Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"Dog Soldiers"(2002)d/Neil Marshall

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The best modern werewolf movie since "The Howling"(1980).There,I've said it. Neil Marshall,one of my favorite new directors, packs a solid cast,great dialogue,engaging plotline,action,suspense,gore,and good old fashioned chills into a solid hour and a half here,and the result is edge-of-the-seat entertainment.Definitely one of my top horror films for the decade.
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Don't scare Sgt.(Sean Pertwee) Wells'lads.
A couple is camping out in the Scottish countryside.Before the man,a writer,can thank his bird for the sterling silver letter opener she's just given him,something pulls her out of the tent and rends her limb from limb.Then it comes back for him.Elsewhere,Pvt. Cooper(Kevin McKidd) has nearly completed an exercise to get into Special Ops,when he is asked to complete the training by shooting a dog by his superior officer,Capt. Ryan(Liam Cunningham).Cooper cannot bring himself to do it,so Ryan obliges.Cooper has failed.Some time later,we join a British infantry unit,led by Sgt. Harry G. Wells(get it?H.G. Wells?)dropped in the same Scottish forest for a routine wargames exercise.Unknown to Wells and his lads,they are being tracked by Ryan's Special Ops team.But for what?That night in the dark woods,the soldiers tell each other jokes and stories by the fire,interrupted by a mutilated cow which drops from the sky in front of their very eyes.While scouting the next day,Wells' men stumble upon what's left of Ryan's squad,busted equipment,visceral goo on the forest floor,no soldiers.The Captain,slashed across the chest,comes out of hiding,hysterical and close to death,begging for help.The infantry pick up the Special Ops weapons,never fired,and make off into the woods as the sun sets.They are descended upon by strange creatures,howling into the night sky,and it's a race to safety.One of Wells' men is impaled on a tree branch while fleeing the hairy menace,and Wells himself is gutted before Cooper rescues him.
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...Not all wolf,nor all man.
As the soldiers elude the beasts,they run into Megan,a zoologist who seems to know exactly what they're up against,and who drives them to the safety of a desolate cabin in the woods where they hole up.With Megan's help,Cooper knocks out the sarge and superglues his midsection back together.Downstairs,the plot thickens.Ryan seems to be healing at an astounding rate,so the soldiers tie him up.Cooper questions him concerning why Special Ops was there in the woods in the first place,but Ryan divulges little.Megan tells the men they're up against werewolves that she has been studying.Every so often,the welewolves outside make a play to get into the cabin,taking another one of the soldiers each time they attack.The men realize they are trapped inside the werewolves' home,as it is the only house for miles.It becomes known that Ryan is familiar with Megan,and that his squad was present to capture what they thought was a single werewolf,and not an entire pack.Wells and his men were supposed to be the bait.As Cooper beats on Ryan for his treachery,the Captain becomes a werewolf himself,escaping out a window.
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A soldier should have dry glassies,Cooper(Kevin McKidd),ya big girl's blouse!
Once Wells regains consciousness,he and his remaining soldiers attempt a last-ditch effort to escape,but when the werewolves seem aware of their plans before they act,it becomes known that Megan is one of them.They shoot her in the head as she transforms,but not before the cabin is crawling with werewolves.Wells,knowing he will also become a werewolf,sends Cooper to the safety of the basement before blowing the entire cabin up with an exposed gas line and lighter,killing all the beasts and himself with them.In the basement,Cooper realizes he is not alone.Ryan,the werewolf,has been hiding there,and the man and monster fight it out amidst the junk the pack has collected from its victims over the years,including a sterling silver letter opener...
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Come and have a go if you think yer 'ard enough!
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I hope I give yer the shits,you creep!
When it seemed the European horror throne was empty after the Italians vacated it in the early nineties,the Brits have been at the forefront of the challenge for the title since,producing solid horror fare for a number of years now(28 Days Later,The Descent,Wilderness,Sean of the Dead,etc.).If you don't thoroughly enjoy this film,you owe it to yourself to get cat scanned,as there mustn't be many firing neurons left in your loaf.And that's totally bone.Knackered, all.
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Neil Marshall rules,O.K.?
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Soiled Sinema said...

Great werewolf movie

beedubelhue said...

Indeed it is!


Anonymous said...

I was surprised with how much I enjoyed this movie. In my mind, it was a well balanced action movie with effective gore.. and that is a big mark for me because an action movie must be rather impressive to get my thumbs up.

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