There are many strange and wonderful characters who lurk within the Gory Kingdom. While I may be "Queen" of this crazy madhouse, my rag-tag crew of minions are the reason I get anything done. Sometimes, it's good to have help. I can rope in Mad Jester and Lord Bearington to help me with reviews, but there is a little known helper who lurks within this realm. Without him, this place would be a trash heap. (Not that it's neat by society's standards, but it's better to have body parts lying around rather than pizza boxes and empty booze bottles) Now normally, he's seen and not heard. Just quietly doing his job in the shadows. But I was in need of help recently, and with everything on my plate, couldn't keep up with the blog. Mad Jester was busy getting his medication adjusted and Lord Bearington was sleeping from a food coma (as usual), so I turned to my trusty Butler for help.
Oddly enough, he has an opinion on all the horror stuff that goes on around here. So I gave him a shot at reviewing a movie fav of mine: Dog Soldiers.
Let's see how well he does shall we?
THE BUTLER REVIEWS DOG SOLDIERS
Sometimes it amazes me what this lot leave around this place. So during my weekly cleaning I was amazed to find a DVD of a film I hadn't seen since this old chap's military days. While recovering from injuries in the recovery platoon there wasn't a whole lot of entertainment, just a large tele and a VCR. So quality movies weren't the order of the day, but one could get boxes of old cassettes to pop in, and lo a particular favourite of ours became a little known film called, Dog Soldiers.
This wee little horror film became a popular piece, and little did we know it would become a hidden little “who's who”of actors before roles we see them in today. Of course the resemblance to yet other more known actors led to a lot of confusion in trying to describe the film in later years when trying to find it anywhere on the DVD. “It's that film with Doctor Who, and the other Doctor...the foppish one! And they team up with the Equalizer! And it's got Werewolves!”
Ahem...yes that description for over a decade meant many thought I had been nipping way too much of the surgical brandy in the days.
Of course now, we know better. And one is delighted to once more find this little gem in the Werewolves genre of films, and now you can see just really who was in there waiting to be found.
Our first setting is the fine bonnie land of Scotland and a young couple snockered in a tent ready for a good snoggin. Sharing presents; and importantly a silver letter opener; only to be mysteriously attacked. Okay, set up premise of a sorts. Some monster or person attacking people out in Scotland. Ho hum this is going to be a boring one is it not?
We now switch to what is going to be our hero...Private Cooper British Army. At the time one could mistake the actor for Christopher Eccleston but this is none other than Kevin McKidd. You'll get to know him better in the Rome series as Lucius Vorenus. Guess this is going to be a way to toughen this laddie up for better things? Turns out he's in training to join the lads at the Boathouse and fails the last test given to him by what sounds and looks to be the Equalizer. This turns out to be another mixed up identity as this turns out to be Liam Cunningham, well before his fame in a little known show called Game of Thrones.
Oh you've heard of that one? Pity.
So our Roman Centurion here fails the Equalizer's test to shot the dog...no really that's the final part of his test, where he tells them to go and sod off. Return to Unit for the lad! Okay, so we're going to have a bitter hero here then, all right. A bit more interesting but still wondering where there tale is going. Time for another pint then.
Weeks later...in the story you twits...Private Lucius...ack, Cooper, is now with a squad of Gropos whooshing off on an exercise out in Scottish woods led by Sergeant-Foppish-Who. Yes I know it's Sean Pertwee but this is becoming a pattern in this film of Who's who. They've been told it's a training exercise against the SAS chaps that had given Vorenus there a harsh time. However instead they find the remains of the group and one very maimed but still a wanker Capt. Equalizer. Okay it's Capt. Ryan, guess they're saving Capt. Ryan and not Private this time? Oh please yourself.
Getting ambushed by whatever it is that got Capt. Ryan's crew...and he's not telling what it was, they loose the private three days from retirement and end up running through the woods until they find this lovely lass who takes them to this house in the woods. Not seeing a classic parked outside or any other signs of a horror stereotype they barricade themselves in and start assessing just how chewed up they are.
Let's see, one dead, a wounded but still pissed Capt, and one pretty ripped up Sergeant-Who. Since he's not a Timelord this time around he's in pretty bad shape, and it takes literally a crazy glue solution to keep his inside...well inside. Wisely the chaps decide to get the nearby car and get the sod out of here, only to have it destroyed by what they see are their attackers...werewolves. Bet you wish you'd shot that dog earlier, eh Vorenus? Oh, and there is the woman who saved them. And of course radios are out, and no one has a cell phone, and there's no working land line. Well this has become a fine ripper of time hasn't it, eh what?
The soldiers end up using everything they can find along with their weapons to keep fighting off the werewolves, having this clever idea that all they need to do is survive until the sun rises. And they literally loot and use anything they can in this house. Yet another of the troopers is gouged and ripped away, and our fearless heroes realize that their weapons do not have a Hong Kong infinite supply of bullets. This could be a problem. Our troopers figure they better loot a vehicle from the nearby garage. Yeah that goes all to rot as the werewolves throw a head at them. And once again the old cliche of hiding in the back seat gets another of the Troopers killed. Serious though, how do you hide a werewolf that soddin big in the back seat and NOT NOTICE?!?! Well that's another trooper dead. All we have left now is Sergeant-Who, Private Vorenus, Capt. Equalizer and one other trooper called Spoon. (Okay that one I'm not making up.)
Capt. Equalizer wolfs up, but being new to this get his ass kicked by the Roman and off he runs into the woods. Nearly forgotten is the lassie that “saved” them earlier, and she gets the clever idea of blowing up the garage, arguing that the wolves must all live in there. Soldiers blowing something up, Sweet! Blowie!!! You Fools! Turns out all along that the lassie is yet another Werewolf and just wanted them completely trapped her, as the rest of the werewolves swoop in for the kill. Just when all seems lost for Vorenus in swoops the Sergeant fully regenerated to kill off the betrayer and get our hero out of there. (He IS a Timelord, I knew it!) They run upstairs while the Spoony one heads for the kitchen, you fool! Several flashbangs latter and yells of “Betrayal!” and the werewolves have torn him apart. The werewolves tear up the stairs to get at our two timelords, only for them to shoot through the floor and back into the kitchen. Our hero Cooper heads into the basement while the Sergeant lights up the gas stove and blows the rest of the house into bits. Dog bits. Yum!
Before our last surviving hero can leave, he runs again into the now prancing about Capt. Ryan, and that silver letter opener makes another appearance at last. As he uses this to stab the vermin, and this time Private Vorenus learns to shot the dog.
While starting off slow this film ends up being a rather entertaining “last stand” by a bunch of soldiers against a pretty nasty werewolf threat. In a time before mass usage of CGI one ends up having to appreciate clever use of angles, poor lighting, and costumes to generate a feasible werewolf threat. What sells the film really is the characters themselves, and the actors behind them. You have to give a full toast and raising of the pint that these at the time unknown actors so sold the roles they were in that the films actually does have you cheering on the soldiers to get out of this one. That's not very often I find in a horror film where I find myself hoping that the “heroes” survive.
All right, smiles all around then. Seeing this lost gem in the scattered collection here while cleaning the place up a bits made this old warhorse smile. Sometimes it's how you saw a film and who it was with that can make something all the better to remember, and this one I got to see with my own Brother Dog Soldiers as it were. Well time to nip this back to the shelf and get the place all cleaned up before that wild lot get back from their latest adventures.