Dog Soldiers is a title that has been in the blu-ray pipeline at Scream Factory for a long while. The rea­son that this process became so pro­tract­ed lies in some unique chal­lenges involved in cre­at­ing a new HD trans­fer for the film. The com­pa­ny recent­ly issued this title and, while the fin­ished pro­duct has some unavoid­able issues, the new disc acquits itself as a solid pre­sen­ta­tion of this film. Better yet, it throws in a few worth­while new extras to sweet­en the deal.

DogSol-blu2At the A/V lev­el, Dog Soldiers presents a lot of prob­lems that would chal­lenge any home video com­pa­ny: the neg­a­tives for the film can’t be found and the disc’s pro­duc­ers had to use a pair of exist­ing the­atri­cal prints to cre­ate a new HD mas­ter. Another issue is the fact that the film was shot in 16mm and blown up to 35mm for those the­atri­cal prints, mean­ing that any pre­sen­ta­tion tak­en from such prints would inevitably have a “sec­ond gen­er­a­tion” kind of look.

The trans­fer used for Dog Soldiers here reflects those issues: the 16mm-to-35mm blowup used for the source mate­ri­al means there is pro­nounced grain, reduced con­trast and a cer­tain pale­ness to the col­ors (par­tic­u­lar­ly the black lev­els). That said, the results are nev­er less than watch­able and until the day those neg­a­tives are found, this is as good as it is going to get. For what it’s worth to the fans, it should also be not­ed that this release met with the approval of direc­tor Neil Marshall.

As for the audio, both 5.1 and 2.0 stereo mix­es are offered in loss­less form. The 5.1 was used for this review and it’s a qual­i­ty mix, with sub­tle but effec­tive sur­round speak­er lay­er­ing for the music and sound effects.

DogSol-03Scream Factory has also put in a nice effort with extras. The first is a new com­men­tary track with Marshall. He han­dles the track alone, expand­ing on sto­ries that get touched on the disc’s fea­turet­te and adding plen­ty of inter­est­ing scene-speci­fic details. You’ll hear a lot about the film’s count­less ref­er­ences and learn some inter­est­ing triv­ia, like how a young Jason Statham almost played the Private Cooper role and who the peo­ple actu­al­ly are in the cabin’s fam­i­ly pho­to.

Even more impres­sive is “Werewolves Vs. Soldiers,” a 62-min­ute fea­turet­te that involves the input of Marshall along with all the key above-the-line crew mem­bers and actors Kevin McKidd, Sean Pertwee and Emma Cleasby. This piece DogSol-04pro­vides a com­pre­hen­sive overview of the film from con­cep­tion through pro­duc­tion, includ­ing how the financ­ing was assem­bled, how the actors were cast and the tech­niques used to bring the film’s jum­bo-size bipedal were­wolves to life. There are fun­ny anec­dotes, includ­ing Pertwee’s macabre yet com­i­cal tale of an on-set injury, and every­one express­es them­selves with a gen­uine fond­ness for the film and Marshall.

There is also a 13-min­ute inter­view pro­duc­tion design­er Simon Bowles. Using a scale mod­el of the film’s house set, he explains the whys and where­for­es of his work. A high­light is the tale of how he put togeth­er a base­ment set with lit­tle mon­ey or resources.

Next up are some pro­mo­tion­al mate­ri­als. A reel of five trail­ers shows off a vari­ety of approach­es, includ­ing two spots that use titles to clev­er effect. A pho­to gallery offers over forty images of stills, pro­mo­tion­al pic­tures and a few poster designs while a behind-the-sce­nes gDogSol-05allery offers up just over 20 more images. In a nice touch, the lat­ter gallery uses detailed and infor­ma­tive cap­tions to give the view­er insight into the tech­niques the film­mak­ers used to achieve var­i­ous sequences.

The final extra is Combat, a short film that Marshall made dur­ing his film stu­dent days. It’s a fun lit­tle piece in which the bat­tle of the sex­es in a pub is expressed entire­ly through visu­al tech­niques and sound effects drawn from war movies. Fans of Dog Soldiers might find it inter­est­ing as an ear­ly exam­ple of Marshall’s gen­re-blend­ing tech­niques.

To sum up, Scream Factory has put forth a wor­thy effort with this edi­tion of Dog Soldiers. The trans­fer is as good as it can be under the cir­cum­stances described ear­lier in this review and the extras pack­age is worth the view­ing time for fans.

To read Schlockmania’s film review of Dog Soldiers, click here.