Howl

A few new tricks, but still the same old dog.

DOG SOLDIERS

directed by Neil Marshall

runs Oct. 25-Nov. 2 at Grand Illusion

LYCANTHROPY ISN'T what it used to be. Buffy and her ilk have made werewolves passÚ«áVampires now dominate horror on film and TV. The undead are sexy. Werewolves are mangy. They radiate fleas, not eroticism. So leave it to a scrappy band of British filmmakers to try to reanimate the old pelt. Raise a full moon over Scotland, add a few lost G.I.s, and what've you got? A reasonably funny, violent scare picture that's still begging from the table of Aliens and Night of the Living Dead.

An ass-kicking Scottish grunt named Cooper takes charge of his squad once the fierce, fanged marauders interrupt their war games in the remote hill country. There's a supercilious British special-forces officer with a grudge against Cooper who barely survives one massacre; then the entire company holes up in a cottage with a comely zoologist, Megan. Outside, the werewolves howl for blood. "I expect nothing less than gratuitous violence," says Cooper's sergeant prophetically.

He's right. A few limbs are chopped off; both humans and werewolves are impaled; entrails are Superglued back into place. Pots, pans, and electric turkey-carving knives are also put to defensive use. At one point, a soldier vainly tosses a stick and says "Fetch" to forestall his fate.

None of this approaches the droll level of An American Werewolf in London, which was just shown as part of the Grand Illusion's October werewolf series (the menses-themed Ginger Snaps continues through this week). Vampires get to be funny, sexy, and scary because they can talk. Werewolves, by contrast, aren't so good with the witty banter, which probably makes them an endangered species.

bmiller@seattleweekly.com

 
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