Conceptually Dog Soldiers emerges as though someone had decided to rework Walter Hills Southern Comfort (1981), which was about an under-armed troupe of soldiers on a training mission being hunted by Cajuns, but with werewolves instead of Cajuns. As a no-punches-held-back, no pretensions piece of visceral horror, Dog Soldiers is rather enjoyable. Nothing particularly startling or conceptually inventive is done with the premise. Rather all that director Neil Marshall does is gets in there and shoots, bangs and splatters his show at a fast and satisfying pace. The climactic scenes where the werewolves do finally break into the house are particularly well sustained, and the film rarely ever slows down elsewhere.
Neil Marshall has almost certainly done some time in the British territorials and Dog Soldiers is clearly written with an insiders knowledge of the way infantry army operates. (Almost all of Neil Marshalls films are brutal, bare hands survival stories, usually featuring a group of soldiers as heroes). Particularly good upon Marshalls part are some of the characterisations of the men who are all drawn with simple but convincingly credible strokes. There is a standout performance from Sean Pertwee as the tough-as-nails sergeant of the group, although the show is in large part captured by Kevin McKidd, who does an excellent job of portraying an ordinary, decent man who rises to become the leader of the group.
Dog Soldiers is produced by Christopher Figg, the man behind Clive Barkers equally low-budgeted British horror miracle Hellraiser (1987). In terms of the modest acclaim that Dog Soldiers received in the international marketplace, the Hellraiser comparison is not inapt. To further extend the Barker connection, Dog Soldiers also has some effective two-metre tall werewolves and convincingly gory splatter effects from Bob Keen, the man who supervised the transformations for Hellraiser.
Neil Marshall subsequently went onto make the excellent, better-budgeted The Descent (2005) about potholers encountering creatures underground, the futuristic plague film Doomsday (2008) and the non-genre historical action film Centurion (2010), as well as the Bad Seed episode of Tales of Halloween (2015).
(Nominee for Best Makeup Effects at this sites Best of 2002 Awards).
Full film available online here:-