- The relentless realism prevents you from laughing it off unless you are a sadist.
- Two stray dogs had been captured and sold to a laboratory which experimented on animals. One of these experiments for some reason involved dropping a dog into a pool full of water and timing how long he was able to paddle until he started drowning. That's the first shot of the movie!
- The scene in which the dogs sneak out of the lab to escape shows them walking past the other animals who were having horrible experiments done on them. Most shocking of all were the monkeys. The fact the monkeys have electrodes planted into their heads makes it unlikely they are being used for breeding, but equally horrific invasive brain research.
- There's a scene where a nice man (named Ephraim in the novel), going hunting, befriends one of the starving dogs only to accidentally shoot himself in the face. Quite messily.
- The creepy music that plays as the man bleeds to death.
- The film doesn't shy away from gore in the slightest. The most infamous scene above aside, the dogs graphically kill and eat lambs — the nightmarishly detailed carcasses visible after — and eat the corpse of a man sent to kill them after the Tod trips him off a death, and (in some versions) with a good closeup of the half-eaten corpse afterwards.
- Plague Dogs was also subject to Misaimed Marketing, with the poster◊ featuring the tagline "Escape to A Different World... And Share The Adventure Of A Lifetime".
- ("A SPECIAL KIND OF MOVIE MAGIC From The Creators Of Watership Down.")
- A deeply painful example, coupled with Tear Jerker and tapping right into victim psychology. Not only does the story bookend with fear of drowning, Rowf's internal struggle is shown to be shockingly realistic. As Rowf seeks Snitter, he ponders the meaning of life and how all-consumingly his decisions were driven by hatred of men and fear of being drowned again... and that he actually loves men, even the whitecoats, and has an innate desire to be in the drowning tank because he just wants to be a good dog, literally because they seem to want to abuse him and so he wants to let them. Good argument for trigger warnings.
Nightmare Fuel / The Plague Dogs
The animated film is Grave of the Fireflies with dogs. See it here.