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Dog Soldiers 4K UHD Review

‘Dog Soldiers’ never quite comes together. 

Directed and written by Neil Marshall (who is best known for ‘The Descent’ and some of the best ‘Game Of Thrones’ episodes), ‘Dog Soldiers’ was most people’s introduction to the filmmaker. ‘Dogs’ is a British werewolf action-horror film that revolves around a squad of 6 British soldiers on a training exercise in the Scottish Highlands where strange things are afoot. Not only were 2 campers murdered there previously, but the squad soon discovers werewolves are present. Moreover, the soldiers encounter a suspicious zoologist (Megan) and a shady Special Forces soldier (Captain Ryan) who has a history with one of the soldiers (the lead character Cooper). What’s really going on in the Highlands and will anyone make it out alive?

Since its release 20 years ago, ‘Dog Soldiers’ has become a cult favorite among horror fans. Upon my first viewing at the time of its release, ‘Dog’ didn’t resonate with me. It was apparent that Neil Marshall had talent as a filmmaker, but, aside from impressive practical effects and creature effects, ‘Dog’ was a tedious horror film. Sadly, my opinion hasn’t changed with this rewatch. The budget limitations can be forgiven, but there’s simply far too many scenes of characters firing guns, running around the woods or being stuck inside a cottage which limits the action and storytelling potential. Sure, it gives Marshall a chance to drop some humor and develop the characters in between bloody mayhem, but the characterization is still rather limited even with those moments. As for the werewolf action, there’s plenty of it, but the quick cut edits and handheld camera hamper their effectiveness. 

At the time, the cast were relative unknowns but now 3 cast members have gone on to big roles with Liam Cunningham (of ‘Game of Thrones’ fame), Sean Pertwee (‘Gotham’), and Kevin McKidd (‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and ‘Trainspotting’). Pertwee is the MVP here as the tough Sergeant. Emma Cleasby also deserves credit as Megan whose character arc is among the film’s most engaging (no spoilers here).

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1 2160p. How does it look? The new 4K scan of the original negative offers up an impressive new transfer. The film looks visually revitalized here and this Scream Factory release is sure to please fans.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? The audio is nothing short of lively (especially during the gunfire  scenes).

Extras (All on the Blu-ray aside from the commentaries):
* Blu-ray copy
* Photo gallery and a behind the scenes photo gallery
* 3 commentary tracks. One by Neil Marshall, one by producers David E. Allen and Brian O’Toole and one by writer/Associate Film Professor Alison Peirse
* A Neil Marshall short film titled ‘Combat.’
* An interview with Neil Marshall
* 5 trailers for ‘Dog Soldiers.’
* A video essay by author Mikel J. Koven titled ‘Werewolves, Folklore, And Cinema.’
* ‘A History of Lycanthropy’- Author Gavin Baddeley chats about werewolves in movies.
* ‘Werewolves Vs. Soldiers’- A 61 minute making of featuring extensive interviews that shed light on the film’s production.
* ‘A Cottage In The Woods’- A featurette on the cottage set.

August 23, 2022 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , , ,

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