Neil Marshal is a director that is usually synonymous in the horror genre with his sophomore film The Descent. But before he reminded us that we ALL have claustrophobia, he released his debut werewolf slasher hybrid Dog Soldiers. Dog Soldiers quickly became and indie cult classic as a film, however its’ previous physical media releases have left much of the fandom disappointed. Fans can now rejoice as an unquestionably better version has been released on 4K UHD Limited Edition from none other than Second Sight Films.
On a routine training mission in the Scottish Highlands, a small squad of British soldiers come across the bloody remains of a Special Forces team with a sole survivor. They soon discover the savage attackers are werewolves, and as the full moon rises they face a long night ahead and a fight for their lives.
Packaging and Art
Holy shit, this new artwork from Chris Malbon is flawless. This may be some of the best newly commissioned artwork I have ever seen for a boutique label release. The way the vines are covered in blood and dance in and out of the soldiers and wolves is nothing short of gorgeous. Inside the rigid slipcase we have digibook that holds both the 4K UHD disc, and the region B bluray and features a whole new design of art in the same style as the cover, and I think it’s just as badass as the cover art. Seriously, the art that this release got is so good that I can guarantee that I will be using it as a reference of why I love collecting physical media for years to come.
- A new 4K restoration from the Original Camera Negative approved by Director Neil Marshall and Director of Photography Sam McCurdy
- Features 4K UHD and Blu-ray with bonus features on both formats
4K UHD presented in Dolby Vision HDR
- Archive audio commentary by Director Neil Marshall
- Archive audio commentary by Producers David E. Allen and Brian O’Toole
- New audio commentary by writer and Associate Professor of Film Alison Peirse
- Werewolves, Crawlers, Cannibals and More: a new 40-minute interview with Neil Marshall
- A History of Lycanthropy: author Gavin Baddeley on Werewolf Cinema
- Werewolves, Folklore and Cinema: a video essay by author Mikel J. Koven
- Werewolves vs Soldiers: The Making of Dog Soldiers with Neil Marshall, Producers Christopher Figg and Keith Bell, Actors Sean Pertwee, Kevin McKidd, Darren Morfitt, Leslie Simpson and Emma Cleasby, Special Effects Artist Bob Keen and more!
- A Cottage in the Woods: an interview with Production Designer Simon Bowles
- Combat: a short film by Neil Marshall
- Deleted Scenes and Gag Reel with optional commentary by Neil Marshall
- Trailers and Photo Gallery
- Optional English subtitles for the hearing impaired
Limited Edition Contents
- Rigid slipcase with new artwork by Chris Malbon
- 108 page book with new essays by Craig Ian Mann, Alison Peirse, Zoë Rose Smith, Anya Stanley, exclusive interview with Neil Marshall by Matthew Thrift, plus Behind the Scenes photos
- 6 collectors’ art cards
Audio: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Stereo 2.0
There doesn’t seem to be as much of a difference with audio between the previous bluray edition and this one. Both releases are very restrained mixes with 95% of the sound coming from your front stage. There really is barely anything to note here as far as the surround mix goes. This one was an indie hustle and probably didn’t have the largest budget for sound mixing due to the cost, so I think some amount of grace can be given here. I would have loved a more immersive surround experience with a bit more dynamics and LFE but that’s just not the film were watching here, With that being said, everything functions as it should. Dialogue is clear and crisp, and prioritized in the mix. Overall nothing to complain about because a better version just never existed. I believe this audio is as true to the original creation as it can be.
Video: 4K HDR Dolby Vision + HDR10 restoration from the Original Camera Negative
I want to state first off that this movie was shot on 16mm film and was never intended to be bright or to leap off the screen with color. DOP Sam McCurdy’s vision for the film is drab, dark and muted. So don’t go into this expecting this to be your home theater demo disc at all. With that out of the way, I can honestly say this is 1000% a major upgrade from the previous releases. The last two blurays are famously blown out in highlights and just look downright awful at some points. This 4K release is a whole new transfer approved by Neil Marshal and Sam McCurdy and done by Second Sight Films exclusively. So if you go to pick up the Shout Factory 4K version of Dog Soldiers, this is the exact same transfer just licensed to Shout for distribution. However, the artwork and packaging of their release doesn’t even come close to the quality of this one. I found the increased dynamic range helped this release tremendously giving the film a nice even grade across the board. Highlights are managed much better, especially in closeups and scenes with fire. The movie has a naturally soft appearance due to the 16mm film, but the resolution increase is noticeable in some areas. For me personally, the HDR grade for this release is what really stands out and makes this the absolute best this version has ever looked.
This movie has come from looking like a bootleg dvd, to finally getting a transfer that honors the film. This movie needs to be seen on 4K only, and in my opinion, this is the best release that has ever been made of Neil Marshall’s second film. There is a US domestic version of this exact transfer via the previously mentioned Shout Factory 4K UHD release, but what you might be saving in shipping costs pales in comparison to the wonderful artwork and packaging that the Second Sight limited edition has to offer.
Gear Used for Reviews:
Klipsch RSW-115 Subwoofer (Front)
BIC Acoustech PL-200ii Subwoofer (Rear)
Klipsch SW-112 (Rear)
Silver Ticket 135″ 16×9 High Contrast Grey screen with 0.9 gain.
Episode 150 Amp
Component cables – Key Digital 4K HDR 4:4:4 HDMI Pro Cables
Projector Cable – Key Digital 4K HDR 4:4:4 Fiber Optic HDMI