“My imagination completely controls me, and forever feeds the fire that burns with dark red light in my heart by bringing me the best dreams. I’ve always had a wild imagination, a big heart and a tortured soul so I feel that dark fantasy, love and horror are in my blood.”–Kim Elizabeth
It’s no secret Neil Marshall is one of my favorite directors. I have all his films (Dog Soldiers, The Descent, Doomsday, and Centurion) on DVD and have watched each of them numerous times. I actually stopped to wonder why I like his style. The answer is he tells the kind of grand-in-scale stories on the screen that I’d like to tell in my manuscripts. The kind of stories where you can lose yourself for two hours and not mind. He also does a fantastic job of getting the most out of very little and making his productions seem much larger than they really are. Dog Soldiers is a perfect example of both.
Set in the Highlands of Scotland, a group of reserve soldiers is pit against a Special Forces unit in a series of war games. Ignoring the campfire tales of missing campers and ominous stories of local wildlife, the squad stumbles on the bloody remains of their Special Forces adversaries. Among the carnage they discover a wounded Captain Ryan, played brilliantly by Liam Cunningham. What’s strange is the amount of empty shell casings and a lack of enemy casualties. Ryan mumbles something about there was only supposed to be one. The reserves ditch their blank rounds for live ammunition and their harmless weekend of war games turns into a live operation. Without radio communication they’re forced to fight off unseen enemies as night falls until they stumble onto a lone traveller on the road. She agrees to take them to a nearby farm so they can sort things out. It turns out Captain Ryan was using the reserve squad as bait in order to capture a werewolf. Who will survive the night? You’ll have to watch in order to find out!
If you haven’t seen this worthy addition to the werewolf genre, stop reading this post and find a copy. Dog Soldiers is quite possibly one of the best low-budget horror films of all time. While the special effects aren’t the best, Mr. Marshall makes up for it by keeping the creatures in the shadows. This creates an air of mystery that actually adds to the tension, and is a brilliant move. The cast is full of gems like Liam Cunningham (Davos on HBO’s Game of Thrones, Clash of the Titans remake, and Centurion), Kevin McKidd (HBO’s Rome, Percy Jackson, and Brave), and Sean Pertwee (Formula 51, Doomsday, and Soldier) who shine on the big screen. Combining werewolves, soldiers, and plenty of action, Dog Soldiers is a fast paced, bloody good time, which is sure to please horror lovers as well as action lovers. Give it a try, you won’t be sorry.