Sometimes age compliments films and makes them more fun to watch again, reminding you of times gone by. Other times it shines a stark spotlight on shortcomings and takes the shine off films that you might once have enjoyed.
The 4K restoration of Neil Marshall’s Dog Soldiers is a great excuse to revisit this bloody werewolf flick from the noughties.
In case you missed it the first time round, the story follows a group of British soldiers, led by Sergeant Wells (Sean Pertwee) as they carry out training maneuvers in the Scottish Highlands.
After some patrolling, things take a nasty twist when they discover a special forces unit that has been torn apart, leaving only their captain alive.
Soon afterward the group is set upon and only manage to escape thanks to a passing zoologist named Megan (Emma Cleasby) who takes them to a remote cottage.
What follows in an unrelenting fight as the soldiers fight to defend themselves from the pack of menacing beasts that are tearing their way into the building, hungry for human flesh.
There’s lots to like about Dog Soldiers as long as you appreciate it’s low budget and the fact that this was Neil Marshall’s debut feature. He has since turned his hand to many-a-action-filled film and tv episode and this film shows some gimmers of the skill that he has now honed.
Once the squad happens upon the monsters, the action flows profusely, as does the blood, giving the audience little rest and delivering a truly tense experience. And that’s what this film does offer, a healthy helping of fun, gory action.
The trade-off is that the acting is a little wooden in places, the action scenes can be a little slow and awkward and the effects, for the most part do look low budget. The key thing is the werewolves themselves look tall and terrifying enough.
Pertwee and Kevin McKidd (playing protagonist Private Lawrence Cooper) do a good job portraying rough infantrymen facing an impossible situation and the simplicity of the plot and constant motion help deflect attention from the film’s flaws.
It’s very easy to get drawn into the story and feel part of the squad, trapped in a crumbling building and besieged by ferocious creatures.
Though not Marshall’s best work (it’s hard to beat The Descent), Dog Soldiers is a simple, enjoyable, British-made film that has fared well with time. And given that a good werewolf film is generally quite hard to find, this is one that is definitely worth checking out.