Dog Soldiers

From director Neil Marshall (Doomsday, The Descent & Centurion) comes the 2002 werewolf action-horror flick Dog Soldiers. Marshall also wrote the film which is his directorial debut, a British production set in Scotland but shot almost entirely in Norway. The film was shot on a small budget and made a little over $5 million at the box office but has become a dvd favourite for horror movie fans and considered one of the best werewolf movies ever made. Kevin McKidd, Sean Pertwee, Emma Cleasby and Liam Cunningham star in this film.

At the beginning of the film we see two campers in the Scottish Highlands and the woman gives a the man a silver letter opener as a present. At night they are attacked by creatures not shown on camera and killed. Meanwhile Private Cooper is trying out for Special Forces and is order by Captain Richard Ryan, his assessor, to shoot a dog; when Cooper refuses Ryan kills the dog himself much to Cooper’s anger. Ryan fails the private who returns to his unit. A few weeks later Copper’s unit, led by Sergeant Harry Wells, are dropped by helicopter into the Highlands on a training mission. At night while camping for the night, a dead cow’s carcass is dropped near them startling them.

The next day as they come up the camping sight by evening, of a Special Forces unit, they come across their remains with just a sole survivor – a wounded Captain Ryan. Ryan is unable to talk coherently as to what happened so the soldiers stock up on weapons & ammo left at the camp just as they feel creatures surrounding the camp. While retreating, Bruce is impaled on a tree branch and Sergeant Wells is attacked by a large werewolf and he is wounded badly with his intestines hanging out. Cooper saves him and the soldiers run to the roadside, where a passing zoologist in a truck, Meagan, gives them a ride to a lonely house out in the woods. At the house as they patch Wells, Meagan sees that the family living in the house is not home, just the family dog which was in a locked room. She tells the soldiers that there were rumours of these werewolves and she moved the area a year ago to investigate. As they try to leave the house, they find the truck destroyed by the werewolves. Determined to make it till daybreak when the full moon will retreat and the werewolves should return to their human form, the soldiers maintain a desperate defense. After Terry is abducted and ammunition runs short, they realize that they will not last, and decide to try to escape.

As Spoon creates a distraction so that Joe can steals a Land Rover, the latter sees a werewolf eating the remains of Terry and he is himself killed by another who was hidden in the back of the vehicle. Ryan seems to be affected, as his wounds heals remarkably well and transforms into a werewolf, but not before revealing in an angry exchange with Cooper that the Government had sent him on a mission to capture a live werewolf in order that they could be investigated and weaponised. Based on Megan’s directions, the soldiers try blowing up the barn where Megan tells them the werewolves must be hiding with petrol, gas canisters, matches, and the Land Rover. Once it’s been destroyed, Megan reveals that not only were there no werewolves in the barn, but she also told them that to destroy their only means of transportation; she is a werewolf as well – and part of this family of werewolves that live in the house. She is shot dead by Wells (who has also healed quickly as he is infected) and one by one the soldiers are all killed as their ammunition runs out. Finally the final two survivors, Wells & Cooper end up in the kitchen. While Cooper hides below in the cellar, a slowly transforming Wells cuts a gas line and blows up the house killing all the remaining werewolves.

Before Cooper can make his way out, he is attacked by the transformed and now full werewolf Wells. Cooper kills him with the silver letter opener and shoots him in the head and makes his way out with Sam, the dog who has survived as well. As the credits roll, we seem some photos of the werewolves (Megan had stunned a few of them with the flash from a camera) attacking the soldiers. Cooper finds his way back and his story is told in a tabloid under the heading “Werewolves ate my platoon”.

Really good and one of the best werewolf movies around, considering that there was no backstory or trauma of transformation and stuff. I rather enjoyed this one just like the two other movies of Neil Marshall that I have seen. 8 outta 10!

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