Dog Soldiers was probably advertised a couple years ago when it came out, but I recently heard it touted as a tone setting example on the Delta Green mailing list. As it turns out Lovecraftian Dog Soldiers is not, but in this case that’s not a bad thing.
To paraphase the words of one of the guys involved in filming: this is a soldier movie that happens to have antagonists as the major antagonists. That is to say, although surviving plays a major part the whole thing is as much or more about how the characters get fleshed out, function as a team, and relate to each other.
The archtypal moster-movie military bug-hunters in my head are either nearly faceless troops with an obediently focused intensity whose deaths you don’t care about, or almost a band of maverics with broadly painted personality stereotypes. By contrast in Dog Soldiers there’s a well established chain of command and unit cohesion but also an easy comeraderie without the obvious red-shirt status (not to say there aren’t plenty of red shirts by the time it’s through). Similarly plenty of personality features and quirks make each of the men distinct, and maybe even likeable in their own way, but without so much resorting to the sort of over-the-top and spell-it-all-out characterization techniques in some sci-fi thrillers.
There’s plenty of action in Dog Soldiers and although it may not be John Woo sytle stuff, but most scenes still beat your average movie scene of people running around and shooting at things. Rubber suits and weird platform shoes were chosen over CGI for this one, but that doesn’t make any of the scenes any less intense. And while there’s some intra-team drama, there’s mercifly little allowing you to largely concentrate suspense on the general circumstances and threat of outsiders, not dealing with the nagging worry about who’s going to stab who in the back next or go off the deep end (tired cliches in movies like these).
There’s also a morstle or two of ham and maybe a trifel of slapstick, but long story short:
If you aren’t a fan of this genre you’ll probably only find Dog Soldiers to be a so-so film. However if you have derive any enjoyment from violence heavy monster flicks then GO OUT AND RENT THIS MOVIE RIGHT NOW!! You could do alot worse.
Dog Soldiers (2002) gets 4.5 out of 5 stars.