"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.It's been recently announced that there will be a webseries called Dog Soldiers Legacy which will be a prequel.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Made of Plasticine: Bruce had to have been running incredibly fast to get impaled to the extent that he did.
Menstrual Menace: 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.
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.
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.
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.
Shown Their Work: The dialogue was clearly all written by someone who knows a lot of genuine British squaddies. Also, the L85s seen in the first few minutes all possess the proper Blank Firing Attachments.
Also, Cooper closing Sarge's wound with super glue is indeed 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.
Throw It In: During the scene where the delirious Sarge demands that Cooper knock him out, Kevin Mc Kidd accidentally punched Sean Pertwee. The pause where Mc Kidd checks on Pertwee after feeling the punch connect was left in the film.
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.
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.