Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Halloween Horror Challenge Oct 4th: DOG SOLDIERS
DOG SOLDIERS (2002)
D. NEIL MARSHALL
This debut feature film from Neil Marshall put him on the map and made him a major player in the genre. This along with GINGER SNAPS went a long way to make werewolves interesting again. Then TWILIGHT came along and made them goofy as hell but that is a whole other ball game...
The movie explores how a group of soldiers in training run into a family of werewolves in the hills of Scotland. After losing a few of their own they hole up in a small house with a local female who saves them during a fight and it becomes STRAW DOG SOLDIERS for a little while, until some fairly obvious plot twists happen in the last third of the movie.
The things the film have going for it are great designs on the werewolves themselves, a fantastic sense of action and terririfc frentic pace. Where it falls down is in the logic and script department. Neil Marshall is a terrific visualist and can wring suspence like few others, but as a writer he fails misreably at times, and this is a prime example (see DOOMSDAY for another example of his films which look great, is fun to watch but has a terrible script). Characters are faced with a supernatural situation, they appear to understand, but continue to treat it the same dumb way, never looking at it from a perspective that might save them. Characters in their midst is clearly a werewolf they even are given clues, but they never figure it out until it is too late. TWICE. Logic continually is thrown out in the face of forward moving action, and it ultimately hamstrings what starts out as a good, fun monster film. The first half is very recommended, but by the final third I found myself tunning out because the writing was just not working anymore.
Marshall has gotten much better as I feel THE DESCENT is one of the best horror films of the last ten years, and CENTURIAN, though not perfect (it has some writing issues as well) is pretty great too. But this has a lot of the birth pains of a debut film.
Review © Andrew Copp