Doghouse (2009)

As far as comedy horrors go I can generally take or leave them. Although I’m always happy to give them a chance I find they don’t quite hit the mark and end up being neither funny or scary. There are a select handful that I would give a thumbs up to and English ‘horredy’ Doghouse is now officially on that scant list.

Doghouse gets to work right away in introducing characters; a group of lads consisting of seven members. Each is given an introductory snippet that allows us to get a feel for the character and the role they will fulfill in the movie. So when they all finally come together I felt I could place each person when it would have been easy to be left thinking “who the hell are they?”. Each of the guys are a little stereotypical but it works for the story:

  • Neil (Danny Dyer) – the ladies man.
  • Mikey (Noel Clarke) – the moron.
  • Graham (Emil Marwa) – the homo.
  • Matt (Lee Ingleby) – the nerd.
  • Patrick (Keith-Lee Castle) – the rocker.
  • Vince (Stephen Graham) – the divorcee.
  • Banksy (Neil Maskell) – the late-comer.

So the seven guys are on their way to the small village of Moodley to help Vince get over his divorce. When they arrive they discover that the place is not only a dump, but it seems all but abandoned. Mikey goes to his Grandmother’s where they will be staying for the duration of their visit while the others hit up the local pub. Oblivious, Mikey strolls by the bloody gore and carnage around him until he stumbles upon and is pursued by a deranged woman in a wedding dress. Meanwhile, the others step in to rescue a woman who is apparently being attacked by a soldier. When the woman turns on them they soon discover that something is amiss in the village. The group attempts a hasty getaway but discover that their female driver, Candy (Christina Cole) has become infected with the mysterious virus that has turned the women of Moodley into homicidal “zombirds”.

With no means of escape the group must devise ways to fend off the murderess’ with the limited resources at hand. It becomes increasing difficult for them to stay together and the group is splintered as the horde swells. When the virus reaches “phase 2” the women become evermore heinous and the lads must battle against the clock as they start to get picked off one by one by the cannibalistic female populous.

I think the main reason this works for me is not the whole “battle of the sexes” spiel, which can be somewhat tiresome. What I like is that the characters are likable and funny. The women are actually scary and each one has their own individual identity so you can really get into the spirit of the film; “Oh no! here comes the bride!” or “Watch out the snippers behind you!”. On the acting front the whole cast pulls their weight with Danny Dyer giving the strongest, if not typecast, performance. It finds a rare balance between funny and scary, some genuinely chilling scenes including an obese housewife with a literal penchant for finger food but on the other side of the spectrum you have Danny Dyer being whipped by a jockey.

Overall, this is a slick and enjoyable flick that is somewhat off the radar. It sits in the shadows of the likes of Shaun Of The Dead or Zombieland when in my opinion the film surpassed both.

Score: 555/666

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