Dog Soldiers

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(2001) ★★★½

Film4: Friday 8 May, 11.05pm

Full-moon manoeuvres mean a howling in the Highlands for Sean Pertwee and his beleaguered platoon, used as bait in a strong-meat werewolf shocker that cheekily revives memories of Walter Hill’s Southern Comfort and the siege pictures of George Romero and John Carpenter. Luxembourg stands in for Scotland, so everything looks slightly ‘off’ – which suits the subject.

The humour ranges from gallows (“Come’n’ave a go if you think you’re hard enough!” shouts a squaddie at the slavering lycanthropes) to goofy – there’s a running gag about England’s imminent football match in Germany. The only real blot on the landscape is a score that sounds disappointingly generic, like the stock music used by Romero in Night of the Living Dead. Still, the film that first let writer-director Neil Marshall off the leash is a sure sign of things to come.

He has since made Doomsday, Centurion and, most impressively, The Descent, one of Britain’s best horror movies in years. As the unpleasant special ops officer, Irish actor Liam Cunningham puts on an English accent which makes him seem even meaner: “You just can’t get over the dog, can you?” Like his director, Cunningham has since made major contributions to HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Certificate: 15
Duration: 105min

IMDB – Dog Soldiers

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