Dog Soldiers (2002) - A Review

I like werewolves a lot. I actually have a Little Red Riding Hood kick. I love movies, art, porn and stories where Red is a hot-to-trot chick and the wolf wants to get down to funky town with her. The underrated, horror-comedy, anthology DEADTIME STORIES (1986) turned me on to that when I was just a baby Missy.

Due to my strange infatuation, I sought out films of the werewolf variety quite often. Some of my favorites were and remain THE BEAST MUST DIE (1975), AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981), THE HOWLING (1981) IN THE COMPANY OF WOLVES (1984) and SILVER BULLET (1985). Each one utilized a unique storytelling technique, formula, tone, atmosphere and moral while focusing on the same menacing force. They were compelling and great in their own distinct ways and stand the test of time as fabulous entries into the subgenre.

DOG SOLDIERS (2002) has been on my radar as a must-see since it came out. You figure in 18 years, I would have seen it by now, but sometimes I’m just lazy and forgetful. Hey, I am what I am! Anyways, I finally got around to watching it, and it’s pretty damn good.

It opens with a couple starting to getting busy in a tent, but they are murdered by a werewolf who seemingly hates sex as much as Jason Voorhees. At least, Jason usually waits until titties are flying around to interrupt. The werewolf however has no interest in tits and kills before the shirt is off. I like Jason’s way far better.

Meanwhile, a sexy RAWR RAWR dude named Cooper (Kevin McKidd) is training in the forest to join a special forces branch of the military. His fuckwit Captain Richard Ryan (Liam Cunningham) is a little bitch who wants him to shoot a dog. Cooper refuses because he’s not a heartless douchebag, and Captain Dick loses his shit, flunks Cooper and kills the pup himself. I loathe Captain Dick so much! Imma want a dog to bite his nuts off.

A month later, Cooper and five other soldiers are sent over to the Scottish Highlands for training. There, Cooper and his team come across Captain Dick. It seems that Ryan’s team wasn’t so special after all because they got their asses handed to them by the werewolves. I’m so Team Werewolf!

The wolves start attacking and killing members of Cooper’s group. Zoologist Megan (Emma Cleasby) finds them while they’re in the middle of being a werewolf’s dinner. She brings them to a house for safety, but that bitch has secrets. She isn’t the only one though. Captain Dick has his own and eventually admits that he went there to kidnap a werewolf. The government wanted one to weaponize the beast, and Dick was dumb enough to take the mission.

Soon, the house is surrounded by wolves and the battle is on like Donkey Kong. In the end, Cooper and Dick have a showdown. That fight isn’t an easy one for me, but to explain why I need to delve into spoilers….so SPOILERS!

Dick turned into a werewolf because of his wounds. I love werewolves and I hate Dick. It’s a tough call. Who do I root for? I had to go with Cooper! Human Dick pissed me off so much that I didn’t even like him when he was Werewolf Dick. Not to mention, Cooper is a cool dude. I would have liked to see him turn into a werewolf and fuck Megan. She’s actually a werewolf, too and screws the whole gang over. Sadly, she dies before she can ever rock her howl with anyone, but her and Cooper would have been a yummy duo to watch heat the screen.

Thankfully, Cooper survives which is great! I love that dude. I also have to give it up for the scenes that ran during the initial end credits. They’re just shots of newspaper clippings from a tabloid, but those articles say so much. It illustrates that the ordeal has been trivialized, ignored and that the evidence collected is meaningless. No one will believe Cooper, and he’s stuck being a laughingstock and ridiculed for living thru the worst experience of his life. It’s a dark ending, but so fitting and creative.

Overall, DOG SOLDIERS was a really decent flick. I typically hate horror movies involving the military. THE HILLS HAVE EYES 2 (2007) is a perfect example of that. I absolutely adore Alexandre Aja’s 2006 remake of THE HILLS HAVE EYES, but the sequel is tedious trash. The main issue is that the protagonists were trained military and showed very little fear because of it. If the victims aren’t afraid, why the fuck should I be?

I’m happy to say that DOG SOLDIERS doesn’t play by the same rules. Don’t get me wrong. The men aren’t acting like scared teenagers playing the Ouija at a sleepover, but their reactions to the severity of what is going on does resonate with the viewer. We’re pulled in. The closest comparison I can make is to the cult classic and brilliant film SCARECROWS (1988) where a bunch of stranded criminals get hunted in a cornfield by evil, unstoppable scarecrows. If you haven’t seen it and you enjoy DOG SOLDIERS, track that baby down. If you haven’t seen either, make it a double-feature and watch both.

Rating: 6/10

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