Dog Soldiers (film)
British quad poster for Dog Soldiers
|Directed by||Neil Marshall|
|Produced by||Brian Patrick O'Toole
David E. Allen
|Written by||Neil Marshall|
|Music by||Mark Thomas|
|Editing by||Neil Marshall|
|Release dates||10 May 2002|
|Running time||105 minutes|
|Box office||$5,491,093 (Worldwide)|
Dog Soldiers is a 2002 British horror film written and directed by Neil Marshall, and starring Kevin McKidd, Sean Pertwee and Liam Cunningham. A British production, set in the highlands of Scotland, it was filmed almost entirely in Luxembourg. In the US, it premiered as a Sci Fi Pictures telefilm on the Sci Fi Channel.
The plot begins with a couple camping in the Scottish Highlands. The woman gives the man a silver letter opener as a present; shortly afterwards they are killed in their tent by an unseen assailant. Meanwhile, Private Cooper is seen running through a forest in North Wales. He attacks his pursuers, but is overwhelmed and wrestled to the ground. It turns out Cooper was trying to join a special forces unit, but fails when he refuses to shoot a dog in cold blood. He is returned to his unit by Captain Richard Ryan.
Four weeks later a squad of six regular British Army soldiers, including Cooper, is dropped into the Scottish Highlands. Expecting to carry out a training mission against an SAS unit, they only find their savaged remains. The single, badly-wounded, survivor, Captain Ryan, makes cryptic references to what attacked them. Unseen predators make their presence known as they attack the troops. While retreating, Bruce is impaled on a tree branch and Sergeant Wells is attacked. He is rescued by Cooper and carried to a rural roadside where the group encounters Megan, a zoologist who takes them to a lonely house, belonging to an unknown family. The soldiers who remain are Wells, Cooper, Spoon, Joe, and Terry. As darkness arrives, the house is surrounded by the attackers: to the soldiers' incredulity, these are revealed to be werewolves.
They go to get in the car, but it has been destroyed by the werewolves. The soldiers maintain a desperate defence against the werewolves, believing that, if they can make it to sunrise, the werewolves will revert to human form. Cooper and Megan then treat Wells' wounds. After Terry is abducted and ammunition runs short, they realise that they will not last, and decide to try to escape. Spoon creates a distraction while Joe steals a Land Rover from the garage. When he gets into the car, he sees Terry in the garage being eaten alive by a werewolf, which rips off Terry's head and throws it at the windscreen. Joe drives up to the house door, then realizes that a werewolf was hiding in the back seat. He is killed after he attacks the werewolf.
Ryan then reveals that the Government had sent him on a mission to capture a live werewolf so that it can be investigated and weaponized, and that Cooper's squad was to be the bait. After a fight ensues, Ryan transforms into a werewolf, due to his wounds, and escapes, running off into the forest. It is then revealed that the unknown family of the house are in fact the werewolves. The soldiers try blowing up the barn where Megan tells them the werewolves must be hiding, with petrol, gas canisters, matches, and the Land Rover. Once it's been destroyed, Megan reveals that not only were there no werewolves in the barn, but she also told them that to destroy their only means of transportation; she is a werewolf as well, and had been suppressing the transformation, but now gives in. She also reveals that she unlocked the back door to the house, allowing the werewolves inside. Before she fully transforms, Wells runs in to the room just in time and shoots her in the head. He and Cooper run upstairs and Spoon runs to the kitchen, blocking the door. The werewolf breaks in and Spoon runs out of ammo. He fights the werewolf and gains the upper hand, but is killed by a second. Meanwhile, Wells and Cooper shoot through the floor upstairs to escape the werewolves, dropping into the kitchen. Wells cuts a gas line and blows up the house, while Cooper hides below in the cellar. Before he can flee, Ryan, transformed into a werewolf, confronts him. Cooper kills him with the silver letter opener and shoots him in the head. He and Megan's dog, Sam, walk off into the woods.
As the credits roll a newspaper appears showing the football result (England 5 Germany 1), with a smaller headline showing a small picture of Cooper and the headline "Werewolves ate my platoon."
- Kevin McKidd as Private Cooper
- Sean Pertwee as Sergeant Harry G. Wells
- Emma Cleasby as Megan
- Liam Cunningham as Captain Ryan
- Darren Morfitt as Private "Spoon" Witherspoon
- Chris Robson as Private Joe Kirkley
- Leslie Simpson as Private Terry Milburn
- Thomas Lockyer as Corporal Bruce Campbell
Production and release
Dog Soldiers was produced by the Kismet Entertainment Group, the Noel Gay Motion Picture Company, the Victor Film Company, and the Carousel Picture Company with the support of the Luxembourg Film Fund. In addition to the credits in the infobox, the costume designer is Uli Simon, the casting directors are Jeremy Zimmerman and Andrea Clarke, the special makeup, animatronic and digital visual effects are by the company Image FX, and the physical-effects supervisor and stunt coordinator is Harry Wiessenhaan.
A British production, set in the highlands of Scotland, it was filmed almost entirely in Luxembourg. In the United States, it premiered as a Sci-Fi Pictures telefilm on the Sci-Fi Channel.
Producer David E. Allen said in January 2004 that a sequel, Dog Soldiers: Fresh Meat, would begin a 35-day shoot that April in either Luxembourg or Canada with a budget of $5.5 million. Andy Armstrong, a second-unit director on films including Hellbound: Hellraiser II and Nightbreed, would direct from an Eric Miller script, with Allen and Brian Patrick O’Toole returning as producers. No casting was announced. Allen said the plot would involve Cooper being "picked up by an American team who, we find out, were the real opponents for the war games for Sgt. Wells' squad." A year later, he elaborated that, "In the first film, it was a family who were the werewolves. In this one, it's an actual team of werewolves who are true military men. So even though they are now werewolves, they act like a trained military unit."
In January 2005, Michael J. Bassett was in talks to direct, but by July 2006, Rob Green, who previously directed the horror film The Bunker, was set to direct and said he and Miller had written a story in which "Some of the characters actually love being a werewolf because they are so powerful – the ultimate killing machine … [I]t's a fun spin on the traditional angle that being a werewolf is a curse which damns the person no matter what. We also have a very savage she-wolf in the climax who faces against the leader of the pack of Dog Soldiers." Production was not set for autumn 2006. By 21 December 2008, however, information about the film had been removed from various web resources including the website of production company Kismet status.
A "Little Red Riding Hood"-inspired web series, Dog Soldiers: Legacy, was announced in September 2011 by producer and Kismet vice-president, Allen, now going by D. Eric Allen. A teaser trailer for the series was filmed in northwest Arkansas over the last weekend of August 2011. Directed by Ryan Lightbourn, the trailer included members of Allen's family, including his grandmother Pat "Nan" Allen and his sister Emmy Allen, as Red. Allen also said the Dog Soldiers sequel was in early pre-production.
- Battle of Rorke's Drift (mentioned in dialogue as a paradigm of the squad's situation)
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- Shapiro, Marc (19 January 2004). "Producers talk 'Dog Soldiers: Fresh Meat'". Fangoria. Archived from the original on 13 February 2004.
- "Dog Soldiers: Fresh Meat". (Section: Latest News) UpcomingHorrorMovies.com. 26 January 2005. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
- "Update on Dog Soldiers Sequel!" (58). Rue Morgue via Horror-Movies.ca. July 2006. Archived from the original on 23 March 2010. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
- Turek, Ryan (12 September 2011). "Dog Soldiers Lives on in Legacy Series!". ShockTillYouDrop.com. Archived from the original on 26 July 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2011.