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Film / Dog Soldiers

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"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.
  • Action Survivor: Megan's not a soldier herself, and the only non military character in the film. Yet she proves quite capable in battle. One trailer even lampshaded this, asking viewers who they thought would crack first. It then said "did you choose the woman?" - followed by clips of Megan ass kicking and a tagline "don't be so sexist". The fact that she's actually a werewolf herself may have something to do with it.
  • 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.
  • All Periods Are PMS: Lampshaded: Megan quips "It's that time of the month" as she starts to transform into a werewolf.
  • An Arm and a Leg: It happens so fast, but it looks like Cooper hacks off a werewolf's arm with the sword in the house.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When explaining the meaning of the soldiers' slang word 'bone'.
    Megan: What does 'bone' mean?
    Spoon: Bone - bollocks, naff.
  • Artistic License – Geography: There is nowhere in Scotland that is a four-hour drive from anywhere, as Megan says - Gretna Green (one of the southernmost points before you cross the border) to John o' Groats (northmost) is about 6 hours. That they had a map at the beginning and are all experienced soldiers makes this even worse, and even the crummy weather wouldn't delay the trip that much. Though this could be interpreted as Megan just trying to fake them out so they'll stay put.
  • Artistic License – Military:
    • The group of soldiers are referred to as a 'squad', when a small infantry unit in the British army is usually called a 'section'. Sections usually have a minimum of eight men (here they have only six) and are commanded by a corporal, not a sergeant.
    • Cooper is seen holding his rifle over his left shoulder. The rifle in question - the SA80 - is always held in the right shoulder due to the way it's designednote , regardless of whether the user might be left-handed.
    • Ryan's group is armed predominately with submachine guns and shotguns. They make perfect weapons in enclosed space (like inside a house, where most of the plot happens), but are really weird choice for their original deployment.
  • 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 Boast: Delivered by Sergeant Wells to Cooper near the film's climax "When I signed my life away on that dotted line, I fucking meant it. I am a professional soldier."
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: Capt. Ryan is established as being a right bastard by ordering Cooper to shoot a dog in order to join his team, then shooting it himself when he refuses. He's about to kill Megan's dog, until Joe vomits on him.
  • Band of Brothers: The squaddies are all very close and tight-knit, trading Snark-to-Snark Combat but always having each other's backs.
  • 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.
  • Berserk Board Barricade: Downplayed. Spoon is busy boarding the entrance door, but does it in normal manner. When suddenly a werewolf's paw slides inside through the letter hole, Spoon reacts by frantically hammering the paw instead and then boarding the hole in excessive way.
  • The Berserker: Spoon. Would you expect anything less from a man who begins to enjoy fighting werewolves and later delivers the No-Holds-Barred Beatdown of a lifetime on one?
  • The Big Guy: Joe. Cooper even refers to him as 'the big guy with the axe'.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Cooper and Sam the dog both make it out alive and back to civilization, but they're the only two survivors out of the cast and Cooper's entire squad is dead. Whilst Cooper does get word and photos of the werewolves out as the Sarge ordered him to, the closing credits make it seem likely that no-one except for tabloids are going to take his story or the werewolf photos seriously.
  • Black Comedy: Lots of it. Particularly when Sarge is found with his intestines hanging out, and Cooper nonchalantly stuffs them back in. Later Sam the dog tries to eat the bandages.
  • Blinding Camera Flash: Used deliberately by Megan, since the werewolves are No-Sell to conventional attacks.
  • Blood Knight: Spoon actually starts to enjoy the siege.
    Spoon: Know what this reminds me of? Rourke's Drift. 100 men of Harlech, making a desperate stand against 10,000 Zulu warriors. Outnumbered, surrounded, staring death in the face and not flinching for a moment. Balls of British steel.
    Joe: You're bloody loving this, aren't you?
  • Boring, but Practical: Cooper's reaction toward being besieged in a cottage which has internal gas and water supply? Boiling water to save on ammo.
  • Brave Scot: Cooper is Scottish and is The Leader of the team. He's the only one who doesn't freak out, and keeps a cool head consistently through the whole duration of the plot. While Kevin McKidd was the first choice, the character doesn't appear to have been written as Scottish, making it coincidental.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: "Spiders. And women. And... spider-women."
  • Brick Joke:
  • Bring It: Spoon, alone in werewolf-infested woods, lights a flare and yells "Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough!"
  • Broken Masquerade: The squad's training is brutally tested by towering bipedal wolves capable of strategy. Eventually, Cooper is unable to write them off as escaped unshaven psychopaths.
    Megan: Up until today, you believed there was a line between myth and reality. May have been a very fine line sometimes, but... at least it was a line. Those things out there... are real. And if they're real, what else is real? You know what lives in the shadows, now. You may never get another night's sleep as long as you live.
  • Bullethole Door: "Open your mouth, cover your ears, mind your toes."
  • Cannibal Larder: There's a grisly mound of bones hidden under the werewolves' house. And a literal skeleton in the closet.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Ryan says "Live and learn" a few times.
    • Joe loves to say "bone" to refer to something bad.
    Megan: What does bone mean?
    Spoon: Bone? Bollocks, naff...
  • Cat Scare: A cow's body is thrown on the campfire to scare the soldiers. Played with in the sense that it's actually the start of the werewolves pursuing them.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The silver letter opener.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Ryan, when sufficiently aggitated, goes bombastic.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The entire film probably counts, as the squaddies casually swear. Non-stop. To the point the final ratings were more about the amount of swearing than gore or other elements.
  • 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. Cooper even invokes it verbatim when discussing their situation with Megan.
    • Spoon's fight with the werewolf also has shades of this. He starts off 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.
    • Double Subversion with Sarge. After initially being barely conscious and piss drunk to help with the pain, he not only gets sober, but back to fighting shape thanks to the werewolves' Healing Factor. However, as he succumbs to his transformation in the finale, he quickly loses control over himself, being reduced to twitching on the ground in spasms of pain.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: The military fighting werewolves.
  • Creator Cameo: The insurance didn't cover the actors jumping out of the helicopter at the start of the film. As many of the crew were ex-military, they doubled up and did it themselves. They also doubled for the soldiers during some of the tabbing shots.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Ryan's squad was slaughtered without firing a shot.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Ryan. Megan also has her moments. According to Marshall, this was enforced by the studio and they weren't like that in the first draft.
  • 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.
  • Daylight Horror: Just before nightfall, the squad, in a clearing, find the deserted, gore-strewn Special Forces camp. Shortly afterwards, the Lycanthropes can be seen flitting through the trees.
  • Defiant to the End: Being a soldier movie, there's naturally quite a bit of this. Examples include Joe leaping into the back of the land rover at a werewolf like a berserker, Spoon's last words and Spiteful Spit before two werewolves tear him apart, and the Sarge's Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: A rare case where this trope is pulled off with success.
  • Devoured by the Horde: Spoon's Dying Moment of Awesome is quickly followed by grisly footage of the werewolves eating most of his body; the few remaining survivors find his nametag in a mess of guts and bones.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Megan turns out to be a werewolf, so Cooper has to kill hernote .
  • 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.
  • Digital Destruction: The 2015 collector’s edition Blu-ray by Scream Factory, while praised for its expansive supplementary material, was widely criticized for a near colorless, and very grainy picture transfer. Justified as director Neil Marshall (who worked alongside Shout! Factory on the Blu-ray), confirmed that they were unable to locate the original negatives at the time and had to use the best available sources for the new HD transfer.
  • Don't Go Into the Woods: The werewolves hunt and devour humans they catch in the woods, with the soldiers only avoiding them during the first night due to camping inside a ravine, and the werewolves use the treeline as their cover during the siege of the house.
  • Double Entendre: Megan, sadly looking down: "It's that time of the month".
  • Double-Meaning Title: The title is an accurate description of both the soldiers and the werewolves.
    • Early on, Cooper notes that Ryan only has dog tags as identification. In addition, the soldiers utilize actual dogs in combat, and Cooper refers to his squad as underdogs at one point.
    • The soldiers occasionally refer to the werewolves as "dogs". Furthermore, Megan claims that the werewolves are no different from the soldiers as they too work as a team and utilize tactical thinking to achieve an objective.
    • Of course, the title gets more literal when Sarge and Ryan turn into werewolves after getting infected.
  • 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.
  • Dwindling Party: We start off with six soldiers, acquiring two additional party members in Ryan and Megan. Cooper is the only one to survive to the end.
  • 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.
  • Eaten Alive: Naturally. Terry is found alive as he's being eaten.
  • Economy Cast: Ryan is said to be with a Special Ops team, and the scene that establishes he's in the area before they're attacked shows only him and his radio man who contacts their camp. All we ever see of the rest of Ryan's team is their abandoned camp and one spilled intestine, although it's implied at least some of the puppet-portrayed corpses in the werewolves' larder in the film's penultimate scene are them.
  • 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 grueling 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: Pvt. Cooper performs commendably at the end of his SAS training, but then he balks at and refuses to obey a direct order to kill a trained dog (and when the dog is senselessly killed anyway, Cooper punches the higher-ranking officer responsible), introducing him as a tough-as-nails soldier with a conscience and a soft spot for dogs. Meanwhile in contrast, Captain Ryan (the dog-shooting officer in question) demonstrates in this scene his inability to be anything other than a condescending slimeball even when he's complimenting Cooper on his top performance, and also how utterly spiteful he is since he implicitly gave Cooper the order purely because he was annoyed by the dog barking. The use of the dog in relation to the characters in this scene is also important, as the dog represents military comradery: Cooper is fiercely loyal to and genuine friends with all his platoon-mates, whereas Ryan manipulates and sacrifices "expendable" soldiers like pawns on a chessboard and later seeks Disproportionate Retribution on Cooper just for punching him.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The cast find Sam, a dog, strangely locked in a closet. Later on, the werewolves corner Sam and the cutaway makes it seem like he may have been killed, but he is unharmed next time he is seen. The implication is that he is the werewolf family's dog: they likely recognize him even while transformed (though he doesn't seem to recognize them judging by how he barks at them), but still lock him up for protection just in case.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Wells is usually just referred to as "Sarge".
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Megan's hair is something of a clock as to what's currently happening in the movie. She's introduced with it fully down, when she's the outsider to the soldiers (and takes her hat off once it's clear they'll have to stay in the house). She ties it up as she starts working with them and fighting the wolves. And finally, as the party dwindles further, it comes partially down.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Aside from the opening, grand majority of the film happens during the span of two days, and lion share of plot is set during a single night.
  • The Faceless: The werewolves are never seen in their human form. There are however photos of the family living in the house.
  • Face–Monster Turn:
    • The werewolves. Megan is their neighbor and she describes them as good people.
    • Subverted. There are two tropes on this page detailing what the pack does with their dead victims. The fact that the stove most likely has human flesh cooking in the pot shows us that the pack knows what they are doing as both werewolves and humans.
  • Fairy Tale Motifs:
    • Little Red Riding Hood - Sgt Wells name drops her in the page quote, Bruce strays from the beaten path and immediately gets killed, Megan turns out to be a wolf disguised as a human.
    • Goldilocks & The Three Bears - the soldiers find food on the stove and help themselves, and Cooper mockingly compares the werewolves to the three bears later on. Fittingly Cooper is the only blond in the group as well.
      • Even more fitting, Cooper, Ryan and Wells are the only soldiers who don't help themselves to the stew at all — theose three are the only ones who don't get Eaten Alive, with Cooper who was at the table and chose not to eat being the Sole Survivor.
    • The Three Little Pigs - the soldiers barricade themselves in a house to protect from the big bad wolves. The house gets literally blown down in the climax.
  • Fatal Family Photo: Sarge has a photo of his wife, which he looks at before he dies. Unlike a typical example, he checks the photo when already dying, rather than before being killed.
  • 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. His men adore him and he even chastises Ryan for "scaring my lads."
  • Fetish: "I love it when a posh bird talks dirty!"
  • Five-Token Band: Downplayed, since the soldiers are all white. But there's quite the variety of accents from across the UK; Sgt Wells is a Cockney, Cooper is Scottish, Joe is Geordie, Spoon is Oop North (his actor is from Durham), and Bruce and Terry are generically southern.
  • Flipping the Bird: The two-fingered variant from Spoon.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Terry's capture by werewolves while standing with his back to the window shouldn't come as much of a surprise when his disregard for basic training is shown in the slapdash way he has almost the entire contents of his bergen unpacked around the campfire.
    • 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.
    • If one looks closely, Megan has a faint scar on her arm similar to Sarge and Ryan's werewolf-inflicted scars, hinting that she's also a werewolf who was infected by the family.
    • Megan starts playing the piano, the song? Clair De Lune, literally translated? Moonlight.
  • Freak Out: Ryan, after being badly wounded by the werewolves and watching his men get ripped to shreds right in front of him.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Spoon uses one against a werewolf.
  • 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. Let's just say few times people slip on someone's intestines.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • The deaths of campers at the beginning is just implied when the woman is dragged from the tent and blood splashes over the man's face.
    • Ryan's camp being attacked is conveyed by blood splattering on a nearby rock.
    • While Bruce impaling himself on a tree is given plenty of gore, the werewolves tearing him apart cuts away to the splash of blood.
    • The death of Joe happens off screen, with the characters only finding his body in the jeep.
  • Happily Married: Sarge to his wife Annie. He matter-of-factly says that the thought of never seeing her again scares him the most.
  • Hard-to-Light Fire:
    • One soldier goes through a whole box of matches trying to light the petrol-trail on fire, but they keep breaking. Sarge comes to his aid by tossing a Molotov cocktail at the petrol.
    • Also used when a werewolf knocks the lighter out of Wells' hand as he's about to blow up the kitchen gas supply in a Taking You with Me. But it didn't think to also get between him and the stove's pilot-light switch.
  • Hate Sink: Captain Ryan is a Jerkass who looks down his nose at the lower classes, wastefully shoots a dog For the Evulz (and nearly kills another one later) and is responsible for the deaths of everyone.
  • Healing Factor: Part of the werewolf package it seems. Also a sign of Ryan and Sarge being werewolf infectees.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Cooper seems to be a big dog lover. He's actually enraged when Ryan casually shoots the dog at the start - and seems to form an attachment to Sam as the film goes on.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Sergeant Wells blows himself, and the werewolves, up with the gas cooker.
  • 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!
  • Homage: Captain Ryan's transformation was inspired by, of all things, Carry On Screaming!, one of Marshall's favourite films growing up.
  • 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.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: The canine version. Sam's the only survivor other than Cooper.
  • 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.
  • Inertial Impalement: An unintentional example. Bruce looks behind him as he is fleeing the werewolves and impales himself on a broken tree branch.
  • Informed Attribute: In universe the Uaths are described as "good people, they're kind people". This might hold up better if they didn't have human corpses in their cellar, human skeletons in their wardrobes, and regularly hunt and murder people to the point where the authorities notice.
  • Ironic Echo: "There is no Spoon."
  • It Can Think: The werewolves, natch. Except for Megan, everyone initially considers them savage animals, but their behavior quickly proves them wrong. They can also use firearms as at one point a werewolf snatches a shotgun out of a soldiers hands and starts shooting back, and it's heavily implied as the film goes on that the werewolves retain their human identities while transformed and know what they're doing.
    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.
  • The Lancer: It looks like Bruce will be this, as he's the only corporal in the group, and knows Sarge very well. But he's the first one killed off. This leads Sarge to become the Lancer to Cooper.
  • Last Stand: Spoon ends up alone in the kitchen as the werewolves close in on the house. He utilises knives, frying pans, dinner plates and even Good Old Fisticuffs to keep them at bay. He goes down fighting.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Ryan. Twice. He uses Sarge and Cooper's team as bait for the werewolf so his team can catch it off guard. Instead, Ryan's team gets slaughtered and Sarge's team comes to his rescue. At the end of the film, Cooper shoots Ryan in the head after he turns into werewolf, giving Ryan an Ironic Echo from the beginning of the film.
  • Lethal Letter Opener: The silver letter opener established in the beginning is used to remove Ryan's Nigh-Invulnerability at the climax. Rather than the opener itself being lethally dangerous, the important factor is that it is made out of silver.
  • Lifesaving Misfortune: The reason why Cooper survives in the end is because he failed the selection test for a special unit. Should he shoot that dog (and didn't punch Ryan), he would end up in the team that got torn into ribbons.
  • Made of Plasticine: Bruce had to have been running incredibly fast to get impaled to the extent that he did.
  • Mauve Shirt: Bruce is the first one to be killed - and not even by the werewolves.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Not the werewolves, but the story of Eddie Oswald that Wells tells around the fire. An old friend of Wells, he got a tattoo of a laughing devil when going into war, reasoning that his soul belonged to God but it was up to Satan to save his skin. He was blown up, but when they were looking for pieces, they found the devil tattoo completely intact and immaculate, thus technically saving his skin. "Just not all of it."
  • Meaningful Name: The name of the family that owns the house is Uath. It's an Old Irish word and can be translated as "Horror" or "Fear.'' This name is fitting as the werewolves are the owners of the house.
  • 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...
  • Monster Misogyny: Inverted! Two of the werewolves are female, according to the picture. Aside from the hiker's girlfriend in the opening, all their victims are men.
  • 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 - "I think we might have pissed on our chips," Spoon remarks on showing Cooper how little ammo they have left after the first few encounters - 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 within mere seconds, revealing that he's becoming a werewolf.
  • Motive Rant:
    • Megan enters one when she's tricked the soldiers into unwittingly destroying their last possible means of escape from the werewolves, revealing what happened to her and how she ended up being forcibly adopted into the pack, making it clear that she does ''not' like being part of the werewolves' "fucked-up family", and confirming that she sincerely thought at the night's start that she could finally escape her captors with the soldiers' aid but now she's given up hope.
    • Downplayed by Ryan when revealing to the squad what he and his team were doing in the glen trying to capture a werewolf and where the squad came into their plan. He's pressed and all but interrogated by Cooper and the Sarge, and it takes a lot of talking and a physical death-threat from Cooper to push each section of Ryan's explanation along.
  • Nice Guy: Terry is a rather shy, but amicable individual.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: The werewolves seem practically immune to bullets. The squaddies use nearly all their ammo on them and it still takes literally blowing up the house to kill them. Silver however does weaken them.
  • 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.
  • Not So Similar: Cooper says as much to Ryan when Ryan insists the squad are no different from him the Special Ops man.
    Ryan: If I could tell you, I would. but I'm just a soldier, like you.
    Cooper: No stripes. No insignia. A suit in a uniform does not make a soldier.
  • Off with His Head!: Terry gets his head bitten off by a wolf, who then throws it at Joe to Kick the Dog even further.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: When Ryan is going through his Madness Mantra, Liam Cunningham's natural Irish accent slips through a few times.
  • Oop North: Joe and Spoon, whose actors are from Newcastle and Durham respectively.
  • Orphaned Setup: Almost entire joke is heard, but not the punchline. The reaction to what happens next might compensate for this, though.
    Spoon: So the bloke walks into a pub right, with a little dog under his arm. Puts it down on the bar, goes and sits down. The bar-tender's lookin' at him thinking "what the fuckin' hell's goin' on here?". Then he looks back at the dog, and to his surprise the dog turns around and...
    [Out of nowhere, a cow carcass falls right into their campfire]
    [Everyone reacts in shock, and Terry starts firing his gun, despite it being loaded with blanks and carrying the highly visible Blank Firing Attachment]
    Cooper: Fuckin' cow!
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: They physically resemble the depiction established by The Howling. While transformed, they operate like a pack and are tactical. They transform during the full moon, but can resist the transformation if they wish, though apparently not until the night's end. Silver weapons don't kill them, but they do cancel out their Nigh-Invulnerability. When not harmed by silver, they're impervious to and recover from being pumped full of lead and having their faces scalded, but can be killed with lots of fire.
  • 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.
    • Also, judging from the screams we hear when the squad retreat from Ryans mangled camp, even people used to the transformation find it agonizing, being that the werewolf family are the only people in the area apart from the squad, so those screams must be them transforming.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
    Cooper: (to Ryan in werewolf form) You think it's all over? It is now. (BANG)
  • Precision F-Strike:
    Megan: Move your fucking arse, soldier!
    (A short while later)
    Spoon: I love it when a posh bird talks dirty!
  • Photos Lie: The Uath family photo. A couple embraces each other tenderly while the other three people look adorable or awkward, looking at each other, the camera, or somewhere else. This warm family photo belies the fact that the Uath's are the main werewolves in the film.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Megan and Captain Ryan were in contact before the movie. Ryan wanted to capture a werewolf for military purposes and Megan wants out of the pack. However, Ryan thought there was only one werewolf, so he only came prepared for one. Taken to another level in that he doesn't tell Sarge his men are bait and Ryan got confirmation that Sarge's men could be an acceptable loss.
  • Profane Last Words: Spoon, to the werewolf who is about to kill him:
  • Regret Eating Me: Spoon's last words, as quoted above.
  • Resist the Beast: Wells manages to resist his transformation just long enough to get Cooper to safety, before blowing up the house.
  • Rewatch Bonus: From her first scene, a lot of Megan's dialogue can be viewed in a different perspective. When she first pulls up, she asks if the soldiers are in the middle of a rescue mission. Watching the film a second time, she could be asking about her own rescue. The fact she wasn't hunting with the rest of the pack, but driving along the road, she was waiting for Ryan's mission to succeed and for the pack to pay for her 'adoption'. Likewise, her objection to the soldiers helping themselves to dinner in the cottage makes more sense—she knows it could be human meat and is trying to save them from eating it.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Bruce the corporal, and seemingly The Lancer to Sgt Wells, is the first to die at only thirty minutes in.
  • 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.
  • Sex Signals Death: The campers at the beginning get killed just as they're about to get busy.
  • Screaming Warrior: Spoon, during his Last Stand, as he prepares to smack a werewolf with a frying pan.
  • The Siege: The main point of the plot is a squad of soldiers being besieged by werewolves in a small cottage in the middle of nowhere.
  • Shoot the Dog: Averted when Cooper refuses to shoot a dog. Played straight when Ryan does it without batting an eye.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To Jaws, with Sarge sharing the tale of Eddie Oswald to the squad in a manner reminiscent of Quint telling about his traumatic experience with sharks after the USS Indianapolis sunk.
    • To Aliens, with the "Short, controlled bursts" line, the werewolves surprising the heroes by shutting the power down and Ryan planning capture one of the werewolves to be studied and militarized, just like how Burke attempted to do with the Xenomorph.
    • To Night of the Living Dead, with the heroes barricading the house to keep the monsters out, who attack by sticking their arms in through the planks of wood of the barricaded windows.
    • To The Company of Wolves when Joe asks Meg if werewolves have "eyebrows that join in the middle".
    • To Evil Dead, with the house in the woods setting, the use of Shaky P.O.V. Cam, fast editing, Black Humor, and one of the soldiers being named "Bruce Campbell".
    • To Predator, with the helicopter arrival, the Deliberate Monochrome night vision of the werewolves harkening back to the Yautja's infrared vision, and some of the music sounding similar to Alan Silvestri's iconic score.
    • Spoon brings up the Kobayashi Maru upon learning that his team was put in a no-win situation.
    • Spoon directly references Zulu when he compares their situation with the werewolves to the British Army's stand against the huge contingent of Zulu warriors.
    • Cooper claims that when they'll blow a fuse the barn is gonna "Go up like Zabriskie Point".
    • The characters named Sergeant Wells and Captain Ryan.
    • Sarge seems to be referencing Baby Bonnie Hood in the one-liner used as page quote.
    • "There is no Spoon!"
    • The Searchers gets a visual nod at the end.
  • 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 half-way Truth in Television. While cyanoacrylate glues weren't developed specifically for this purpose, the US Army did trial a Super Glue spray during the Vietnam War for (temporarily) closing a soldier's wounds until they could get him to a hospital. It was a failure in the field, at least partly because it tended to seal contaminants into the wound as well as closing it. Some people do use superglue to seal cuts; it does work, but it's not recommended if you've any other alternative available.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Subverted. Although sexual tension between Megan and Cooper escalates with them trading insults and barbs, she apologises and they remain civil to each other for the rest of the night.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Apart from one of the victims in the prologue, Megan is the only female in the movie. Though if you want to get technical, the werewolf family includes two females (judging by the photos).
  • Sole Survivor: Cooper, though it's worth noting the dog also survived alongside him.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Megan the seemingly well-spoken "posh bird" (as Spoon calls it) drops a few f-bombs and says "asshole" a couple of times.
  • Spam Attack: Spoon is very prone of performing a whole load of quick, vicious attacks with knives and hammers.
  • Spiteful Spit: Spoon does this to the werewolf that's about to eat him.
  • Steel Ear Drums:
    • Averted and referenced when Sarge fires an automatic gun in a cupboard. Before he fires, he tells Cooper to cover his ears and open his mouth specifically to avoid hearing damage.
    • Cooper also holds his hands over his ears as Sarge blows up the house. There's even a few seconds where he's trying to get his hearing back after the fact.
  • 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 focused.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: In the initial stages of their transformation, humans turning into werewolves have bright yellow eyes.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: The werewolves initially attract attention from the authorities after too many hikers go missing, and doing a poor job cleaning up the campsites of their victims.
  • Taking You with Me: Sarge blows up the house as he begins to transform, with the werewolves surrounding him.
  • Team Pet: Sam the dog.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Terry, suffering from a case of Genre Blindness. He stands with his back to an open window, bragging "Dogs? More like pussies", and of course gets carried off seconds later.
  • 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.
  • To Unmasque the World: It's a bit of a blink-and-you'll-miss-it in the film, but the Sarge tells Cooper to make sure the world knows what happened and gives him a roll of film with pictures of the werewolves on it before the Sarge pulls a Heroic Sacrifice and Cooper becomes the Sole Survivor barring Sam. The end credits indicate only a tabloid even pretended to take Cooper's story seriously.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Cooper and Megan. Her betraying the squad to the werewolves kind of put a damper on things.
  • Villain Ball:
    • Ryan's Establishing Character Moment. Regardless of testing and the establishing of themes (dogs are symbolic of soldier-like fidelity), questions WOULD have been asked about the military dog being shot at the beginning of the movie. Considering they are a valuable piece of military equipment, costing anywhere from $20-$40k to train in the UK, the willful and obvious destruction of military equipment during a TRAINING MANEUVER would have been badly frowned upon. Also, most dogs are considered higher rank than that of their handler. The culture of soldiers surrounding canine units would have probably gotten Ryan a demotion if not worse.note 
    • The Werewolves; all they had to do was steer clear of the military presence in the area (which they could have easily done with their Super Senses) and their presence would have gone unnoticed, Ryan's team would have dismissed the stories as bunk, and The Squad would have never encountered them and blew them all up, wiping out the pack, also a touch of Surprisingly Realistic Outcome for their activities before the film, if hitchhikers go missing in the same general area over a short period of time, someone will notice, along with their less-than-stellar cleanup of their attacks, they take the hitchhikers but leave their mangled campsites behind.
  • 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 Camera: 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?
  • World of Badass: Almost everybody in the film, from the soldiers down to the werewolves themselves are pretty much certifiable badasses who can and will go down fighting.
  • Worst News Judgement Ever: Inverted, as the headline about the squad is overshadowed by the result of an international football match. The dead squaddies probably would have understood.