Hello and Hallo-Welcome to another Furry Friday, where we review a film that features at least a little lycanthrophy! You join your bloggers, Andy and Lilly, who, if you hear them howling at your kitchen door, you better not let ‘em in!
Today’s film offering: Dog Soldiers
Andy: I really feel like more people should know Neil Marshall. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you’ve seen his work; he directed both the spectacular Blackwater in Season 2 and The Watchers on the Wall in Season 4. But we’re going a bit farther back than that, to the heady days of 2002 and his feature film debut Dog Soldiers.
A squad of soldiers on maneuvers in Scotland (say THAT five times fast) come across the remains of their ‘adversary’, special forces who had been on the other side of the exercise. What could take them out in such a hurry? And against such monsters, what chance do they stand? And what’s that howling in the woods?
Werewolves? There! Wolves!
Lilly: There film reviewers!
Andy: And Young Frankenstein joke achieved! Anyway. Lilly is sick today, so this is a slightly shorter one aaand that was her only contribution.
What we have here is both an excellent example and slyly funny subversion of the classic “house under siege” setup made famous by Night of the Living Dead, Assault on Precinct 13 and Patrick Troughton era Doctor Who, and does make you wonder what would have happened if instead of Ben and Barbara, we had a professional team of soldiers armed to the teeth. Will they make a better account of themselves? Not really, seeing as the werewolves here are pretty much invincible, but damn it, they’ll give it a go.
It helps that we have such a likeable bunch of potential dog food in the characters. Four really stand out; Liam Cunningham has great fun playing the only survivor of the first attack and all around complete bastard, Ryan; Kevin McKidd broods with a quiet control he may not really feel as leader Cooper; Sean Pertwee’s sheer charisma carries the early movie before it kicks off; and Darren Morfitt, the most obscure, plays Spoon – one of my favourite characters in a movie, well, ever. He has by far the most quotable lines in the movie.
The effects are somewhat limited – we never see a full transformation – but the wolves themselves are gorgeous, all arms and legs and fur and teeth, seven feet of awful.
Ultimately though, it’s very difficult to do this movie justice in a written review. The dialogue cracks like a Guy Ritchie movie, and every set piece comes together really nicely. I love it. It’s definitely a recommend from me: this may be my favorite werewolf movie.
And remember folks, if Little Red Riding Hood turns up with a bazooka and a bad attitude, you know what to do.