Monday, November 3, 2014

Bark at the Moon: Dog Soldiers

Let me say this again: how did I not ever Review this?!?  I watched this Film quite a while ago (and got a Deep Blue Sea Moment of Cinema out of it), but didn't do a formal Review.  Why?  Um....hey, look over there!  You back?  Alright then.  Dog Soldiers is a 2002 Werewolf Movie that is the Debut of Neil Marshall, a Director who got put in the famous 'Splat Pack' due to his work.  He's notable for doing Films set in Scotland and Starring Scottish Actors.  He had to do that, of course, until Game of Thrones became a thing.  One thing that makes the the DVD Era interesting is how re-releases give you a glimpse at how things.  My DVD- the original 2002 one- promotes it as 'From The Producer of Hellraiser,' since nobody here knew who Neil Marshall was.  Later ones would change it to 'From The Director of The Descent' once that became a hit, while others between were just kind of odd (like below).  Can a bunch of Soldiers survive a night with some big, bad Wolves?  To find out (mostly), read on...
After some early Drama (which will come up later), we see our heroes.  They are some Soldiers doing some Practice Exercises in the Woods of Scotland.
Unfortunately, they get attacked some mysterious people/animals after finding the lone survivor of another Platoon out in the Woods.

They make it to a nearby House (with a woman's help) and barricade themselves in.
The group takes some casualties and one of them is seriously-wounded.  Can they hold out?
Want to get a glimpse of the creatures (which are almost entirely Practical Effects)?  Okay.
You want more?

Alright- you twisted my arm.
I couldn't possibly tease you any more, could I?

Me?  Never.
This guy- our hero's Trainer from the Intro- has a secret and it is kind of important.  What is it?  I won't say.
As the Werewolves continue their strategic assault, our heroes seem to be getting worn down.
Who will live?  Who will die?

Despite the Film being made in 2002, I still don't want to SPOIL it.  Sorry.  The End.
It is not the most complex Film, but it works.  The movie works by taking a simple Setting, a simple group of Characters and a straight-forward Scenario.  It makes an easy Sales Pitch- that's for sure.  What the movie does right is give you something that you can easily-understand and then play around with it.  A simple Premise can draw you in easier and then allow you to go along for the ride.  In contrast, really high-concept ideas require you to pay close attention, follow every detail (lest you get lost) and sometimes struggle to keep up.  Soldiers is not a perfect movie by any stretch of the imagination.  Many of the Characters are standard and aren't given much room to expand.  The Budget limitations are there if you look for them (although not so blatant that you can't look past them).  When you get down to it, the Werewolves get only a little back-story and are really just there for the threat.  Having said that, I love the use of Practical Effects way more than I do the overuse of CG for them.  Yes, there are limitations involved if you go that route.  As cool as it may be, do we really need to see stuff like Werewolves super-jumping across a room (which would require CG)?  No.  If you still haven't seen Dog Soldiers and love Horror Films, you really need to correct that oversight.  It doesn't break the mold too much, but it makes good use of Tropes and Cliches.  It isn't perfect, but you really should see it.  Don't make me resort to more drastic measures now...
Up next, a special Review (of two) that is a re-do of one done by Bob.  First up, Uli Lommel makes something worse than an actual series of murders.  Stay tuned...

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