Dog Soldiers on 4K Blu-ray – The DVDfever Review – Sean Pertwee, Kevin McKidd

Dog Soldiers

Dog Soldiers starts with a couple in the woods having a campfire, before some sort of creature slowly opens their tent zip, grabs at them from offscreen, almost bumps off the female half of the couple, before snatching her body, with her hand trying to – unsuccessfully – claw back to him…

Then it jumps back 2 hours earlier where Special Forces Captain Ryan (Liam CunninghamThe Guard) is being a particular hardass towards soldier Cooper (Kevin McKiddT2 Trainspotting), before the plot moves on four weeks later to the Scottish highlands (albeit shot in Luxembourg due to tax breaks, but the idea was based on the director visiting Scotland), where Cooper’s team is on a training exercise, firing blanks, and led by Sgt Wells (Sean PertweeAlan Partridge: Alpha Papa).

Before too long, they come across evidence of something very grim happening in the woods, with blood all over the place, but we know this is a werewolf movie, even though it takes the soldiers a bit of time to catch on to this, although they get a clue when they’re interrupted late at night by a murdered cow, and Wells declares, “We’ve got hostile targets. So, if Little Red Riding Hood should show up with a bazooka and a bad attitude, I expect you to chin the bitch!”

Meanwhile, Cooper muses, regarding their enemy: “Werewolves – Full moon, Silver bullets, eyebrows that meet in the middle”… so, like Liam Gallagher, then?

Dog Soldiers

Bit of a wake-up call if you’re sleeping on the couch!

Dog Soldiers is very well shot, such as making the training team look like they’re on an epic hike as if they’re in Deliverance, there’s plenty of good close-up shots as well as the use of cutting between scenes to add to the tension and to excellent sharp effect, and at one point, the sound of guns being co-cked in separate speakers as they get ready for the attack from the werewolves.

For part of the time, it’s case of tell, don’t show, similar to Jaws, while at others, it can be pretty gross, such as when someone’s guts fall out, and while Liam Cunningham’s character comes back into it at some point, the soldiers also hole up in a cottage owned by Megan (Emma Cleasby), a zoologist who’s been tracking werewolves, and studying them.

As for the suits for the werewolves wouldn’t do much for them up against the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, but it’s still quite a fun low-budget movie.

As an aside, this is the first time I’ve seen this film, but many moons ago, I DREAMT that I watched it! I’m not sure what I thought I was watching when I woke up, but it was enough to make me think, that during the dream, I WAS watching it. However, I wasn’t.

Dog Soldiers

Dog Soldiers – The 4K Blu-ray. Just a single disc with no booklet, alas.

The film is presented in the original 1.85:1 widescreen ratio, in 4K on a single disc, and the picture is very nicely detailed. There is a little bit of grain, but then it’s a 2002 movie shot on film. It’s nothing that’s a problem, though.

The extras are as follows:

  • Werewolves, Crawlers, Cannibals and More: An interview with Neil Marshall (38:18): The director talks about how it took him eight years to make Dog Soldiers, as well as discussing an earlier film, Killing Time, which he wrote, and did part of the directing on after the original director passed out due to exhaustion.

    He also talks about potential sequels, and discusses other films of his including The Descent, which I’ve still to get round to seeing plus subsequent films, and how he came to direct the Game of Thrones Season 2 finale on their biggest budget ever at the time.

    He’s refreshingly honest when talking about 2019’s Hellboy reboot which he also directed. He said it had a “terrible script, was a miserable experience to work on, and it was a godawful film.. you can’t polish a turd”. He wasn’t allowed to make any changes to the script, which is why it “couldn’t really be saved”.

  • A History of Lycanthrophy: Author Gavin Baddeley on Werewolf Cinema (33:22): Quite an interesting 30+ mins going through horror films through the decades, and up to 2002’s Dog Soldiers.

  • Werewolves, Folklore and Cinema: A Video Essay by author Mikel J Koven (23:23): I listened to a few minutes of this, but it’s a bit more intricate that I’m into.

  • Werewolves vs Soldiers: The Making of Dog Soldiers (1:01:50): Just over an hour in this making-of, and while I’ve not seen it all as of yet, it does go into things in a lot more detail.

  • A Cottage in the Woods (13:26): Designing the interiors of where the main action takes place.

  • Combat: Short Film (7:54): Four men going to the pub for a few drinks, the only sounds around the 5.1 speaks being the sounds as if a war’s going on around them. It’s very amusing.

  • Trailers (4:25): Four here, the first three acting like one of those recruitment campaign adverts.

  • Photo Gallery (4:30): 33 images with written commentary.

  • Gag Reel and Deleted Scenes (8:58): Mostly deleted scenes, but the last minute or so is the gag reel. This also includes an optional director’s commentary.

  • Audio commentaries: One from director Neil Marshall, one from producers David E Allen and Brian O’Toole, and one from Alison Peirse.

    The menu features spooky background atmosphere – albeit rather loud, so I did mute it after a while, Subtitles are in English only, however, despite the advancements of technology and bringing this to us in 4K, old habits die hard, and there’s still only a paltry 12 chapters.

    Dog Soldiers is out now on 4K Blu-ray and Blu-ray. It’s also available on Limited Edition 4K Blu-ray, DVD and Amazon Video.

    Dog Soldiers Remastered – Exclusive UK Trailer – Vertigo Releasing


    Running time: 105 minutes
    Year: 2002
    Chapters: 12
    Cat.No: 2NDBR4158
    Distributor: Second Sight Films
    Released: August 22nd 2022
    Picture: 2160p High Definition (4K Blu-ray)
    Widescreen: 1.85:1 (Super 16)
    Subtitles: English SDH
    Disc Format: BD100

    Director: Neil Marshall
    Producers: David E Allen, Christopher Figg, Tom Reeve
    Screenplay: Neil Marshall
    Music: Mark Thomas

    Wells: Sean Pertwee
    Cooper: Kevin McKidd
    Megan: Emma Cleasby
    Ryan: Liam Cunningham
    Bruce: Thomas Lockyer
    Spoon: Darren Morfitt
    Joe: Chris Robson
    Terry: Leslie Simpson
    Campers: Tina Landini, Craig Conway
    Sam the Dog: Villrikke’s Acer
    Werewolves: Bryn Walters, Ben Wright, Brian Claxton Payne