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27 October, 2007


Year of Release—Film: 2002

Year of Release—DVD: 2003

DVD Label: 20th Century Fox


British cinema has been one of the bright points in Horror over the past five years or so, with films such as SHAUN OF THE DEAD, 28 DAYS LATER, and DESCENT. The director of the last, Neil Marshall, came to my attention with his first feature film DOG SOLDIERS, the best Werewolf movie since John Landis’ AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON.

A strange hybrid of traditional Horror Film and Combat-Action movie, DOG SOLDIERS is easily one of the most satisfying films I’ve ever seen, a movie that hits virtually every note dead-on. Shot on a miniscule budget, great acting and superb photography take the place of expensive CGI and Special Effects, elevating this far above Hollywood’s current crop of bloated budget disappointments.

The excellent cast, headlined by Kevin McKidd and Sean Pertwee, and the tight, positive direction make the most of the minimalist production design and limited budget, and the claustrophobic set design and impressively good photography serve to enhance the on-screen terror.


The Fox DVD is good; not a great release, but certainly not bare-bones. As you would expect, the transfer is sharp and clean, allowing the brilliant photography to shine through. The audio, however, could be improved; especially considering there are no subtitles. The poor audio, combined with thick British accents, make it very difficult to understand the dialogue at times.


While not rich with extras, there are a few specials on this disc fans will enjoy. Most notable is an interview with Neil Marshall on the making of the film. He offers a great deal of behind-the-scenes nuggets of trivia, something that always pleases the Unimonster. For instance, Sean Pertwee was actually drunk while filming the scene where Cooper and Megan were treating his wounds, and when he made fun of Cooper’s first punch to knock him out, the second one actually connected… and did knock him out for real. It’s little bits like this that add dimension to the film, and add to my appreciation for it.


Since 1935, three truly great werewolf films have been made: THE WOLF-MAN—(1941); AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON—(1981); and DOG SOLDIERS. The first two have become Horror Icons; it is my belief that the third deserves such honors as well. While this is not a perfect DVD presentation, that shouldn’t affect your enjoyment of this fantastic movie. The $9.99 list price is low enough for impulse purchases, and it can easily be found for less. Don’t pass up the opportunity to add this one to your collection.

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