Movies Are Boring—’Dog Soldiers’
British Army versus werewolves
War is horrifying enough, but that doesn’t stop filmmakers from making war the backdrop to for horror films. Think movies such as The Bunker and Predator.
And one of our personal favorites—Dog Soldiers, Neil Marshall’s 2002 directorial debut.
It’s a movie about British soldiers fighting werewolves in the Scottish highlands. It’s a by-the-books horror film with all the requisite gore and monsters. It’s also a lot of fun.
The film follows a squad of British soldiers during a peacetime training exercise gone wrong. Sgt. Wells—played by Sean Pertwee—is a Gulf War veteran and the man in charge. Pvt. Cooper—played by Kevin McKidd—is his de facto second-in-command.
The squad is supposed to outwit a group of Special Forces commandos. But the war game goes to Hell when a pack of werewolves devours the commandos.
Wells and company discover the bloody remnants of their camp … and the live ammunition the Specials Forces brought to what the brass said was just a routine exercise.
The werewolves set upon Wells and company. They flee to a nearby farm house and prepare to make a last stand. Meanwhile, Wells and Cooper scramble to figure out why their government sent them to die in the woods.
Writer-director Marshall is best known for his 2005 horror film The Descent. He also directed some of the best episodes of Game of Thrones. Dog Soldiers is rough around the edges but charming.
Some of the credit goes to the actors. McKidd would go on to star in HBO’s Rome. Liam Cunningham plays the unseemly commando officer Capt. Ryan Cunningham, who now stalks the seas of Westeros as Game of Thrones’ Davos Seaworth.
The dialogue is pretty hammy, but these two are great at delivering it.
Dog Soldiers also succeeds because it’s one of the few sympathetic depictions of modern British soldiers—a fact that’s made it a cult hit among British enlisted men.