There was a period during the first decade of the new century that Neil Marshall was the great hope of British genre cinema. With the release of The Descent back in 2005 it seemed like he could do no wrong and Hollywood beckoned. However, the relative disappointment of his follow ups, Doomsday and Centurion, meant his career kind of stalled. Whilst he now seems to be back in the game, his greatest achievement, for me, is still Dog Soldiers.
Six British soldiers, led by Sergeant Wells (Sean Pertwee), are airdropped into the Scottish Highlands on a training exercise against a SAS unit. After being rejected by Captain Ryan (Liam Cunningham) for the service, Cooper (Kevin McKidd) has a point to prove. However, not soon after the manoeuvres begin, the squad start to suspect there’s something not quite right. Could be something to do with these large dog-like creatures trying to kill them.
Dog Soldiers pits werewolves versus Britain’s finest to create a deadly and bloody horror with teeth and claws. Much of the military mayhem is very tongue in cheek and you get the intellectual conversations you’d expect. There are brilliant practical effects on show, particularly in the shaggy lycanthropes, and all the carnage you could possibly desire. Although it’s eighteen years old, Dog Soldiers is as fun, frantic and fantastic today as it was on release.
The 4k restoration of Dog Soldiers is in cinemas from 23 October and available on digital now.