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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, if you could call it that. Notable in that while it has the appearance (and premise) of being a campy, bad werewolf film, it neatly subverts all expectations to become quite a good representation of the genre done right, with liberal doses of wit, humor and genuine awesomeness.
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.
- Actually Played for Laughs - the music piece is Clair de lune, which is "moonlight" in French. Not to mention werewolves howling like a choir in the background.
- Aerosol Flamethrower: Wells uses this on a werewolf towards the end.
- 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 Normal points for taking on a werewolf pack with guns, kitchen utensils and improvised explosives
- 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.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: "Spiders. And women. And... spider-women."
- Brick Joke: The "there is no Spoon" joke is about 80 minutes between setup (when you first hear his name) and punchline.
- Also the England v. Germany football match. See Worst News Judgement Ever.
- Bullethole Door: "Open your mouth, cover your ears, mind your toes."
- California Doubling: Set in Scotland, filmed in Luxembourg.
- Catch Phrase: Ryan says "Live and learn" a few times.
- Cow Scare
- Chekhov's Gun: The silver letter opener.
- Chewing the Scenery: Ryan loves to do this.
- Cluster F-Bomb: The entire film probably counts.
- Deadpan Snarker: Ryan. Megan also has her moments.
- Danger Takes a Backseat: How poor Joe meats his end. At least he fights it like a man.
- Death by Sex: The campers at the beginning get killed just as they're about to get busy.
- Developing Doomed Characters: A rare case where this trope is pulled off with success.
- Development Hell: The sequel seems to be stuck here.
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Spoon's epic performance with the flares.
- 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.
- Establishing Character Moment: Ryan shoots a dog in the head in the first few minutes of the film, just because he can.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Wells is usually just referred to as "Sarge".
- Eyes of Gold: In the initial stages of their transformation, humans turning into werewolves have bright yellow eyes.
- Famous Last Words:
- 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.
- Fetish: "I love it when a posh bird talks dirty!"
- 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.
- Gorn: Buckets of it.
- Gory Discretion Shot: The deaths of campers at the beginning, as well as the death of Joe.
- 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!
- Heroic Sacrifice: Sergeant Wells.
- If You're So Evil, Shoot This Dog
- 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.
- 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.
- It Can Think: The werewolves, natch. Except for Megan, everyone initially considers them savage animals, but their behavior quickly proves them wrong.
- It Got Worse: Does it ever.
- Kick the Dog: Captain Ryan is this kind of person, shooting a dog in his first scene simply because he can.
- Kill'Em All: Cooper and Sam are the only characters to survive.
- Last Stand: Spoon.
- 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 the wrong 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.
- Nigh Invulnerability: The werewolves.
- 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, so what tasted like pork...
- Off with His Head: Terry.
- 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.
- 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.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
Cooper: (to Ryan in werewolf form) You think it's all over? It is now. (BANG)
Megan: Move your fucking arse, soldier!
- Rated "M" for Manly
- Regret Eating Me: Spoon's Famous Last Words.
- Resist the Beast: Wells manages to resist his transformation just long enough to get Cooper to safety, before blowing up the house.
- Screaming Warrior: Spoon, during his Last Stand, as he prepares to smack a werewolf with a frying pan.
- Shout-Out: Sergeant Wells, "There is no Spoon.", Private Bruce Campbell, the page quote, "Short, controlled bursts", Zulu (both the film and the battle it was based on), "They've fixed it so we can't win!It's the Kobyashi Maru!", The Searchers gets a visual nod at the end... Lots, in short.
- 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.
- Sole Survivor
- Taking You with Me: Sarge.
- Team Pet: Sam.
- Too Dumb to Live: The Spec Ops team that lured the protagonists there as bait qualify. They have equipment to capture a werewolf and live weapons... loaded with regular ammo. YOU KNOW YOU'RE HUNTING WEREWOLVES, WHY DON'T YOU HAVE SILVER BULLETS? They get themselves eaten off-camera. Admittedly, silver ammunition may not be available, but still, their weapons? Submachineguns, one semi-auto rifle, and a shotgun. No machine guns, assault rifles, grenades, or other powerful weapons.
- They were suppose to catch a werewolf, not to kill it. That's why they take all the "safari stuff". The real guns were most likely just to have something in case of trouble. Not that they have a chance to shot a single bullet, as stated in film.
- Arguably Terry as well. (See Genre Blindness above.)
- 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 again.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Cooper and Megan. Her betraying the squad to the werewolves kind of put a damper on things.
- 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.
- We Could Have Avoided All This: All of Ryan's planning and preparations apparently relied on the belief that there was only one werewolf in the woods. Needless to say, he was wrong.
- 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.
- Wham! Line: "They were always here. I just unlocked the door."
- What Could Have Been: Jason Statham was originally cast as Cooper, but dropped out of the production to do The Transporter instead. In addition, a sequel was planned, Fresh Meat, seeing Cooper encountering the American team his section was to have exercises with, as more werewolves emerge.
- 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?
- Worst News Judgement Ever: Inverted, as the headline about the squad is overshadowed by the result of an international football match.
- X Meets Y: Basically it's Night of the Living Dead meets The Howling.