YEAR RELEASED: 2009
DIRECTOR: Jake West
CAST: Noel Clarke, Stephen Graham and Danny Dyer
ANDREW GARVEY reviews the 2009 Zombie-splatfest Doghouse
In an effort to help their mate Vince forget his recent divorce, six of his closest friends join him on a lad’s weekend in the countryside. A barely planned, ill-considered outing whose destination is chosen because the village boasts three women to every man, things goes awry when they arrive to discover the place deserted. Except that is, for the biologically altered man-hating cannibal zombie women.
The film’s biggest name Danny Dyer is often described as someone you either love or hate. This isn’t quite inaccurate. The character he always, and I mean always, portrays is either someone you think would be a laugh in the pub or someone you think should be dropped out of a helicopter somewhere over the Pacific Ocean wearing a big sign that says ‘Attention: Sharks, I Taste Good’. Here, he spends much of the film running around making sexist jokes, with a serious stab wound to the hand that he seems to forget all about within about two minutes. In short, he’s a bit of a tool.
The rest of the cast will likely be familiar to most who’ve watched a British comedy, action, crime or horror film in the last few years. Stephen Graham (Vince) is by far the best of them and is well known for his roles in Snatch, This Is England and acclaimed HBO TV series Boardwalk Empire. Noel Clarke had a recurring role in Dr. Who and is a prolific, respected writer while Neil Maskell starred in 2011’s innovative and disturbing shocker, Kill List. Between them, the seven male characters do a convincing job of being matey, blokey, scared and largely incompetent, until they pull themselves together and discover there’s more to friendship than being mean to each other.
On release, some critics complained that it borrowed ideas from the vastly superior Shaun of the Dead but anyone expecting total originality from a zombie film will be disappointed, and should have been on a near-perpetual basis since the late ‘60s when Night of the Living Dead laid down so many of the genre’s ‘rules’.
There’s nothing even vaguely scary but there are some decent jokes, some very gory sequences and the whole thing is about as boneheaded, sexist and laddish as a modern horror film gets. There’s nothing complicated here. Doghouse, is simply a survival horror splatter comedy romp that’s as fun to watch as it is entirely forgettable.