Directed by: Neil Marshall
Synopsis: On a routine training mission in the Scottish Highlands, a small squad of British soldiers come across the bloody remains of a Special Forces team with a sole survivor. They soon discover the savage attackers are werewolves, and as the full moon rises, they face a long night ahead and a fight for their lives.
Review: As Neil Marshall’s first major feature, Dog Soldiers is an incredibly entertaining tale of werewolves and action.
For a director who is just starting out and aims to make his mark on the industry, Dog Soldiers is an unusual choice of movie. A werewolf movie can be a huge success for you, or it can implode completely along with your reputation. Costumes may appear cheap and ridiculous or there may be a terrible CGI werewolf charging around that is pixelated, making it hard to see what’s happening in the movie. There hasn’t been a werewolf movie that achieves what Neil Marshall accomplished since Dog Soldiers. The stakes are high, and this werewolf pack wasn’t going down easily. Neil created likeable characters, scary villains, and made the stakes tense.
A special forces team is torn apart in the highlands, with only one survivor clinging to survival.
A group of soldiers are on a training mission when they come across the wounded special forces member. It soon becomes apparent that the soldiers are invading the territory of a pack of werewolves. A battle for survival begins as the sun sets. After barricading themselves inside a small cottage, the soldiers realise it’s the home of the monsters attempting to eat them.
Let’s be practical
Rather than using CGI, Marshall chooses to use only practical effects and does not show humans transforming into werewolves, making the film appear and feel less dated as a result.
The original plan was to have Jason Statham star in Dog Soldiers. Following Lock-Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Statham was signed on to star, but the opportunity was lost as Statham went on to star in Ghosts of Mars for John Carpenter, an opportunity Neil Marshall urged him not to miss.
Kevin McKidd takes on the role of Cooper after Statham was unable to do so and brings a character to life that’s beloved by fans and sure to be an instant hit with new viewers. With broken ribs and in extreme pain, McKidd filmed the first week without telling Neil Marshall he was hurt, for fear he would be replaced. In the end, he told Neil the truth and got the proper medical care, and the rest is history.
Another great character, Sergeant Wells is played by Sean Pertwee, who completely owns the role and has some of the movie’s most memorable lines such as “We are now up against live, hostile targets. So, if Little Red Riding Hood should show up with a bazooka and a bad attitude, I expect you to chin the bitch.”
Predator meets Die Hard
Dog Soldiers is a masterpiece of action, horror, and, most notably, werewolf cinema. A spectacular narrative chock full of suspense, action, and gore has been created by Neil Marshall. The ballet dancers in the roles of the wolves give them a very specific movement for the film; stuntmen would often play these roles.The werewolf design nevertheless looks tremendously terrifying. The members of the Dog Soldiers team are all distinctive characters who the audience will root for, and when they begin to meet their gruesome demise, we are affected by the loss.The claustrophobic feel of the movie when the soldiers are confined in the cottage and in extremely small spaces while being surrounded by bloodthirsty creatures can’t help but ring Die Hard vibes mixed with Predator vibes, the combo works extremely well and I’m sure director Neil Marshall is a fan of both classic flicks!
You can check out our interview with Neil here!
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Standard 4K edition: https://secondsightfilms.co.uk/products/dog-soldiers-standard-edition-4k-uhd-pre-order-available-july-26th?_pos=1&_sid=98e840960&_ss=r
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