- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 9, 2015

A B-movie masterpiece from 2002 returns to lovers of lycanthropes looking for a bit of a fright, a bunch of gore, a couple of laughs and lots of famished werewolves.

Next to “The Wolfman,” “The Howling” and “An American Werewolf in London,” director Neil Marshall’s 105-minute epic Dog Soldiers: Collector’s Edition (Shout Factory! Rated R, $29.93) is easily one of the best of the hairy, fanged-film genre in cinema history.

The film stars a group of British soldiers attempting to fend off the attacks of lithe, humanoid beasts while holed up in a farmhouse in the Scottish Highlands.

The effort manages to mix dark humor with great-looking monsters and explosive action.

Unfortunately, the most horrifying part of this release to Blu-ray is not the story but its digital presentation.

Although boasting a new 2k scan off of cinema prints supervised by the director and displayed in a full-screen format (1:78:1), viewers get way too many scratches and color aberrations on the final product.

SEE ALSO: Blu-ray review: Kingsman: The Secret Service

It’s noticeable enough to make a high-tech cinema connoisseur look away in sheer terror.

Sure, it’s a gritty wonderland verging on authentic Grindhouse quality, but somebody find the original Super 16mm negatives and give us a 4k scan.

Since the collector’s edition does not translate into enjoying a pristine version of the movie, fans could only hope for a bevy of extras to engulf themselves in the mythology of “Dog Soldiers.”

They are rewarded generously with first a commentary track starring Mr. Marshall. Now, I would have like the director to have addressed the quality issues a bit deeper. He does talk about trying to find a workable print to digitize and how happy he is with the result.

However, I’m happy with his nostalgic anecdotes about the film’s origins, its Luxembourg shooting location, the infamous cow drop, the origins of Super Glue, the his fascination with the name Eddie Oswald.

Next, a new, hour-long documentary is loaded with recent interviews from many of the crew (Mr. Marshall and producers Christopher Figg and Keith Bell to name a few) and cast (Kevin McKidd, Sean Pertwee, Darren Morfitt, Leslie Simpson and Emma Cleasby) pining about how much fun it was to make the movie.

Apparently, according to the gang, it took lots of alcohol imbibing sessions to keep the creative juices flowing in pre-production as well as during the shoot.

Best parts of the documentary are the actors talking about their transformations into werewolves and the economically efficient effects behind it. Worth noting, it is mostly straight-on interviews with the individuals and kind of dry for the non-fan.

Finally, a detailed, 13-minute look at the creepy farmhouse, more set prop than real location, from production designer Simon Bowles and a chance to watch Mr. Marshall’s 8-minute, bizarre, short film “Combat,” starring a few of the actors in “Dog Soldiers.”

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