Doghouse (UK - BD)
Marcus joins the lads for a trip away and can't get the women to leave him alone
When a group of lads take their mate Vince (Stephen Graham) to the small village of Moodley to cheer him up for the weekend, they discover that their wish to be chased by all the women of the village may be too much for them to handle... especially considering that all the women of Moodley are infected with a new bio-weapon and suddenly crave the taste of flesh.
Upfront I wasn’t at all fussed about seeing this new Danny Dyer movie. For me, his one trick movie sell by date has passed with only the rather predictable return to good roles set to arrive when he hits his forties (oh come on we all know it’ll happen). Anyway, going into Doghouse, it was all rather predictably set up, with Dyer’s cockney dialogue ‘You slaaaag!’ and good old fashioned British geezers meeting down the pub for a piss up.
By the time we hit Moodley I have to admit I’d warmed to the small group of friends, which for a horror (or in this case comedy horror) is usually the failing that always undermines my enjoyment events. Everyone from the goofy-as-usual turn from Doctor Who star Noel Clark to the golf loving stress avoiding Keith-Lee Castle as Patrick brought their own chuckles to the mix. Strangely in the middle of it was Stephen Graham who provided a subtle and inward depiction of a crushed man on the verge of divorce, who through his experiences on this trip breaks out of his depressed funk and becomes one the lads again.
But what of the nasties on offer? Well the latest turn in the zombie/Infected sub genre is women or women with ‘bird flu’ as Dyer puts so poetically. All the women have devoured the men in the village and now inhabit the woods searching for fresh meat. So when our lads turn up oblivious to what’s occurred in the village, they become the next course. Here is where the enjoyment factor of Doghouse stepped up for me. Opting for a Gremlins 2 approach to the nasties, in that all of these women don obvious stereotype themes, such as the hairdresser (armed with scissors) the school girls (in uniform) and the lollypop lady (armed with her stop sign), these crazy, over the top infected girls get straight to the point and just put a smile on my face.
As the movie plods on at a nice pace it becomes quite plain that this isn’t about scares as much as it is about having fun (and torturing Danny Dyer’s character’s left hand as much as possible). This all feels like boys at play with the handmade water gun flame throwers, a decapitated head on remote control cars to lure the women away and yet another Star Wars nod (there have been so many in 2009) with a toy lightsaber featured in a toy shop standoff. Everything slips into running to the next location and escaping the next female stereotype (infected of course) and as much as the cynical side of me could bad mouth just how one note this is, I can’t deny that I had plenty of fun with it from start to finish, even if there was nothing extraordinary about it.
The transfer here is pretty flawless even if the colour palette is a little bland. The image immediately impresses with its clean crisp picture and natural lighting and while the general look of the movie never really changes from scene to scene, it remains consistent with only a slight softness.
Black levels can feel a little washed out in places, but all things considered and seeing that this is a movie that generally arrived under the radar with no aspirations for becoming the next big thing, you couldn’t really ask for much more and it looks better than a lot of bigger well known comedies.
Generally the Dolby Digital 5.1 track on offer here does what is required without showing off too much. All of the dialogue is crisp and clear and the nasties’ blood curdling moans and blood sprays all sound good.
Where the track really shines is with its use of bass. It’s all very impressive in the scenes that count, with axe chops and lollypop lady signs impacting with a nice bit of power. Some of the scenes with the women trying to get into the shops that the boys have hidden in sit well in the rear speakers and the whole speaker system shows off with the dolphin alarm (that apparently only the women can hear) in the closing scenes.
The only extra feature of note here is the ‘Making of’ (41:22 SD). It’s very generic for these low budget affairs, with a few laughs and behind the scenes hi-jinks. Accompanying it are about three minutes of deleted scenes and a blooper reel (08:08 SD).
Finishing off there’s a trailer, alternative trailer, two TV spots, a stills gallery and a pre-production gallery, which features some nice comic book style designs for the infected women.
All a bit typical while being a whole lot of fun, Doghouse is an easy and enjoyable way of spending ninety minutes. It’s goofy and crammed with plenty to smirk at, but when compared to the likes of Shaun of the Dead (which is happening a lot) it’s a pale comparison.
The disc itself is generally good in both audio and video departments, and while not crammed with features I’d say there was enough to be happy with. This one is totally worth a rent as an alternative change of pace to the more obvious Halloween choices if only for the charming approach from its cast and goofy nasties.
* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 18 years and over
Release Date: 12th October 2009
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo English
Subtitles: English HoH
Extras: Making of Documentary, Deleted Scenes. Blooper Reel. TV Spots. Photo Galleries
Easter Egg: No
Director: Jake West
Cast: Danny Dyer, Stephen Graham Lee Ingleby, Terry Stone, Noel Clarke
Genre: Comedy and Horror
Length: 88 minutes
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