Man Is Werewolf to Man: I watch “Dog Soldiers”

Man Is Werewolf to Man: I watch “Dog Soldiers” May 26, 2016

You know, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bad werewolf movie. Wolfen, The Howling, Ginger Snaps, the MST3K “Werewolf” episode–all good times at the movie palace. Dog Soldiers is no exception.

It’s by Neil Marshall aka the guy who did The Descent (!!!) and it’s super neat to see foreshadowing of that movie in this one. Almost all-male cast instead of an all-female one, lightly-sketched yet memorable characters, sharp dialogue that rarely feels forced, excellent jump scares, and at least one horrific event that isn’t caused by the main monster. There’s even a Juno! It’s just a solid, satisfying piece of work.

As with The Descent, there aren’t so much “themes” as good, interesting storytelling choices. I liked the choice to make the main hero the medic (? or at least, somebody they rely on for medical care) of the army group we’re following through the Scottish wilderness. Loved his relationship with his commanding officer, and the way they handle the transfer or refusal of command. I did guess a lot of the twists, but I rarely felt cheated by guessing them. The werewolves don’t look stupid, you guys! They look really awful, towering over helpless people.

This isn’t a top-echelon horror flick. Some of the dialogue is trying too hard. (There’s a Matrix reference gag that was just stupid and in poor taste. Let your audience have feelings.) I was less compelled by the relationships here than in The Descent, and I don’t think that’s solely because women > men in terms of my viewing enjoyment. But Marshall is great at handling a fairly large group of people all taking part in complex and disrupted plans.

Totally skippable if you’re not already a horror fan, but totally worth watching if you are.

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