Beware of Dogs

“Every year more people come through here. Once in a while, they don’t come back. No trace. No bodies. Just disappear and never seen again.”

“Dog Soldiers” is about a troop of British soldiers, dropped off in the middle of a forest for a combat exercise. Although the soldiers are heavily-armed, they’re not prepared for the canine-like creatures haunting the woods. These dogs are fur-iously unstoppable… well, almost. And that’s all you need to know. That’s enough of bone for you to chew on.

It’d be smart to go to this movie blindly like I did. Looking back at it now, the movie explores a familiar territory. But while I was watching it, the movie felt fresh and vivid as warm blood. I credit Neil Marshall’s effective execution and well-developed story. The scare is so urgent and the characters are so alert that it’s enough to distract you from detecting flaws. I actually thought the plot is above-average for a horror film, but (and this is a big BUT) it seems common if the viewer knows the creature specifically in advance. There are predictable elements associated with this beast and it could ruin one’s enjoyment. So stay in the dark, okay?

Problems with the indie film lie with its limited resources. The less you see the monsters, the scarier. When they’re seen in full view, it pretty much looks like men in costume. As usual, some of the characters aren’t fleshed out, but I use “fleshed out” strictly in dramatic terms. Literally, there are guts to be found. But hey, no guts – no glory, eh? Overall, this horror import is smart and creative enough to compensate its imperfections. “Dog Soldiers” scores a solid scare. Take a bite, won’t you? It’s bloody great.

Grade: A-

Sean Pertwee, Kevin McKidd, Emma Cleasby, Liam Cunningham, Thomas Lockyer, Darren Morfitt, Chris Robson, and Leslie Simpson
Screenplay by
Neil Marshall
Directed by
Thomas Bezucha
Rated R for strong violence/gore and language