"So, if Little Red Riding Hood should show up with a bazooka and a bad attitude, I expect you to chin the bitch!"
— Sgt. Harry G. Wells, "Sarge"
A 2002 British horror film pitting soldiers against werewolves.
While on a routine training exercise in the Scottish highlands, a small group of British Army men discover the remains of an elite special forces squad that's been literally ripped to shreds. After being attacked by some unseen wild beasts, the remaining soldiers escape with the help of a female zoologist who just happened to be in the area. The rest of the movie deals with their attempts to survive the night in an abandoned house, be it fending off the werewolves or the internal strife
Rumors of a sequel have been circulating for years since it was announced in 2004 that a sequel called Dog Soldiers: Fresh Meat
was in the works. Additionally, a teaser for a prequel web-series entitled Dog Soldiers: Red
was revealed in 2011. Very little is known about the status of either project, both of which seem to be stuck in Development Hell
.This movie provides examples of:
- Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: When things start to look incredibly bleak after Joe is killed and the plan to use the second car goes horribly wrong, the remaining characters sit in silence, in quiet mourning for their fallen comrades, as Megan plays the piano. The music piece is "Clair de lune", which is "moonlight" in French. Not to mention werewolves howling like a choir in the background.
- Aerosol Flamethrower: Wells uses this on a werewolf towards the end.
- Agent Mulder: Spoon has no problem accepting that werewolves are real.
- All Myths Are True: One character mentions with dread that if werewolves are real what other mythological monsters are real? This alludes to Fridge Horror.
- Artistic License – Geography: There is nowhere in Scotland that is a four hour drive from anywhere, as Megan says. Though this could be interpreted as Megan just trying to fake them out so they'll stay put. Or it's a four hour drive due to the driving contitions, she mentions that the closest house is 50 miles away, and it's hers. They could easily be 70-100 miles from town, on muddy dirt roads at night.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: Spoon and Joe at one point, keeping each other covered as they pepper the werewolves attacking the house with machine gun fire.
- Badass: Pretty much the entire cast. Spoon and Sarge especially.
- Badass Boast: Delivered by Sergeant Wells to Cooper near the films climax "When I signed my life away on that dotted line, I fucking meant it. I am a professional soldier."
- Batman Gambit: With the right "bait", Ryan lured Sarge's men to a specific location during their exercise. This in turn was to provide "bait" to get a werewolf to come out into the open. It all worked spectacularly, except for there being more than one werewolf, and that they ended up attacking Ryan's team first.
- Black Comedy: Lots of it.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: "Spiders. And women. And... spider-women."
- Brick Joke:
- Bullethole Door: "Open your mouth, cover your ears, mind your toes."
- California Doubling: Set in Scotland, filmed in Luxembourg.
- Cannibal Larder: There's a grisly mound of bones hidden under the werewolves' house.
- Catchphrase: Ryan says "Live and learn" a few times.
- Cow Scare
- Chekhov's Gun: The silver letter opener.
- Chewing the Scenery: Ryan loves to do this.
- Cluster F-Bomb: The entire film probably counts.
- Combat Breakdown: The defense of the cottage starts fairly organised but gradually disintegrates over the course of the film, as body toll rises and ammo runs scarce. Spoon's fight with the werewolf also has shades of this. He starts of throwing well-placed punches and using a knife to keep the werewolf at bay but as the werewolf pushes forward, all he can do is to use anything he can find in a frantic effort.
- Cool Versus Awesome: The military fighting werewolves.
- Deadpan Snarker: Ryan. Megan also has her moments.
- Danger Room Cold Open: Cooper's introductory scene shows him running through the woods, but it turns out to be a training exercise. Of course, the whole plot was meant to be a training exercise, but it goes horribly wrong.
- Danger Takes a Backseat: How poor Joe meats his end. At least he fights it like a man.
- Death by Sex: The campers at the beginning get killed just as they're about to get busy.
- Developing Doomed Characters: A rare case where this trope is pulled off with success.
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Spoon's epic performance with the flares.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: And then he fights a werewolf. With bare hands. And is winning... until a second werewolf shows up.
- Drop the Cow: In a subversion of the usual comedic intention of this trope, a dead, bloody cow hits the ground just as Spoon is warming up a joke, in order to take the edge off Wells' deeply unsettling story of Eddie Oswald.
- Double Entendre : Megan, sadly looking down : "It's that time of the month".
- Dying as Yourself: Nearly averted with Sarge, as he's beginning to transform as he blows himself up with the cottage and everything in it.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: Quite a few of the characters get these. Sarge for blowing the werewolves to bits, Joe for attacking a werewolf with a combat knife instead of giving up and dying. Spoony gets special mention for going toe to toe with a werewolf unarmed and nearly winning until another werewolf shows up to help.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: Averted. The dead SAS squad discovered at the start of the film serve as a sort of off-screen Sacrificial Lion, while the film focuses on regular troops.
- Subverted as well. In addition to the gruelling training he presumably has already undergone as a candidate for the SAS, Cooper is sent packing after Ryan orders him to shoot a dog and he refuses.
- Establishing Character Moment: Ryan shoots a dog in the head in the first few minutes of the film, just because he can.
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Wells is usually just referred to as "Sarge".
- Famous Last Words:
- Fatal Family Photo: Sarge has a photo of his wife, which he looks at before he dies.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Think being ripped to pieces by a hungry werewolf is bad? Despite being a bloody mess, Terry is shown to be very much alive as a werewolf is feeding on him.
- A Father to His Men: Sarge.
- Fetish: "I love it when a posh bird talks dirty!"
- Flipping the Bird: The two-fingered variant from Spoon.
- Foreshadowing: The shot where Ryan washes his face and tilts his head when looking at his reflection in the bathroom mirror. Now what animals tilt their heads when they notice something curious? Dogs. The first physical sign that he is turning into a werewolf.
- Freak Out: Ryan, after being badly wounded by the werewolves and watching his men get ripped to shreds right in front of him.
- Futile Hand Reach: When Joe hotwires the jeep in the shed, the headlights turn on, revealing a still very much alive Terry being fed upon by a werewolf right in front of him, reaching out for Joe to help him.
- Genre Blindness: Terry really should have known better than to stand right next to a broken window shortly after a werewolf siege. "Dogs? More like pussies!" He gets yanked through the window seconds later.
- Gorn: Buckets of it.
- Gory Discretion Shot: The deaths of campers at the beginning, as well as the death of Joe.
- Healing Factor: Part of the werewolf package it seems. Also a sign of Ryan being a werewolf Infectee
- Hit Me, Dammit!: Wells to Cooper, as Wells' wounds are being treated.
Wells: Cooper, knock me out. HIT ME! [Cooper decks him] ...I said knock me out you fuckin' pussy!
- Heroic Sacrifice: Sergeant Wells.
- If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: Shoot this dog. He refuses.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Bruce is impaled on a broken tree branch whilst fleeing the werewolves. Later, Ryan (as a werewolf) is run through with a sword, but, now being nigh-invulnerable, it doesn't kill him.
- Improvised Weapon: Many examples. Cooper tells the rest of squad to boil water - they use it later to fend off attacks. Megan starts taking pictures of a werewolf with a camera, trying to blind or distract it with the repeated flashes. Spoon throws half the contents of the kitchen at a werewolf, uses a Frying Pan of Doom, and then totally snaps and brutally speed-knifes the wolf. Also counts when Spoon goes hammer-frenzy on werewolf's paw, while barricading doors.
- It Can Think: The werewolves, natch. Except for Megan, everyone initially considers them savage animals, but their behavior quickly proves them wrong.
Spoon: They shut down the generator!
Terry: Why would they do that?
Megan: Because they can see in the dark.
Ryan: And you're afraid of it.
- Kick the Dog: Captain Ryan is this kind of person, shooting a dog in his first scene simply because he can.
- Kill 'em All: Cooper and Sam are the only characters to survive.
- Last Stand: Spoon.
- Made of Plasticine: Bruce had to have been running incredibly fast to get impaled to the extent that he did.
- All Periods Are PMS: Lampshaded: Megan quips "It's that time of the month" as she starts to transform into a werewolf.
- The Mole: Megan, who doesn't actually intend to be the mole at first. Some time prior to the events of the film she was attacked and turned by the werewolf family, and apparently hates it. She hopes that the soldiers will be able to defeat the rest of the werewolves and rescue her. However after every escape plan goes wrong, her animal instincts and loyalty to the pack take over...
- More Dakka: The sheer amount of ammunition expended throughout the course of this film is staggering. Lampshaded and subverted when the fact they're running low on ammunition becomes a plot point, and by Cooper's exasperated yell of "Controlled! Three-round! Bursts!", eminently sensible advice that nobody bothers to take.
- Mortal Wound Reveal: Inverted. Sarge shows Cooper that his mortal wound is gone, revealing that he's becoming a werewolf.
- Nigh-Invulnerability: The werewolves.
- No Party Like a Donner Party: Implied, but not stated outright. When the squaddies arrive at the abandoned house, dinner's still on the stove. They tuck in; when asked what it is, one says "Pork, I think." Later, we find out the house belongs to the werewolves and they have human bodies hanging up in the cellar.
- Off with His Head!: Terry.
- Orphaned Punchline: Reversed, in that we hear the beginning, but not the punchline. The reaction to what happens next might compensate for this, though.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: Slightly. They have a silver vulnerability, turn with the full moon, etc. However, they can resist the transformation (albeit with difficulty), and killing them without silver is possible - it's just extremely hard.
- Painful Transformation: The full transformations are never seen on-screen (Neil Marshall mentions in the commentary that the reason for this was because, after the famous transformation sequence from An American Werewolf in London, he didn't feel he would be able to do it justice), but the characters who start to turn are all shown to be in a huge amount of pain during the process.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
- Precision F-Strike:
Megan: Move your fucking arse, soldier!
(A short while later)
Spoon: I love it when a posh bird talks dirty!
- Rated M for Manly
- Regret Eating Me: Spoon's Famous Last Words.
- Resist The Beast: Wells manages to resist his transformation just long enough to get Cooper to safety, before blowing up the house.
- Secret Test of Character: Subverted. At first the audience, much like Cooper, isn't sure if Ryan really intends him to shoot the dog or whether it's a test to see whether he'd follow the order without question. Turns out it isn't.
- Screaming Warrior: Spoon, during his Last Stand, as he prepares to smack a werewolf with a frying pan.
- Shoot the Dog: Averted when Cooper refuses to shoot a dog. Played straight when Ryan does it without batting an eye.
- Shout-Out: Sergeant Wells, "There is no Spoon.", Private Bruce Campbell, the page quote, "Short, controlled bursts", Zulu (both the film and the battle it was based on), "They've fixed it so we can't win! It's the Kobyashi Maru!", The Searchers gets a visual nod at the end... Lots, in short.
- Shown Their Work:
- The dialogue was clearly all written by someone who knows a lot of genuine British squaddies.
- The L85s seen in the first few minutes all possess the proper Blank Firing Attachments.
- Cooper closing Sarge's wound with super glue is Truth in Television. The US Army developed a Super Glue spray during the Vietnam War for (temporarily) closing a soldier's wounds until they could get him to a hospital.
- Sole Survivor
- Steel Ear Drums: Averted and referenced when Sarge fires an automatic rifle in a cupboard. Before he fires, he tells Cooper to cover his ears and open his mouth specifically to avoid hearing damage.
- Stiff Upper Lip: Almost everyone qualifies, but none more so than Sarge. Having already confessed as to being terrified at the thought of never seeing his wife again and then given the choice of either certain death or turning into a werewolf, he stays calm and focussed.
- Supernatural Gold Eyes: In the initial stages of their transformation, humans turning into werewolves have bright yellow eyes.
- Taking You with Me: Sarge.
- Team Pet: Sam.
- Too Dumb to Live: Terry, suffering from a case of Genre Blindness.
- Transformation Is a Free Action: Averted. When Megan begins her transformation, Wells just shoots a hole in her, still very human, head. According to the director, this doesn't kill her. She shows up again in the end as the one-eyed werewolf.
- Tuckerization: Bruce Campbell. And Sergeant H. G. Wells.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Cooper and Megan. Her betraying the squad to the werewolves kind of put a damper on things.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Terry couldn't stomach Sam (the dog) pulling at Wells' bandages (which were at the time, very bloody, and could be mistaken for intestines).
- Warrior Poet: Bruce has shades of this, although it's more evident in the deleted scenes than in the finished film.
- Weaponized Cameras: Megan uses the flash from a camera to stall the werewolves. Later, just before Cooper escapes into the basement, Wells gives the roll of film to him, so he can prove the incident happened. The pictures taken show up before the ending credits start rolling.
- Werewolf Infectee Ryan and in an inversion Harry Wells
- Wham Line: "They were always here. I just unlocked the door."
- Why Are You Looking at Me Like That?: "We need a diversion...something fast and loud." (Everyone looks at Spoon, who wasn't paying attention). Spoon: What? You what?
- Worst News Judgement Ever: Inverted, as the headline about the squad is overshadowed by the result of an international football match.