Doghouse Review

The Film

There's a lot to be said for not pretending that human beings are better than they are. If you said that all we are about is consuming, reproducing and getting into late-night barnies outside chip shops, then I'd have to listen to you. If you wanted to point out that robbed of wars to fight in, other villages to pillage and animals to hunt, that the male of the species looks fairly redundant at times, I'd give you that. Yet the hoary idea that men are genetically programmed to be no better than faithless, violence junkies would disappoint me much as the thought that women are only happy if they are pointing out a man's failings or having power over him.

"If all women want is a pet, why don't they buy a fucking labrador"

Well Doghouse as a title refers to the status its male characters have once they go off on a leery weekend away from the "missus". In true horror movie style, the men's inappropriate urges are soon punished once they arrive at a rural village which they believe will have lots of lovely gals awaiting their romancing. The punishment is that their prey have all become killer zombies and are soon hunting our blokey blokes and their shrinking libidos.
So men chase tail, women complain and there's some zombies. With such elements, you might hope that Doghouse yields some humour, some sexiness, some thrills and some horror. Then you might read the cast list and wonder who are these people and how could they be less charismatic or talented than Danny Dyer. In fact, you might like to draw up a list of people with less talent than Danny Dyer the next time you nick yourself shaving because you might then have enough paper to stop the bleeding.

I am being a little insulting to the other actors here and I beg their forgiveness, but what kind of agent allows you to play second fiddle to DD. Lee Ingleby is a very good actor and his comic book nerd is probably the most likable performance here, but Lee get yourself better representation. Noel Clarke has directed interesting work like Adulthood and here he gets to play the ethnic best mate and to buffoon around like a low rent Chris Tucker. In fact on the Dyer front the only plus side I can dredge up is that he gets tortured - a lot.
Jake West's direction is all chummy mateyness, obvious framing, and endless borrowed mise-en-scene. This could be the fault of a script that has a single decent gag and plays it all ways in terms of satirising the sexism and homophobia whilst embracing those values as well, but I'd like to blame it on a director who doesn't seem to be able to build up an idea or develop a scene over time as his boredom kicks in before his concentration. This attempt to make a macho Shaun of the Dead fails, and anyone wanting a good British horror comedy should seek out last year's The Cottage instead for proof that we can make a decent flick in this vein.

Technical Specs

Sony's blu-ray release is seemingly all region but refused to play on my region A locked player(Panasonic DMP BD10A). The frame rate of the transfer is 24.00 per second and the bitrate of the AVC/MPEG-4 encode is around 30Mbps throughout. The image has a very fine dusting of grain which is much easier seen in darker sequences although the contrast is very good. Shadow detail is adequate and the presentation is sharp with good representation of the dim and often pastel color scheme of the film. This HD image is pretty impressive even if the visuals are not designed to show it off.
Now the sound offered is lossy, in a highish bit-rate 5.1 mix and a much less impressive stereo track. The surround track generates a bit of atmosphere, uses the score and effects well in the rears and the sides, but dialogue stays in the centre channel. It's surprising to not have a lossless option but there you go.

Special feature

In the making of documentary, Danny Dyer explains his passion for his craft and how he is "all about the script". Jake West tells how Dyer leads the company of actors and is "electric". And so on in terms of hierarchy we hear how each actor had to be part of this dream project, until the zombies when the talking is done by the more important, and male, members of the cast. The director does most of the talking, looking much like Howard Jones before his make-up or a misplaced Thompson Twin.

The deleted scenes include gags in a joke shop, a longer interrogation of the soldier and more transvesticism. The bloopers are filled with blokes fluffing their lines and swearing, but nothing that funny. Trailers, TV spots and picture galleries which are non navigable are what completes this package. The disc uses 24.6Gb and 20GB is the filesize for the transfer.


It's another movie that makes for a great poster and a 30 second description to a friend, but in reality it substitutes misogyny for humour and horror. A drunk rental for the undemanding cave dweller perhaps, but the fully evolved should find something better to do with their lives.

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