Sunday, September 14, 2008

"Dogs... More Like Pussies"

One of the most hilarious movies I've ever seen is a flick called Cemetery Gates. Not because it would be a good comedy or something, no, but because it is probably the worst movie I've ever seen. It's supposed to be a horror movie, but you'll burst into laughter after the first few minutes and end up laughing your ass off by the end of it. My friend, András, made a pretty good review of it here (in case you don't understand Hungarian, all you need to do is watch the trailer, it's pretty self-explanatory). I pointed you to this review, because I'm not going to redo it. However, as András himself explained, the trailer points out "From the producer of 'Dog Soldiers'", so I thought I'd take this chance and check out if it lives up to the awfulness of Cemetery Gates (and beat András to doing the review).

I was deeply disappointed. Dare I say it? Dog Soldiers is a good movie. It might not be good, but it is above average and deserves at least an OK. How else can I put it? You won't regret watching it. Seriously. This isn't some kind of scheme to make you watch a horrible movie. Believe me. You might not want to stop reading this review in mid-sentence and go watch it, but you might want to finish reading the review and then watch it.

All right, maybe it's just me, since I was expecting a shitty movie, but I really thought it was nice. The thing is, what they say in the Cemetery Gates trailer is a trap. Indeed, the producer (hell, it's actually only co-producer) is the same, however, neither the writer, nor the director are the same. Just goes to show you how having the same producer may result in such different movies.

Now, on to the review. First, let me give you some details about the film, taken straight from Wikipedia.

Dog Soldiers is a 2002 British horror film, written and directed by Neil Marshall and starring Kevin McKidd, Sean Pertwee and Liam Cunningham. It was a British production, and although set in the highlands of Scotland, was filmed almost entirely in Luxembourg.

Moving on, let me outline the plot: a group of British soldiers conduct a simple training exercise in Scotland, and come across a pack of werewolves. While trying to escape, they lock themselves in a house, and have to survive until dawn, while being besieged by the werewolves. I know, it sounds crappy. The first scene is actually pretty stupid (though not as stupid as in Cemetery Gates). When I saw that, I was getting ready for the fun. However, it soon turns good. The first sign of this is the music. I thought it was very appropriate, they didn't exaggerate with it, and it just feels right.

After the first scene, you may also notice that the camera movement is worthy of a professional movie. It has fast zipping changes when needed, the panorama shots are also very good, and there are some very nice circle-arounds, as well as good close-ups during conversations.

And, speaking about conversations, here comes the best thing in the movie (in my opinion). The dialogue is witty, realistic, and expressive. It would be hard to point out what was the worst thing in Cemetery Gates: the plot, the acting, the costumes, the dialogue, the effects... anyway, I still remember the lines being pretty incoherent (much like the plot). In Dog Soldiers, the dialogue is amazing. First of all, since it takes place in Scotland, the characters have very good Scottish accents. They talk like real soldiers, meaning no censorship on the "shits" and "fucks". And some of the puns are amazing. I'll spoil one of them for you. One of the soldiers is called Spoon. When the werewolves get him, he is downstairs, with no one around. When the others come down, they see his remains, and exchange the following lines: "Where is Spoon?" "There is no Spoon." I thought that was hilarious.

Now, don't get me wrong, by no means should this movie be considered a military movie (too little trigger discipline for that), nor a horror movie (not enough suspense), nor an action movie (not enough effects). It has some of each of these three. It is a weird combination, I have to admit, but the proportions are really well balanced. For example, it doesn't cut back on the gore, but it isn't gratuitous. I thought it was well paced.

So, if you've seen Cemetery Gates, and wand something similar, Dog Soldiers will be disappointed. If you have some free time, and want to see a decent movie, I recommend it. Here's another bit of info, from Wikipedia.
It is considered by fans to be a cult classic due to the writing, direction, cinematography, chemistry of the cast, strong performances and the nearly complete lack of computer-generated imagery used for special effects.

As an ending, I have to add, that there was a 2008 projected sequel, entitled Dog Soldier: Fresh Meat, however it will not have Neil Marshall in the director's seat, and will involve American soldiers... sounds dumb off the bat. But don't panic, it doesn't show up on IMDb, and if it really were to come out this year, we would have heard about it by now. They probably cancelled it, which is good.


dr. Vincze-Nagy András said...

So, after the last movie you recommended I feel a little bit confused.

I was really expecting something worse then Cemetery Gates from this movie, but now that you mentioned that this is actually a real movie I'm not sure I'm gonna watch it. Oh man, I'm so sad now. Isn't there more movies like Cemetery Gates out there? :(

But have you seen the caption on the poster?
"From the producer of "BOO"!
I'm gonna watch that and make a review :D Let's play this :)

Viki Rosenzveig said...

I'm sorry you didn't like Jeux d'enfants. Like I said, it's a matter of tastes.

tibi masterofalltime said...

try "plan 9 from outer space":

"The plot of the film is focused on a race of extraterrestrial beings who are seeking to stop humans from creating a doomsday weapon that would destroy the universe. In the course of doing so, the aliens implement "Plan 9", a scheme to resurrect Earth's dead as zombies to get the planet's attention, causing chaos."

sounds rather promising.

there is also this list you might want to check out.