagination, as in the rip-snorting climax, which is over-the-top explosive despite the fact that it takes place entirely inside a small country house.
Don't fall prey to the intolerance many modern genre fans have toward low budget films! It's the imagination that counts, and 'Dog Soldiers' has all it needs."
Great Werewolf Movie
Richard Thomas | washington, dc | 12/03/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A low budget British horror movie, it is exemplary of some of the excellent entertainment that comes out of the UK.A squad of British soldiers are out on manuvers in the wilds of Scotland, and stumble over what turns out to be the remains of a Special Forces operation to capture a werewolf. From that point forward, they are fighting for their lives against a pack of howling nasties that are merely annoyed by bullets. After holing up in a farm house, they struggle desperately and wait for dawn.The movie is a modern spin on the classical werewolf story, and is certainly among the single most gory films I've seen in years. It is a great example of how good an indie film can be, even in a highly commercialized genre like horror. The makers' of this film pulled no punches in the sheer bloody nature of the work of a pack of ravenous werewolves. That aside, it is also a solid, fun exercise in storytelling.I would not recommend this movie to everyone, but fans of werewolf stories or horror movies MUST give this movie a look."
The Definitive Werewolf Flick
Graboidz | Westminster, Maryland | 08/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Thanks to the Amazon horror forum, I stumbled across this film about two years ago. I watched it again last night, and can say without a doubt that it is the best werewolf movie out there. Sure I still love Lon Chaney as "The Wolf Man", and no one can dispute the genius behind "An American Werewolf in London", but "Dog Soldiers" tops them all.
We are immediately introduced to a likable band of "weekend warrior" Scottish National Guard unit, who under the pretense of a training exercise are dumped deep in the forest. A place where apparently multiple people have gone "missing".
Of course the reason for the missing people, and the real reason for this rag tag army unit's placement here become obvious very quickly when the troop is attacked by a pack of werewolves. I don't want to give away an specifics or spoilers (there are several fantastic twists and turns). If you want a fast paced, bloody and action filled horror flick, look no further. This B-movie rises above expectation with great acting, an excellent script, great special effects, a wonderfully isolated setting, and a fantastic sense of humor.
"Dog Soldiers" is a movie you can watch repeatedly, and you will always catch something new. Highly recommended."