Sunday, July 31, 2011

Deadly Dogs Week: The Breed (2006)

I think I liked The Breed a lot more than I should have. But it's one of those movies in the in-between - it's not really bad and it's not really good at the same time.

Two brothers, Matt and John, take their friends Nicki, Sara, and Noah to a late uncle's cottage on a remote island for a weekend of drinking and fun. They think they're the only ones there until one evening when a vicious dog attacks one of them and the rest of the pack soon shows up. Now stranded in the cottage, the group must find a way off the island with a horde of vicious German Shepherds wanting to eat them.

Okay, so the plot sounds stupid. There are plenty of animals out there scary enough to be the villain of an Animals Run Amok horror movie - sharks, snakes, spiders, alligators - but dogs are pets. Most of us have or have had one and we love them like our own children. Take a dog like a German Shepherd or a Rottweiler, however, and you have the potential for a pretty nasty beast. They're large and muscular with sharp, sharp teeth, so yeah they can be scary. Multiply one deadly dog by twenty and I can sort of believe it as a serious situation for our characters.

The explanation given for the dogs' viciousness is conveniently vague. The brothers recall over the course of the movie that on the other side of the island there was once a compound holding dogs for the purposes of training them, but it was shutdown after an outbreak of rabies. But these dogs on the island don't have rabies. Instead, at that same compound the people who ran the place were apparently doing genetic experiments on the dogs. It wasn't fully explained but I'm guessing that the experiments made the dogs more aggressive and homicidal.

What keeps this movie from utter ridiculousness is the acting and the serious tone of the movie. Oliver Hudson, Michelle Rodriguez and Taryn Manning all play their roles surprisingly well. There is no bad overacting (well, except by the couple at the beginning, that chick was annoying). They are just five normal twenty-somethings having a good time and their world is shattered. They all handle the situation as smartly as is expected and do what they can and what they have to in order to survive.

Oliver Hudson as the bad boy brother John is cliched but not distracting. Manning and Rodriguez are the real talents here and I like them both as actresses (Manning's voice is FANTASTIC) so they're okay with me in The Breed. The only one who brings the film down is Eric Lively as the other brother Matt and he is frankly as dull as dishwater in his role.

The Breed is not without its faults, though. The basic plot points are uninspired; there is absolutely no suspense or scare moments; and overall there is really nothing about this movie to go crazy over. Wes Craven was producer on this but I hardly see any of his influence if there was any. There are not many deaths and those that we see are not that gory or exciting. An impaling on a makeshift merry-go-round is the only good death but its not much to look forward to.

The movie also fails in that it often breaks the own rules that it sets up for the situation. The dogs are supposedly surrounding the cabin so the kids can't go out. Then there are several times where they are seen walking around outside to do things or get things with no fear of the dogs being around. Then, after Nicki is impaled through the calf with an arrow by Bad Shot John (major OW, by the way - I hate calf injuries), she later forgets that she's supposed to be in pain and limping and is able to climb on rafters and run from the dogs with no showing of her injury.

The Breed is not a movie that you absolutely must see right now but I don't think it can really be condemned as much as others think. It passes the time and it's not a bad movie to kick off my feature this week! Stay tuned for more movies with Deadly Dogs!


  1. Deadly dogs week, eh?
    That's a pretty good idea.

    You wanna see some deadly dogs (well, wolves), check out a movie called Frozen.

    The Breed actually looks pretty cool to me. I shall Netflix it.

  2. Mmmmm, I loved Frozen. I'm more going for movies where dogs - no were-dogs or anything, just plain old pet pooches - are the main villain of the movie. Sneak preview: Man's Best Friend is the next one...

    I love how "Netflix" can be both a noun and a verb now.

  3. Saw this last week, was pretty meh on it. I agree that I liked how seriously they took it, and also that the acting at the beginning was awful.

    And yeah, it passed the time. Not disappointed I saw it.

  4. I actually enjoyed this film, although I can't pinpoint why exactly. I'd hazard a guess that my love for German Shepherds has indebted me to it, but... Here they run around mauling youths. Who knows.