Not to be confused with the 1977 film by the same name. It sure did confuse it. I’ve watched both films too, but today I review the 2015 creature feature.
The film starts out with an elderly sheep farmer leaving his sleeping wife by the fire to investigate why the sheep are having a fit. He barely gets in the door before someone attacks and kills him. Hearing him shouting, wakes the wife and with a flashlight she too goes to investigate, calling her husband’s name as she goes. She’s also attacked and killed.
Dawn finds us at a new location where a struggling sheep farming family lives. While the husband goes to investigate, collect, and burn the dead carcasses of his sheep, the son is seen hoarding two shotgun shells that he keeps in a rusty candy tin. His mom calls him to help her in her vet clinic where she examines an adorable dog. The dog’s heart rate is up, but everything else is normal. The son puts the dog in the kennel and checks on “Fuzball” a cantankerous cat that gives the audience a fake jumpscare. “Stupid cat,” the boy said. As the boy leaves, he grabs some urine samples that his mom told him to take. Also, the mom turns off the radio right after hearing about the elderly couple’s death.
A banker stops by the house and after being offered tea, requests milk for his tea and the mom fetches the milk after glancing at the urine samples in their refrigerator. Honestly, I thought she was going to use one in the milk. She didn’t. How civil.
Down to business, the banker proceeds to tell the farmer and his wife about all of their late payments, which have all been paid. This bit of dialogue is only there to help the audience understand that the family is struggling financially. The banker gives them two options: foreclosure or a $200,000 buyout which meant the family would have enough money to move, find a new place, and still have a little nest egg. The father declines the offer for selling, but their seventeen year old daughter wants them to take it. The father kicks the banker out and assures his family that they will not move.
At this point I’m feeling a bit sorry for the family. They know they’re struggling, but they have to do what the patriarch says. So, they reluctantly go along with his foolish plan to keep the house rather than take the money and run. Please note, that the father gave no explanation as to why they were keeping the property (i.e. the property had been in his family for centuries, their stillborn infant was buried on the property, they had a secret stash of money buried there). Basically, I’m saying that there was nothing there to warrant staying especially when they were offered enough money to start over.
Anyway, the banker too is killed. We see a pack of five or six black German Shepherd type dogs attacking him, with one–I’m assuming the alpha–watching over them. It’s these dogs that terrorize the family all night.
I won’t spoil anymore of the movie for you just in case you want to watch it (it’s available on Netflix). However, I will say that the urine samples and the bullets make an appearance later on in the movie with one of the items being more helpful than the other. I’m sure you can figure out which one.
My overall review is 3/5 stars. It was relatively realistic, but so realistic to the point that it felt like the boring day-to-day life of an average farmer/family. I wasn’t invested in the family. The only one I cared about was Ollie, the family’s Border Collie type dog. Spoiler: He survives, but is absent throughout most of the action.
I do have to admit that I loved how well these dogs were trained in the film. However, the good training sometimes came off as robotic and unnatural especially in cases where someone would walk right by the dog and the dog wouldn’t seem to notice them until they had passed by and gotten into a safe spot. Any dog over knows that sneaking past a dog is impossible unless the dog is deaf (and even then it might be difficult) or occupied with say a peanut butter filled Kong.
These supposed feral dogs had a strange intelligence and were unnaturally strong. A stabbed dog is going to yelp and isn’t going to jump out a window. These dogs also were strong/smart enough to ram through doors and windows to get to this family. I wouldn’t have questioned this had there been some kind of explanation for their intelligence. There wasn’t. The dogs were just eerily smart.
I wish there had been more of a struggle to survive. Yeah, these dogs were strong, fast, smart, patient, etc., but there was no feeling that this family was actually in any danger. Quite frankly, they would have never have needed to leave the house had they practiced some common sense (lock the doors, find a safe room that they can barricade and defend, and wait for morning to come). Nope, they needlessly put themselves in danger.
Also, they never mentioned their money problems again. If I was them, at the end of the movie I would have said, “Those dogs were crazy, let’s let the bank have the place and we start over. Let someone else deal with these murderous beasts.” So I guess the movie wasn’t that realistic.
Despite my rating, I think it was an entertaining movie to watch and I recommend it. If you do watch or have watched the movie, let me know what you thought of it.
Until next time, if the person on the radio says that there are dangerous dogs/people in the area, fortify your house and no matter what don’t leave the house at night!