Sunday, October 16, 2011
Dog Soldiers (2002)
In this era of vampire soap operas (ie- "The Vampire Diaries"), and emo teen vampires (ie- "The Twilight Saga"), it's nice to see that at least the werewolves still tend to be pretty bad ass.
Private Cooper and his squad are on a training exercise when they come across another squad that's been brutually slaughtered. The lone surivivor- a Captain Ryan, hints that there was a secret agenda to the exercise as the group flees from a vicious attack. Soon, they're stuck in a cabin with a zoologist name Megan, as they're stalked one by one by werewolves...
"Dog Soldiers," simply put is a fun film to watch.
There is some excellent camera work and shots in this film. One of the best shots is when three werewolves show up behind Megan. The lighting and the use of shadow made the shot just gorgeous to look at. During the action scenes, there are some fabulous camera angles and movement that really helped to create a sense of urgency and speed to them. The film quality wasn't gloss like you'd see in most North American horror movies. It was a little "gritty" and natural in my opinion, and really added to the atmosphere of the story.
"Dog Soldiers" has a great story too. While it may not be the most unique or the deepest story out there, it was certainly strong enough to support the action, and the characters within it. Each of the characters were unique, well formed, and likable. I especially liked the characters of Sgt Wells, and Pte Witherspoon (aka "Spoon"), but all of them were enjoyable to watch.
And that goes for the acting too. Kevin McKidd was well cast as Pte Cooper, and though I didn't find him as likable as a couple of the others, he made for a good main character, and was believable. Emma Cleasby was certainnly nice to look at as the zoologist, Megan- and made her character interesting, despite not having a lot of screen time. I really quite liked LIam Cunningham as Capt Ryan. He made a great villian, and did an excellent job of making you happy when he gets hurt. Just a great performance. Two of my favorite roles were played by Sean Pertwee, and Darren Morfitt. I really enjoyed watching Pertwee in the role of Sgt Wells. He was tough, but fair and cared about his troops. Pertwee did a great job of getting that across. He was skilled at making some of the humourous scenes feel natural and real. I would love to see him in more films. Morfitt played "Spoon," and had some of the best lines in the movie. The "boxing" scene between him and a werewolf is one of the must watch scenes of the movie as far as I'm concerned. He brought a toughness and sense of fun to his character that really appealed to me.
Since this IS a werewolf movie, I have to discuss the werewolves. The effects were great I felt. If I saw one of those tall, hairy beasts in my door way, I'd scream, curl up in the fetal position and pass out. Just wonderful pieces of animatronics that looked great. In most movies, the werewolf looks pretty much like a human in a fur coat. These werewolves looked like wild animals. They were lean, mean, killing machines. My only complaint with them was their motions could've been a bit more organic and smooth... but it certainly didn't detract from enjoying the movie in any way.
If you haven't seen "Dog Soldiers" yet, go out, find a copy, and watch it. Seriously- do it. I'm placing this movie in "The Good".