I had no real intention of watching this film, but after talking to Darran over at foxxiecinnamon’s blog about the film Kill List and Neil Maskell (who I said made me think of a “posh-er” Danny Dyer); Darran said that the two had worked together in the film Doghouse and here we are.
I decided I needed to give the film a go and I’m glad I did. I rather unfairly judged it before I watched it; thinking that it would be yet another rip-off of Shaun of the Dead.
I was wrong.
It was another variation of a theme. Zombies in rural England, but with a difference; these zombies were women and part of a military experiment that made them faster and smarter as the virus mutated. Of course the biggest difference was that our “heroes” travelled to the zombies. They just didn’t turn up on their proverbial doorstep.
Directed by Jake West (Evil Aliens) who is better known in the industry as a documentary film maker and editor and written by Dan Shaffer who appears to have just started in the business; the film is a “buddy picture” where we follow a group of London lads who have planned a long-weekend of fun for their recently divorced mate.
The cast list is impressive:
Stephen Graham (This is England, Boardwalk Empire)
Danny Dyer (The Football Factory, The Business)
Noel Clark (AdULTHOOD, KiDULTHOOD)
Emil Warwa (East is East, West is West)
Christina Cole (Casino Royale, Hex)
Terry Stone (Rollin’ with the Nines, Bonded by Blood)
Neil Maskell (Kill List, Basic Instinct 2)
Plus a long list of other familiar English actors.
The plot centres on Vince (Graham) and his six mates. Vince is getting divorced and it has crushed the life out of him. His mates are all in relationships that have gone sour (except for Neil (Dyer) who thinks he is God’s gift to women and brags that women cannot resist him) who band together to get Vince out of London.
Mikey (Clark) has set the group up to spend a long weekend at Moodly, where the women outnumber the men 4 to 1. The plan is to get drunk (aka hammered), get laid, and for Vince to re-discover his love of life. As the men wait for Banksy (Maskell) their driver show up.
The driver, a woman called Ruth, (Cole) says it is time to go and Neil dubs her Candy. She accepts the “temporary” name change and they leave without Banksy assuming that he will catch up with them later. On the way, Candy asks why on earth the lads want to go to Moodly. She describes it as a place at the end of the road and a real dump with no redeeming features.
They arrive at theMoodly public car park and the place looks deserted. They get out and Mikey goes to his Nan’s house which is being redecorated while she is on holiday and the lads intend to stay there for the weekend. The rest go to the pub but Patrick goes back to the bus to get Candy and their gear, which includes a bag of their mobile phones.
After waiting to be served in the pub and not seeing any bar staff, they all go outside. A teenage female “hoodie” attacks them and a soldier comes out of nowhere brandishing a huge knife and he tries to stab the girl. The men fight him off and he is trying to explain that things aren’t what they seem.
After they incapacitate him, the teenage girl’s face is revealed and her features are grey, drawn and savage. Her eyes are red and she is clearly not normal. While taking this in, more women appear all in varying forms of “zombie-like” appearance. Running back to the bus the lads find that Candy has now turned into a zombie and they cannot get back on.
This film was entertaining and it did pay a little homage to other films in the genre. Some of the men dress as women to fool the female zombies a la Shaun of the Dead’s zombie masquerade. A few other nods and winks were scattered through the film.
It is fast paced and Dyer seemed to enjoy playing a part that poked fun at his usual roles. All the actors did a good job although they did have a tendency to “mug-it-up” a bit. Most of them, though, played it straight and that helped to sell the film.
Neil Maskell as Banksy has less screen time than anyone in the main cast with only the odd cameo role being shorter. Still as a last-minute possible rescuer he did well. The film ended on an amusing cliff hanger and the laughs, though not of the belly shaking variety did keep coming.
Stereotypes were catered to and used to a good extent though the entire film and despite the fictional village of Moodly looking like a fictional village the film works overall. Most of the female zombies wore high-heeled “hooker” shoes and used “female” weapons, with the exception of the axe welding “bride.”
If you don’t expect Shakespeare or a serious message film, you will most likely enjoy Doghouse. It is available on Netflix and definitely worth a look.
- Junk Shiryōgari (2000): Yakuza, Robbers and Zombies (mikesfilmtalk.com)
- Danny Dyer on One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (telegraph.co.uk)
- ‘Run For Your Wife’ Premiere Sees Danny Dyer, Denise Van Outen And Sarah Harding On Red Carpet (Pictures) (contactmusic.com)
- The 2012 Horror Film Awards (Feature) (popmatters.com)
- Do zombies experience consciousness? (io9.com)