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4K UHD Review: Scream Factory’s Dog Soldiers (Collector’s Edition) 


Neil Marshall’s highly entertaining debut feature Dog Soldiers gets a 4K UHD upgrade from Scream Factory.

The Film 

Some movies just click instantly when you watch them.  In the early 00’s Neil Marshall’s debut feature was just that sort of movie.  I still remember the hype around the film before seeing it.  Also the feeling of the film delivering on the promise.  

Marshall’s film is a simple setup.  A group of British Soldiers are out on a weekend exercise when they quickly realize they are not alone and are being hunted by something.  That “something” is a pack of werewolves.  Enter shady Military Special Forces dude and plucky research graduate student for good measure.  It becomes a fight for survival as the twist and turns keep coming until the end.

Oftentimes mixtape films do not work for me.  The homages are homages but just rip-offs stitched together with the bares amount of bondo and tape.  There has to be some degree of skill to make these types of films work. Writer/Director Neil Marshall delivers the goods and creates a film that doesn’t feel like a cinematic mixtape/ripoff. Rather Dog Soldiers is a cheeky blend of multiple genres to create a heady brew of A-List entertainment created from B-Level origins.  

Part monster movie.  Part military action thriller.  Part Siege film.  Dog Soldiers understands that it can be all these things at once and has to be all these things.  Marshall makes everything count and approaches it with a seriousness that respects the material.  We’re going to laugh and cheer if you respect the characters and audience.  This is something that separates Dog Soldiers from lesser movies that attempt this same sort of riff on Aliens/Men on Mission films in general.  

The film is helped tremendously by casting a trio that have become cornerstones each in British acting.  Kevin McKidd as the defacto lead Cooper is as lean and hungry to show he’s just as much a star as the rest of his Trainspotting Cast.  Here feels like a dry run for the kind of elevated work he would later do in Rome.  Sean Pertwee steals the entire show as the gruff Sargent and leader of the weekend soldiers.  Pertwee’s work here is equal parts badass and hilarious – the entire “super glue” scene and the aftermath are ingeniously funny.  Liam Cunningham as the shady Special Forces operator is the right amount of menace and intelligence that would make him a staple of not just BBC series but a Cable mainstay in the US (of course who could forget him as Davos in Game of Thrones).  

It isn’t just the acting but every piece of the production from the camera work by Sam McCurdy, the editing by Marshall himself, the practical FX work by Bob Keen, and smart use of location and old-school VFX trickery that make Dog Soldiers a classic. Classic on the same level as Dead Alive and The Evil Dead.  

Yeah, Dog Soldiers that fucking good, mate.  If you haven’t seen it… what are you doing?  Go, now!  Buy it, watch it, and enjoy the fuck out of it!!!! 

The Transfer 

Dog Soldier’s 4K UHD upgrade is nothing short of astounding.  For twenty years, the film has looked “okay” in the various iterations on home video. Most recently it looked great on Scream Factory’s Blu-Ray release back in 2018.  That said… this new 4K Restoration from the Original Camera Negative by Second Sight Films – approved by Director Neil Marshall and Director Of Photography Sam McCurdy – Presented In Dolby Vision is a game changer.  Having watched the film multiple times over the years, this is as good as it’s looked even theatrically (having seen it twice – once at the Hollywood Egyptian and the other at the New Bev).  There’s a clarity to the image that makes everything feel more urgent.  The color production and contrast levels are the biggest upgrades.  Yes, it’s a darker image but the range of that color and contrast is greater giving us a more verbose image.  In this iteration on home video, Dog Soldiers looks better than it ever has.  Bravo!!! 

Very Important Note: the new transfer is included on both the 4K UHD and Blu-Ray.

The Extras 

They include the following;


  • Audio Commentary With Writer And Associate Professor Of Film Alison Peirse
  • Audio Commentary With Director Neil Marshall
  • Audio Commentary With Producers David Allen And Brian O’Toole

The Extras 

They include the following;


  • Audio Commentary With Writer And Associate Professor Of Film Alison Peirse
  • Audio Commentary With Director Neil Marshall
  • Audio Commentary With Producers David Allen And Brian O’Toole

The first commentary track is an all-new track with Writer and Film Professor Alison Peirse.  Beginning with her credentials as an author of books After DraculaKorean Horror Cinema, and her outright love of Dog Soldiers.  Some of the details include the film’s closeness to Slasher films – which she returned to quite often but very effectively, and the film’s obsession with the male body – another discussion point that is effectively discussed throughout, Cooper (McKidd’s character) as the “final girl”, a historical account – including quotes from literature – of werewolf lore including her own book After Dracula, referencing to the forgotten classic The Werewolf of London (not American Werewolf in London) – which is also discussed throughout, the way that the critical community has written about the film was presentative of Scotland – includes references and quotes, the way the film’s set up and payoffs occur through the film, and much more.  Peirse gives us an excellent commentary track that is by turns deeply and thoroughly researched – including quotes from various sources – and entertaining giving us a better understanding of the film from a thematical point of view.  A perfect counterpoint to Marshall’s archival commentary track that’s included here.  

The second track is the archival one provided by writer/director Neil Marshall.  Ported over from the original Scream Factory Blu-ray release this one is a winner.   Beginning with the origins of the film came about while filming Killing Time.  Marshall is brutally honest about the production, his direction, the acting, and those that helped and didn’t help bring this one to the big screen.  Some of the details include the struggles with financing in the UK, the initial casting of McKidd’s part by Jason Statham – how he dropped out, the various cast and crew including Liam Cunningham and Sean Pertwee, the low quality of the original DVD, and the film elements missing and a story of how they got the film prints eventually and produced for the Blu-ray edition – this was recorded in 2018, the character of “Eddie Oswald” through all his films, the budget of the film and how it was lower budget at the time and how the budget was in fact bigger now – in 2018 – than previously because the advent of technology and change in production, the “super glue” scene and where it came from, Simon Pegg passing on the film because Shawn of the Dead, the various references in the film that are hidden and not so hidden, the alternate end credit sequence he wanted to do inspired by The Great Escape, and much more. 

The final commentary track is ported over from the first DVD release of Dog Soldiers featuring producers David Allen and Brian O’Toole. The track is a light affair with some of the production discussed secondhand as Allen and O’Toole were a part of the co-financing. 


  • Werewolves, Crawlers, Cannibals And More – An 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 – A Look At The Making Of DOG SOLDIERS 
  • A Cottage In The Woods – A Look At The Production Design With Production Designer Simon Bowles
  • UK Theatrical Trailers And U.S. Home Video Promo
  • Combat – A Short Film By Neil Marshall
  • Two Still Galleries – Photos From The Film And Rare Photos From Production Designer Simon Bowles And Special Effects Artist Dave Bonneywell’s Archives

Note: the Blu-Ray contains all three commentary tracks that are on the 4K UHD disc. 

Werewolves, Crawlers, Cannibals and More (38:26) – is an all-new interview with Writer/Director Neil Marshall.  The interview is a career overview of sorts with Marshall talking about his origins and moving through his career.  Some of the details include where he found his love of film and specifically horror films,  his early childhood as a young filmmaker and friendships with other fellow like-minded kids, his time trying to get into film by way of editing, how the lack of UK film industry begat his first film production Killing Time, how that first production began the seeds of Dog Soldiers, the inspirations, challenges, and development of the script, the starts and stops with trying to get financing, the idea for sequels that never happened, discussion of making The Descent, a discussion of making Doomsday – and the criticism of the film, his work on Sherlock Holmes (the Guy Ritchie film), the failure of Doomsday and the lessons learned, a discussion of making Centurion, how Slum Dog Millionaire affected his work and financing then leading to his work directing the Season 2 Finale of Game of Thrones, discussion of Hellboy and his very honest opinion of its failure, and much more.  

A History of Lycanthropy (33:21) – is an all-new interview with author Gavin Baddeley on Werewolf Cinema and more.  Beginning with setting the stage in the UK through the 1970s and 1980s with horror and sets the stage for this very interesting interview by Baddeley.  This featurette is a deep dive into the context in which the werewolf debuts in literature, the stage – places like the Gran Grigol in Paris and eventually film going through the history of the Lycans as it dovetails into the version of them in Dog Soldiers using various takes from the cannon of filmic werewolves.  The featurette covers the various details of the history of not just werewolves but horror and other giants of the subgenre like American Werewolf in London and the ties to Dog Soldiers

Werewolves, Folklore, and Cinema (23:24) – is an all-new Video Essay By Author Mikel J. Koven about the history of the Werewolves, the real-life history, and the folklore surrounding the beast.  A companion piece of sorts to Baddeley’s interview.  This polished and beautiful video essay references – visually – the history that Koven is speaking of.  The essay is deeply researched, giving us great context to Werewolves in history both real life and “fakelore” (a great term Koven uses for the paranoia through history that has been created) and in literature/film (including a great account of Universal’s monster movies – specifically the Werewolves during that golden era of Monster Movies).  

Werewolves Vs. Soldiers (61:05) – is an archival feature-length documentary on the making of Dog Soldiers is a great deep dive into the development, production, release, and rise as a cult classic of the genre.  This glossy, well-produced making of covers all aspects of the making of this cult classic.  This isn’t just talking heads; the documentary manages to edit in so much visual reference makes it very much the feature-length docs we were used to during the Golden age of DVD content.  Everything is covered in detail from how Marshall and Bell came up with the idea for Dog Soldiers, the six-year-long journey to find financing and secure everything needed to make the film, the development of the script, the production, the FX work – the make-up, visual FX and more, the release of the film, and the cult that has grown around the film.   All done with an honesty that only more than two decades can give you. This is the crown jewel of the special features on this disc.  Featuring comments by Director Marshall, Producers Christopher Figg and Keith Bell, Actors Kevin McKidd, Sean Pertwee, Darren Morfitt, Leslie Simpson and Emma Cleasby, Special Effects Artist Bob Keen, and others!  

A Cottage in The Woods (13:26) – is an archival interview with Production Designer Simon Bowles discussing his work on the production.  Some of the details include what he referenced to create the cottage that the film primarily takes place in, the work that he did as a production designer, the building of the sets, his reference models and how they worked, and much more.  There are some great references like his mockup for the sets, production stills, and more.  

Theatrical Trailers (5:02) – 5 trailers that include a US home video ad, and 5 UK trailers, which cannot be played individually but can be searched through the Next and Back chapter stop buttons on your remote.  

Combat (7:37) – is a short film by Neil Marshall.  A group of men on a Friday night at the local pub.  Marshall’s clever film uses zero dialog but rather War Film sound FX to show the various men and their various trials, tribulations, defeats, and of course victories.  

Still Galleries 

Dog Soldiers Photo Gallery (4:57) – is a gallery consisting of 59 production stills, behind-the-scenes photos, and posters.  The gallery can play automatically or can be navigated by using your Remote’s Next and Back chapter stop buttons.  

Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery (4:30) – is a gallery consisting of 26 stills of various behind-the-scenes photos taken by Production Designer Simon Bowles And Special Effects Artist Dave Bonneywell’s Archives.  This gallery is a bit different as there is a visual text that pops up to explain some of the shots.  The gallery can play automatically – and does have selections of the score by Mark Thomas – or can be navigated by using your Remote’s Next and Back chapter stop buttons.  

The Final Thought 

Dog Soldiers gets a 4K UHD edition by Scream Factory that may be the ultimate edition of this cult classic.  HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATIONS!!!  

Scream Factory’s 4K UHD edition of Dog Soldiers is out now 

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