Most people probably don’t know the name Jake West, but he’s something of an up and coming British horror director, whose previous major release "Evil Aliens" was, in my opinion, unfairly overlooked.
That was 5 years ago and since then he seems to have been directing straight to tv/dvd tripe to pay the bills, fortunately last year someone took notice and presented him with the opportunity to direct with a bigger budget, and with recognizable British talent.
The result is the incredibly enjoyable "Doghouse", building upon the foundations put in place by films such as “Shaun of the Dead” the film is a mixture of horror and comedy, and when I say horror, in this case I really mean gore. Cuz lets face it, there’s rarely a genuine scare in this sub genre. But that’s just fine. It’s hard to laugh when you’re being scared.
As I said, the film takes a cue from "Shaun" and puts comedy first, although "Doghouse" does it with a lot less irony and parody than "Shaun".
The film starts with a montage of characters all getting ready for a lads weekend away to cheer up their recently divorced mate. I should point out that all the men leave there respective partners on bad terms and it’s this gender separation that is the basis of the film, and its title.
The lads, minus one, head off to a tiny village in the middle of nowhere with the promise of women outnumbering men by a good number in the tiny place. Unfortunately when they arrive they find the place deserted, or so it initially seems.
Soon they are approached by a woman who is quickly attacked by a soldier; in a misguided act of chivalry they attack the soldier, rendering him unconscious. Only to then be attacked by the woman, and several more that appear from everywhere. Taking the soldier with them they hide out in a house and start asking questions.
It turns out the tiny isolated village was the perfect place to test a new weapon that turns women into killing machines. At first glance they seem like zombies; they certainly eat human flesh and exhibit a tendency to rot, but there is some intelligence there, they understand how things work and use weapons and usually only attack men. Although like all women they want the men all to themselves and fight each other off if that is threatened.
This is my only real problem with the film, they are intelligent, one even uses an axe to chop down a post to get to a man, but they are also incredibly stupid, and it’s this imbalance that gets to me, it’s a little thing and it doesn’t ruin the film, it’s just annoying.
The men try several plans to escape, including a throw back to "Shaun", just walking past them acting as women, including wearing dresses.
As the film progresses they learn more about the weapon and how they might escape safely.
Keeping with the theme of the film, most of the humour comes from the differences between the sexes and its genuinely funny stuff; it acts as a nice contrast to the violence and gore going on around them. And it never strays into extreme sexism; both genders take hits with the jokes.
The gore is well done, and I recall there was a decent amount, although no particular death stands out in my mind as a winner.
In conclusion, this is another example of a film most people have probably overlooked as another cash in after "Shaun", but this film manages to stand on its own and I think once it gets a couple of showings on telly will turn it into a cult classic.
It’s not the greatest horror comedy out there, but anyone who enjoys a good horror or comedy would be a fool to not try this one out.