Dog Soldiers (film)
British quad poster for Dog Soldiers
|Directed by||Neil Marshall|
|Produced by||Christopher Figg|
David E. Allen
|Written by||Neil Marshall|
|Music by||Mark Thomas|
|Edited by||Neil Marshall|
|10 May 2002|
|Box office||£5 million|
Dog Soldiers is a 2002 action horror film written and directed by Neil Marshall, and starring Kevin McKidd, Sean Pertwee, and Liam Cunningham. A British-American-Luxembourgian co-production, set in the highlands of Scotland, it was filmed almost entirely in the latter country. In the U.S., it premiered as a Sci Fi Pictures telefilm on the Sci Fi Channel.
A couple is seen camping in the Scottish Highlands. The woman gives the man a silver letter opener as a present; shortly afterward they are killed in their tent by unseen assailants. Meanwhile, a soldier named Private Cooper is seen running through a forest in North Wales. He attacks his pursuers, but is overwhelmed and wrestled to the ground. It is revealed that Cooper is 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 British soldiers, including Cooper, are dropped into the Scottish Highlands, somewhat fed up about missing an England–Germany World Cup match. Expecting to carry out a training mission against a Special Air Service (SAS) unit, they only find the SAS unit's savaged remains. A badly wounded Captain Ryan, the only survivor, makes cryptic references to what attacked them. Unseen predators then attack the troops.
While retreating, Bruce is impaled by a tree branch, killing him, and Sergeant Wells is attacked. He is rescued by Cooper and carried to a rural roadside where the group meets 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 falls, the house is surrounded by the attackers: to the soldiers' incredulity, these are revealed to be werewolves. They try to get in the Land Rover but find it has been destroyed by the werewolves. The soldiers maintain a desperate defence against the creatures, 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 their ammunition runs short, they realize they will not last and decide to try to escape. Spoon creates a diversion while Joe tries to steal a Land Rover from the garage. When he gets in, Joe sees Terry in the garage being eaten alive by a werewolf, who rips off Terry's head and throws it at the windshield. Joe drives up to the house door, then realizes that a werewolf is hiding in the back seat, going down fighting.
Under interrogation, Ryan reveals that the government had sent him on a mission to capture a live werewolf, so that it could be studied and exploited as a weapon; Cooper's squad was supposed to be the bait. An enraged Wells and Cooper attempt to kill Ryan, but he transforms into a werewolf due to his wounds and escapes out of a window, running off into the forest. It is then revealed that the unknown family of the house are the werewolves.
The soldiers try blowing up the barn - where Megan told them the werewolves must be hiding - with petrol, gas canisters, matches, and the Land Rover. Once the structure has been destroyed, Megan reveals that not only were there no werewolves in the barn, but she had persuaded them to destroy their only means of transport. She is a werewolf, as well, and had been suppressing the metamorphosis until she gave in. She also reveals that she unlocked the back door to the house, allowing the werewolves to get inside.
Before she fully transforms, Wells runs into 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. A werewolf breaks in, and Spoon runs out of ammo. He fights the werewolf and, using nearby surroundings to his advantage, gains the upper hand but is eventually killed when a second werewolf intervenes.
Wells and Cooper shoot through the floor upstairs to elude the werewolves, dropping into the kitchen, where they find Spoon's remains. Wells orders Cooper to take shelter in the cellar as he begins to transform into a werewolf, giving him a roll of photographic film (which was in a flashgun camera used to stun the werewolves) to prove what has happened. The werewolves break into the kitchen and confront Wells as he cuts a gas line and blows up the house, killing himself and the werewolves, including a now fully transformed Megan.
As the sun rises, Cooper attempts to leave but Ryan, who also took shelter in the cellar, confronts him. After a brutal fight, Cooper stabs Ryan in the chest with the silver letter opener, weakening him enough to allow Cooper to shoot him in the head, killing him. Cooper and Megan's Border Collie, Sam, emerge from the cellar and walk off into the woods. The end credits show that Cooper reported his story to the newspapers, with photographs as proof, headlined under the title of "Werewolves ate my platoon".
- Kevin McKidd as Private Lawrence Cooper
- Sean Pertwee as Sergeant Harry G. Wells
- Emma Cleasby as Megan
- Liam Cunningham as Captain Richard Ryan
- Darren Morfitt as Private Phil "Spoon" Witherspoon
- Chris Robson as Private Joe Kirkley
- Leslie Simpson as Private Terry Milburn
- Thomas Lockyer as Corporal Bruce Campbell
- Craig Conway as male camper
- Tina Landini as female camper
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.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (January 2016)
Due to the low quality of the original Blu-ray transfer, Shout! Factory worked hand in hand with director Neil Marshall to create a brand-new Blu-ray transfer for Dog Soldiers in a release titled Dog Soldiers: Collector's Edition, which was released on June 23, 2015. It was a two-disc set including a brand-new Blu-ray and a DVD copy with a new cover. This edition is only available in the U.S. (Region A).
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.
An early poster of Dog Soldiers: Fresh Meat was released with the tagline "Coming 2014" across the bottom on 23 March 2014. D. Eric Allen announced that a prequel and another sequel are in the planning stages, and Fresh Meat would be released on 20 December 2014. This date passed with no release and no additional updates on the film's status.
Neil Marshall stated in an audio commentary for Dog Soldiers, that the moment in the film when Megan cuts her hand on a shard of glass was meant to be a setup for a second sequel about werewolf DNA, which would complete a planned trilogy. However, he added that the planned sequels will "probably amount to nothing now."
- Battle of Rorke's Drift (mentioned in dialogue as an analogy of the squad's situation)
- Castro, Adam-Troy (11 November 2002). "Dog Soldiers DVD". Science Fiction Weekly (SciFi.com). Archived from the original on 22 June 2003.
- "Dog Soldiers". Boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
- Dog Soldiers at the Wayback Machine (archived 5 June 2003) official site (Sci-Fi Channel). Archived from the original on 5 June 2003
- Director, cast and crew commentary. Dog Soldiers (DVD). Pathe Film.
- "Dog Soldiers Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
- Minns, Adam (4 April 2002). "UK horror Dog Soldiers Wins at Brussels Festival". ScreenDaily.com (Screen International). Retrieved 26 July 2012.
- "Dog Soldiers Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
- "Scream Factory Facebook". Facebook.com. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
- "Dog Soldiers [Collector's Edition]". Shout! Factory. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
- "Dog Soldiers: Collector's Edition Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
- 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 15 March 2004. 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.
- "Dog Soldiers -Fresh Meat". 23 March 2014. Archived from the original on 22 December 2014. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
- "Dog Soldiers: Fresh Meat". Archived from the original on 19 August 2014. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
- Neil Marshall, Dog Soldiers audio commentary, 59:16 - 59:38
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