An enjoyable low-concept monster movie, Dog Soldiers
is basically Night of the Living Dead
with werewolves. A platoon on a training exercise in Scotland, already fed up because they are missing a vital England-Germany match, come across the wounded survivor of a special ops team (Liam Cunningham) that has been attacked by monsters. There's a confused conspiracy angle, with a scheme to sacrifice the squaddies in order to capture a werewolf for military uses, but it's mostly a lost patrol picture with the soldiers besieged in a mysteriously abandoned house in the woods, complete with "pork" stew on the boil.
The hardman sergeant (Sean Pertwee) is disembowelled early but gruesomely patched up with superglue, letting the sensitive Scot (Kevin McKidd) play hero. A pack of effectively glimpsed Howling-style bipedal werewolves make repeated attacks on the house, whittling the cast down with each invasion. The soldier characterisations are solid cliché, albeit of a British variety rarely seen in horror movies (a highlight of the use of Brit slang is the Geordie shouting "Come on if you think you're hard enough"). The monsters are okay, but writer-director Neil Marshall's strongest suit is his third, as editor, covering for the old-fashioned monster suit effects and making the suspense and action mechanics work.
On the DVD: Dog Soldiers is an excellent DVD package complete with two commentary tracks, a British one with Marshall and the cast and an American one with a couple of producers. Both are interesting and rarely overlap, and there's an amusing contradiction between the Brits who rush over script changes they didn't want to make and the Yanks who imposed a sub-plot they feel saved the picture. Also, a bunch of trailers that amusingly spoof a recent army recruitment ad, deleted scenes and outtakes with optional Marshall commentary, a standard making-of featurette, storyboards and Marshall's short film, Combat. --Kim Newman