While a young woman and her boyfriend are camping in the Scottish Highlands, she gives him a silver paper knife for his birthday. As she does so something bestial attacks their tent. Meanwhile in the Welsh mountains a selection weekend for a special services elite unit is being carried out under the observation of Captain Ryan but one promising recruit, Cooper, is thrown off the test when he refuses to shoot a stray dog on Ryan's orders and he is returned to his own unit. A month later Cooper's men, under the command of Sergeant Wells, are on exercises in the Highlands, armed with blanks and dummy grenades, the aim is to hunt down another unit, headed by Ryan. The men regard this as a waste of time, especially as they are missing a crucial England / Germany football match on the TV. But the squad discovers Ryan's men, horribly slaughtered, the bodies mutilated and Ryan himself, while alive, is gruesomely maimed. As the men regroup at night they are attacked by bestial creatures who kill one of the soldiers and rip Wells open. Cooper assumes command since the officer in charge is down and takes his men out of the woods where they are picked up by Megan, a young woman driving a jeep who takes them to her family home on the edge of the forest. Once there she explains that there are werewolves in the forest. Some of the men are initially sceptical but they realise that the injured Ryan and Wells are healing at an unbelievably rapid rate. They prepare to secure the house and have to battle off an attack by the creatures. Ryan tells them that the operation was planned in order to capture a werewolf and take it back for research, planning to adapt it into a living battlefield weapon. Ryan himself transforms into a werewolf as the lycanthropic virus spreads through him and he escapes from the house. Cooper realises that he and his men have been lured into a trap and that the house is the werewolves' home. They try to escape but are apparently trapped, Megan transforming into one of them before his horrified gaze. The rest of the werewolf pack attack and maim and slaughter the rest of the unit, leaving only Cooper and Wells alive. They manage to get into the cellar and barricade the doors. But Wells realises that he too is changing into a snarling, voracious werewolf....
After An American Werewolf in London,
British Werewolves In Scotland, or actually Luxembourg where the interiors were shot. With atmospheric photography from Sam McCardy, make-up and effects from Bob Keen's Image FX (Hellraiser / The Unholy)
and a script which makes the most of the claustrophobia provided by the central setting, Dog Soldiers
delivers the goods for horror fans, being unstinting in the gore stakes as well. An admirably British-oriented script grounds the pic very much in the Hammer tradition but with a modern sensibility and language, and director Neil Marshall knows when to temper the blood-letting with humour, such as the command to one of the infected soldiers when tied to a chair - 'Sit!.....' Sean Pertwee (Event Horizon)
and Liam Cunningham (Revelation)
add muscle to the roles of Wells and Ryan, and the whole movie is a well-judged low-budget exercise in knowing how to please a horror audience.