31 Days of Halloween – Day 4
Dog Soldiers (Directed by Neil Marshall,2002) There are three things I learned from Dog Soldiers. One, the Scottish country side is beautiful. Two, the banter of British Soldiers is highly entertaining. Three, war is hell, especially when you are battling seven foot tall werewolves. A squadron of British troops are in the remote Highlands of Scotland, running a routine training mission. After a series of gruesome events take place, they realize this mission is anything but ordinary. After being attacked in the forest, the men retreat to a farmhouse with the aid of a local. Under constant attack during the night, the soldiers can only hope to survive until morning. By the end of the film, the soldiers discover that the deck has been stacked against them from the start, and death is eminent. For a feature debut, director Neil Marshall hits a home run with Dog Soldiers. He has since gone on to direct The Descent (2006), as well as episodes of Hannibal and Game of Thrones. With minimal CGI, the werewolf make-up is organic and convincing. The acting is great, and the story is well thought out. There a couple of hokey scenes, (watch for a scene with the family dog is trying to eat something he shouldn’t be eating) but I feel it adds to the charm of the film. I love the werewolf genre, but find most of the movies about these shape-shifters to be awful. Dog Soldiers ranks up there with An American Werewolf in London (1981) and The Howling (1981) at the top of my list. Sean Pertwee (TV Gotham’s Alfred) is great as the tough-as-nails Sgt. Wells, but the real stars are the werewolves. Dog Soldiers is a thrilling horror movie, perfect for a Halloween viewing.