Swift shot: Dog Soldiers is an obscure British film set in the highlands of Scotland. And while it is a horror film, there are some brilliant moments particularly focusing on the use of perspective. Some interesting camera angles and varying lens filters completely immerse you as a spectator. This one is truly terrifying, and yet can easily stand alone as a military action flick, because the dialog draws you into each character’s plight. You will genuinely find yourself rooting for each of them to make it . . . and for some of them to become dog food.
A routine training mission goes horribly wrong, as a British Commando Unit, led by ‘The Sarge’ (Sean Pertwee) encounters a pack of blood-thirsty werewolves in Scotland. Deep in the middle of nowhere, their mission is simply to provide an opposing force to some Special Forces group in the area. And while they have blanks and blank-firing-adapters on their rifles, they are taking things seriously, because they know Special Forces operators tend to get overzealous.
The team is made up of Cooper (Kevin McKidd), Joe (Chris Robson), Terry (Leslie Simpson), Bruce (Thomas Lockyer), and finally their craziest tool, Spoon (Darren Morfitt). Director/Writer Neil Marshall builds these characters without cliched soldier dialogue. It’s a lot like Predator in that sense, but sadly sans the arsenal. But what the unit lacks in firepower, they more than make up for in lethal ingenuity. In fact, they don’t just think outside the box . . . they go through it! These aren’t the type of horror victims that run up the stairs and wait to die; they bring down some pain!
Liam Cunningham plays Captain Ryan, commander of the Special Forces unit that winds up holed up with ‘The Sarge’ and his squad. They run into a civilian, or rather she runs into them, Megan (Emma Cleasby) who manages to gain them access to the small two-story cottage far out in the woods that becomes their hampered sanctuary. Megan is a friend of the owners who are nowhere to be found.
Trapped in a two-story box with wounded men, Cooper assumes command and tries to piece together both his troops and a plan to get some payback on the savage pack just outside the door. The wolves don’t just constantly attack, like zombies, they actually use strategy and teamwork . . . much like a military unit.
They are hellish.
The makeup work on the werewolves is incredibly well-done, they are menacing, dog-like, towering, lanky, yet vicious in their appetites. You will see them several times throughout the film, and the different angles, again, and the power behind these scenes is what makes this one of my favorite werewolf films of all time. They don’t use the same monster angle over and over again, sometimes you will see a close-up, sometimes only a glance, sometimes they will just stand there looking directly at you, and sometimes you will just see what they leave behind.
There are plenty of surprises in store for a first-time viewing, and this is a film you can watch more than a few times and catch something different each time. With jump-scares, lots of gun-play, blood everywhere, and an incredibly well developed cast, Dog Soldiers is a must watch for anyone looking for a solid werewolf film that they need to share with their friends.