Filmhounds Magazine

All things film – In print and online

Dog Soldiers (Limited Edition Review)

4 min read

Second Sight

It's been such a long time coming, hasn't it? But finally, 's release of is available. After teasing it for what seems like ages, miraculously finding original negatives to scan meaning they can release in 4k, and then pushing back the release date, changing the additional features, and keeping us all on the edge of our seats for… basically forever. Is it worth it?
Whether it is or not for you, comes down to how much you enjoy the film itself.

Our team of working class squaddies find themselves dumped in the Scottish Highlands the same weekend as a very important football game. They aren't happy about it, but in typical fashion they make the best of it, and power through their training exercise in good humour.

Our hero, Cooper (Kevin McKidd) has recently been rejected from special forces. But when they stumble across what's left of the SAS team they're up against, and the severely injured Ryan (Liam Cunningham), Sergeant Wells (Sean Pertwee) wastes no time in telling his squad that he expects nothing less than gratuitous violence from the lot of them.

Second Sight

They hole up in a remote farmhouse with a local zoologist (Emma Cleasby), and soon find that what they're up against is a bit more toothy and hairy than they anticipated.

This is one of those films that rests entirely on the strength of its script, and thankfully, it's incredibly strong. You immediately warm to the typical British working class humour of the team, despite the contrived nature of some of it. There is the odd line here or there that perhaps hasn't aged too well, a “time of the month” joke especially. But director and writer Neil Marshall has managed to draw such a varied and believable team of soldiers that it's easily forgiven.

The werewolves maybe don't look brilliant, but they are large enough in comparison to the soldiers that they at least present as a worthy foe. And what you have to bear in mind is that this was Marshall's first film, made with very little money, and very quickly. Every penny available to them is on screen, and it is used brilliantly.

Dog Soldiers itself is hard to beat when it comes to werewolf films, and the 4k scan does more than expected to improve the experience. There are details visible that you won't have seen before, especially if you've only seen the film on DVD. The scan looks beautiful and the small budget is again apparent as there are times when you can see the natural light change, altering the feel of a shot; moments of serendipity that improve the film in the best way.

The bonus features are perhaps where this release begins to lose it's way a touch. Though the content itself is brilliant, there is once again no sign of any subtitles. In terms of accessibility this is a shocking oversight and really they should be included for everything on the disc. In this day and age there's no excuse for it. Deaf people watch films, people who are hard of hearing watch films, and people with auditory and verbal processing disorders watch films. Many of them also enjoy the bonus features, the main selling point of these sorts of releases. They need subtitles.

Second Sight

The interview with Marshall is as always fascinating, the guy can talk for England and this is no exception. Gavin Baddeley and Mikel J. Coven provide an interview and a video essay respectively, both on the subject of werewolf cinema. However they both cover a lot of very similar content and the sound quality on Coven's video essay makes it very hard to follow. Once again, subtitles would make all the difference here.

It's understandable that there are perhaps some issues with this release, it's clearly been a messy process finally getting it out there. Second Sight have done their best with what they have, but compared to many of their other releases, it rests almost entirely on the film, rather than the package as a whole. If it was all to the same standard, it would easily be a 5 star release.

Special Features 

  • A new 4K restoration from the Original Camera Negative approved by Director Neil Marshall and Director of Photography Sam McCurdy
  • Features 4K UHD and Blu-ray with bonus features on both formats
  • 4K UHD presented in Dolby Vision HDR
  • Archive audio commentary by Director Neil Marshall
  • Archive audio commentary by Producers David E. Allen and Brian O'Toole
  • New audio commentary by writer and Associate Professor of Film Alison Peirse
  • Werewolves, Crawlers, Cannibals and More: a new 40-minute interview with Neil Marshall
  • A History of Lycanthropy: author Gavin Baddeley on Werewolf Cinema
  • Werewolves, Folklore and Cinema: a video essay by author Mikel J. Koven
  • Werewolves vs Soldiers: The Making of Dog Soldiers with Neil Marshall, Producers Christopher Figg and Keith Bell, Actors Sean Pertwee, Kevin McKidd, Darren Morfitt, Leslie Simpson and Emma Cleasby, Special Effects Artist Bob Keen and more!
  • A Cottage in the Woods: an interview with Production Designer Simon Bowles
  • Combat: a short film by Neil Marshall
  • Deleted Scenes and Gag Reel with optional commentary by Neil Marshall
  • Trailers and Photo Gallery
  • Optional English subtitles for the hearing impaired

Limited Edition Contents

  • Rigid slipcase with new artwork by Chris Malbon
  • 108 page book with new essays by Craig Ian Mann, Alison Peirse, Zoë Rose Smith, Anya Stanley, exclusive interview with Neil Marshall by Matthew Thrift, plus Behind the Scenes photos
  • 6 collectors' art cards

Dog Soldiers is available on Limited Edition 4k and Blu-ray from Second Sight now.