Man’s Best Friend: The Breed (2006)
I really like that poster. Not so much the tagline, because it’s easy for dogs to smell fear (smells like poo), but that’s a fucking fantastic poster image. It’s just ripe for a load of tasteless doggy style jokes that I will, thankfully, hold back from. Anyhoo, I’m back in the kennel having a look at one of the more recent Killer Dog films. This time, it’s Wes Craven produced The Breed, a less than auspicious entry from 2006.
May contain happy dogs with their tails wagging and spoilers.
This is, and I know this is not going to come as a shock, not a very good film. I’m starting to think that it’s actually not as easy as it sounds to do a good Killer Dog film. Man’s Best Friend is a hilarious mess of a film, and Cujo benefits from having ridiculously strong source material. However, this is the second out of 4 films that I’m not over the moon about. I genuinely think that Cujo should be the model for almost all of these type of films- in that I mean that less is genuinely more more often than not.
In this instance, we’re introduced to Nicki, John, Sara, Matt and Noah (Michelle Rodriguez, Oliver Hudson, Taryn Manning, Erik Lively and Hill Harper respectively). They’re flying a seaplane out to Matt and John’s island (yes, you did read that properly. Talk about a way to make me totally lose sympathy for the characters in the first seconds of the film) for some hard-core partying. Helping out even less in the likeability stakes is that 3 (minimum) of these 5 characters are utter dickheads as well, with Noah in particular begging to be fed to a pack of angry dogs. Feet first, so he can watch himself die, naturally. Anyhoo, on arrival it’s clearly time to party on Garth!
Right, apologies for that, but I’m struggling with this review. Basically, this is the plot from here on in: a cunning puppy lures Sara into an ambush and she’s bitten. Luckily, she manages to escape and make it back to the house. Instead of getting the fuck out of dodge, our group of douchebags decide to stay behind and party. Let me just make this clear- she’s been bitten, and instead of getting her medical treatment (a rabies shot) they think the best plan of action is to hang around. Anyhow, next day, they find themselves in a terrible battle of survival against a pack of feral and far too intelligent dogs. Why are the pooches so bright? Because grandpa/ uncle/ cunt that owned the island has been injecting them with a modified form of rabies. So who will survive the battle with the supercharged pack of feral bastards (hint: Noah may as well be called Token)?
This film is shite. It’s got a number of huge problems. The cast are all really quite accomplished, if too old for their parts, and Rodriguez tries really hard with a frankly awful role as Nicki. This is the problem, really, it’s the writing. To start with, I don’t like these characters at all. In fact, I can honestly say that I really, really hate them. The least hateful of them, Sara, has to spend 2/3 of the movie faking rabies and having telepathic moments with the dogs (yes, you did read that correctly) whereas the rest of them are just colossal fucking arseholes. The dialogue is even worse, and there’s a frankly interminable scene with Matt and John arguing because John is a fuck up and Matt feels robbed that he never got the chance to fuck up or some such utter drivel. John, actually, is such a ginormous penis that I half expect him to vomit torrents of jizz on to the floor if someone strokes his back. Not to mention that the fucker is so incompetent that he accidentally supplies the biggest laugh in the film when he mistakenly shoots Nicki in the leg with a bow and arrow aiming at a dog. Nice one, cockwomble. As for Noah, every single time he opens his mouth it’s to be a prick. I spent the entire film wanting to punch him, and let out a small cheer when he finally got eaten by the pack.
Talking about the pack, they aren’t great either. The first problem is that there’s fucking loads of them, and secondly, they’re all mixed breeds. This shouldn’t matter, but as they’ve assembled a pack, they’ve blundered into a problem: getting a group of dogs to behave isn’t as easy as it sounds. To get round this, they’ve cast very well trained but clearly very friendly dogs. So, every time we’ve got a scene where a dog is about to chomp on someone, we can see a happy Labrador wagging his tail and jumping up and down. This is particularly apparent in the scene with Rodriguez crossing the wire, when we get many aerial shots of the dogs, and they’re all sitting there with their tongues out having a great time. Not scary, dudes, not scary at all.
This is also an amazingly overwritten film. Within seconds it’s obvious that these dogs aren’t behaving like ordinary animals. Fine, I can deal with that. What annoys me is that they’ve been tampered with by Movie Scientists, one of which was dead uncle or whatever. So why do we have to get a bucket load of exposition about this, and possible feelings of guilt from the two (previously shown to be incapable of remorse) brothers. Why are they guilty? Did they do it? No. Furthermore, it’s actually to the detriment of the film that Sara develops mild telepathy with the pack (or whatever it is) because it doesn’t go anywhere and serves as a mildly irritating distraction.
This is exactly what I mean about less being more, because there is the germ of a good film in here (albeit buried deep inside). It adds nothing to what is essentially survival horror for them to be fighting off Superdog’s evil relatives. There isn’t even any of the entertaining battyness of Man’s Best Friend (no predator dog, for example) to break the overwhelming monotony of the film. Strip out the extraneous nonsense that pollutes the narrative, do something about the fucking dickheaded characters, throw in some boob, and trim down the number of dogs and you’ve got an almost functional movie. Unfortunately, none of that took place when the movie was in development. So instead we’ve got a film that I struggled to get through.
Overall, this is wank. The Breed, which while I’m thinking about it is a stupid fucking title for a film featuring 90 different breeds and mongrels of dogs, unless they’re talking about the rabies virus uniting them all as one breed or some shit like that, is an utter bucket of shit. Ordinarily, I’d be tempted to Orangutan of Doom a film like this, but I did genuinely laugh when John shot Nicki in the leg with the arrow, so I’ll let it off. Instead, The Breed is a very, very bad fucking boy, and it’s left a poop on my new rug, so I’m going to rub its nose in it.
Next up in this series is not set yet.
But until then,