Six happy-go-lucky soldiers, stranded in remote woodland, see their training mission go 'belly up' when the full moon rises and a pack of bloodthirsty werewolves start to hunt them down. Can they make it to daybreak?
For some reason or other, 2002 seemed to be 'raid Romero' year in the UK. Danny Boyle and Alex Garland pilfered freely from the maestro of the undead for 28 Days Later and, in box office terms at least, scored a hit. But for genre buffs, it is this micro-budgeted lupine caper that should attract their attention and their pocket money.
Lifting enthusiastically from Night Of The Living Dead as well as Attack On Precinct 13 (together with more than a soupcon of The Evil Dead and a dash of Aliens), Dog Soldiers gleefully goes walkies through the standard genre trappings - full moons, howlings in the dark, shredded guts and a bunch of squaddies trapped in a house straight out of a fairy tale.Writer-director Neil Marshall's screenplay does, however, show evidence of being written by a graduate magna cum laude of the Shane Black School Of Excellence In Movie Dialogue ('If Little Red Riding Hood should show up with a bazooka and a bad attitude, I expect you to chin the bitch!' - Anita Brookner this ain't), and the acting occasionally has a slight prefab quality to it.
But these minor flaws are more than made up for with energy, wit and inventive gore, and the jokes are good - a tug of war between Pertwee and a dog over his exposed guts is a standout. Marshall treads the line between laughs and tension expertly, and makes a virtue of his negligible FX budget by keeping his excellently designed (and thankfully non-CG) man-dogs where they belong: in the shadows. Pedigree stuff.
Tabloids will most likely dub it "A Werewolf Movie With Real Bite!" and for once, they'll be right. Low-rent entertainment of the highest order.