Dog Soldiers has a simple premise: take a bunch of tough-as- nails soldiers, put them in a cabin in the woods, and have them fight werewolves. That’s it.
There’s no philosophical ponderings, no deeper themes, no particularly insightful dialogue (unless you count quips and one-liners). There’s just 105 minutes of pure, bloody action.
And it is amazing. Dog Soldiers is a call-back to classic horror-action films such as Evil Dead and Aliens and wears its inspirations proudly on its sleeve. If you pay close attention, you can even spot some clever references snuck in there.
The lack of a significant budget is obvious but Dog Soldiers knows how to work around it. For instance, the werewolf costumes are a mixture of prosthetics and animatronics and in the few instances where they’re caught full-frame in bright light, they look pretty fake. To hide that, director Neil Marshall and cinematographer Sam McCurdy take a page out of other creature features like Jaws and the first Alien by showing the monsters as little as possible and making good use of shadow.
The result is a a wonderful sense of being hunted by an apex predator, one that sees every move you make and yet is able to remain unseen.
Of course, the plot eventually escalates into a ridiculously over-the-top fight scene between the lone survivor and the final werewolf, which is great fun.
Dog Soldiers is not a perfect film by any means but it is sure one heck of a ride.