Dog Soldiers

Starring: Sean Pertwee, Kevin McKidd and Liam Cunningham
Fox Pathé
Certificate: 15
Available now

A squad of British soldiers on a routine training exercise in the Scottish highlands stumble upon Captain Ryan, the sole survivor of a Special Operations team that has been literally torn to pieces. Ryan refuses to reveal the secrets of his mission, even though whatever ate his men is keen for second helpings...

A slightly washed-out colour scheme and documentary-style hand-held camerawork lend this movie a sense of gritty reality. At least, it does to begin with.

Then things turn outrageously gory, in a Bad Taste sort of way, when the werewolves attack, blood sprays everywhere, and Sergeant Wells (Sean Pertwee) struggles to keep his escaping guts in place! How this gruesome film ever got away with its 15 certificate I will never know! Further darkly comic moments include the scene in which Private Cooper (Kevin McKidd) and zoologist Megan (Emma Cleasby), who teams up with the soldiers, attempt to operate on the drunken Wells.

Other examples of the genre are alluded to by the writer/director Neil Marshall. For instance, as in An American Werewolf in London, the favoured explanation for beastly activities proclaimed by the locals is the old standby of the escaped lunatic.

Budgetary limitations mean that we rarely see the monsters up close, but this remains an impressive British movie - except for the fact that the final twist regarding the werewolf clan is not explained very clearly at all (or am I just being thick?). That aside, however, Dog Soldiers can be considered a howling success.

Chris Clarkson