Dog Soldiers is a 2002 British horror film, written and directed by Neil Marshall and starring Kevin McKidd, Sean Pertwee and Liam Cunningham. It was a British production, set in the highlands of Scotland, and filmed almost entirely in Luxembourg.
The film contains homages to H.G. Wells, the films The Evil Dead, Zulu, Aliens, The Matrix and Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.
Set in Scotland but filmed in Luxemborg.
The piece that Megan plays on the piano halfway through the film is Debussy’s “Clair de Lune”, roughly translatable as “moonbeam”. The link is obvious, but is possibly also a nod to An American Werewolf in London (1981), the soundtrack of which consisted purely of songs with “moon” in the title.
One of the soldiers in this movie is called Bruce Campbell, a reference to The Evil Dead (1981) (Bruce Campbell is the actor who portrayed its hero Ash and the film seems to have partially inspired the plot of Dog Soldiers (2002)).
Near the start of the film, they discover the tracking chip in their radio and someone mentions the Kobayashi Maru scenario, originally in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (1982).
The G3 rifle used by Spoon and later Terry didn’t work properly when firing blanks. During some scenes in the house, you can see Terry manually working the bolt to chamber the next round.
In the scene where Wells asks Cooper to knock him out, Kevin McKidd (Cooper) throws a stage punch the first time, but misjudges the distance of the second and catches Sean Pertwee (Wells) on the nose. Pertwee didn’t feel the punch however as he really was drunk for that scene.
Sean Pertwee’s character “Sgt. Harry G. Wells” is named after H.G. Wells, one of writer/director Neil Marshall’s favorite authors.
There is very little CGI used in the movie because the people involved in the filming believed that CGI was being over-used at the time and that it would take viewers out of the movie because they would be focused on how the special effects looked rather than the story, thus the werewolves are animatronics and body suits with stilts.
Being Scottish, Kevin McKidd who plays Cooper spotted that there is nowhere in Scotland that is a four hour drive from anywhere as mentioned in the film, but chose not to say anything.
The film makes several references to Zulu (1964). There’s the choral music featured in Zulu when Spoon is talking about Rorkes drift, and “Dog Soldiers’” Sgt. Well’s paraphrases “Zulu’s” Colour Sgt. Bourne’s “be quiet now will you, there’s a good gentleman, you’ll upset the lads” when talking to Ryan.
The movie probably takes place on the 1 and 2 September 2001, as England did indeed beat Germany 5 – 1 on the night of the 1st. Those nights were indeed full moons.
Jason Statham was originally the top runner for playing the part of Cooper, but he had to back down at the last minute to do John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars (2001).
Simon Pegg was offered a part in the film, but turned it down after Edgar Wright asked him to save his first horror role for Shaun of the Dead (2004).
The insurance did not cover the actors jumping out of the helicopter early in the film. As most of the crew were ex-army they jumped out of it instead. The crew also doubled up as Sgt Well’s soldiers for some of the tabbing shots.