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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover



Starring: Danny Dyer, Stephen Graham, Lee Ingleby, Terry Stone and Noel Clarke
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: 18
Available 12 October 2009

There isn’t one of Vince’s friends who is having a good time with their other half’s, Vince himself is getting divorced. When the lads meet up they decide that it is time to get away from their respective partners for a lads weekend in the country. However their planned weekend of hedonism is cut short when the small village that they are heading for turns out to be full of psychotic man-hating female zombies...

Doghouse (2009 - 1 hr, 29 min) is a comedy directed by Jake West from a script from Dan Schaffer, staring some of the most recognisable young actors currently lodged in our psyche.

Following the success of Shaun of the Dead (2004) it’s a brave man who takes on the British comedy zombie movie as comparisons are inevitable. Where Shaun lampooned a subject it knew well, layering movie references between slices of comic genius, Doghouse goes for a much broader lads type movie. There are no new men in the film, rather the characters attitude towards women boarders on misogyny, which possibly explains the films tag line: ‘The battle of the sexes just got bloody’ - although my favourite is: ‘On the piss, on the pull, on the menu!’ If you like the last tag then this type of comedy is likely to be right up your alley.

Like most Zombie films, the actual plot is fairly simple. Get a group, stick them somewhere out of the way and watch them off zombies/cannibals in various and interesting ways, the funnier the better. Long gone are the days of Romero using the genre to comment on man as consumer and hunter, now we have ‘men are dicks and women naturally hate them’, not a very edifying message, but then I feel this film is best appreciated after a few beers and a strong stomach as West has ramped up the blood and gore to pleasurable levels.

As previously stated, the cast is a strong one even if they don’t really have to do anything apart from being ladish. Although Danny Dyer is the supposed lead, he remains the person who gives the weakest performance. Noel Clarke plays Mickey, possible a nod to his stint in Doctor Who, though here he is lamentably wasted as an actor. The acting crown has to go to Stephen Graham as Vince, though this is a bit unfair as he has played these sorts of roles for so long they must be second nature.

The comedy in the film is mostly of the mildly amusing type, rather than anything which will make you laugh out loud, although there are some nice set pieces - Banksy getting squashed and the general fun of killing the women with anything from golf balls to a makeshift flamethrower. The special effects are adequate for this type of movie, relying heavily on makeup. West keeps the pace nice and fast so you don’t get bored, and the cast all seem to be finding appearing in this no brainer a lot of fun, fun which seeps out of the screen.

The Blu-ray has a better picture than the film deserves, with a good deal of detail and pretty solid blacks. The audio is a lossless 5.1. The extras on the disc are the usual suspects, a ‘making of’ where everyone bigs up the film. There are some deleted scenes; bloopers (actors fluffing their lines); trailers; a picture gallery; and TV spots. It’s an okay selection but nothing which really uses the Blu-ray technology.

So, the film is best watched on a Saturday night with some mates and a few beers. It is unpretentious in its intentions to entertain something which it does quite well.


Charles Packer

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