“Doghouse”: with “friends” like these…

“Doghouse” – (2009, UK, 89 minutes – NR)

Bloke is being divorced by his wife, so his mates, who all have ‘spousal’ issues of their own, decide to take him on a wild weekend in the village of Moodley, where women outnumber men by four to one.
They’re all hoping for some Hoo-Hoo-Hee-Haa, wa-hey-hey sexy times I guess.
As our heroes are about to find out, the women of the village have been turned into demonic, zombie-like mutants with cannibalistic tendencies by a military experiment gone very wrong.

Watch the trailer here:


Marooned in the village with the last survivor of the military team, our gang will try its best to survive in creative and funny ways. Such as putting a severed head in a radio controlled truck for the zombirds to chase after, or filling a squirt gun with flammable fuel for the RC truck and spraying a zombird with it (a one time use, but hey…).

Matt (Lee Ingleby) preps his fiery squirt gun

If you’ve deduced from the telegraphic style of the first paragraph that I didn’t care for “doghouse”, you would be right.
As a horror comedy, with perhaps a couple of chuckles, “doghouse” fails. Miserably.
There are just about two scenes which are amusing but most others in which the ‘heroes’ appear are groaners: what brings and keeps these guys together..?

The boys…

They are ‘mates’ in name only. In one scene, the newly divorced Vince (Stephen Graham) walks in a room to find one of his buddies about to get speared by one of the monsters. The monster looks at him, his buddy tells him to run, so what does Vince do?

He walks out, and quietly at that.
Later on, he seems to regain the balls he lost (they were stolen by his ex, presumably. Insert rolling eyes emoticon) and has an epiphany on board the bus they rode in on (and now hope to escape in) with his pals Mikey (Noel Clarke) and misogynist Neil (Danny Dyer).

Neil’s in peril! Oh noes!

That epiphany is the single most ridiculous scene of this waste of a 4 million pounds budget. Monsters are beating at the windows and the guys are suddenly acting as though they’re in a cocoon, Vince wondering why they are the ones who survived, seeing how bad they all three have been with women. But perhaps they can still learn to be men, after all.
That scene felt like an afterthought, an add-on at the last minute.

Emily Booth as the snipper

One reviewer called “doghouse” a dim zombie movie, and well, it is dim both figuratively and literally: a few minutes into the film, I was already fidgeting with the lightness and contrast settings trying to make out what I was seeing.

Me, watching “doghouse”…

I hoped to like “doghouse” but it was penned by a comic book guy, writer/illustrator Dan Schaeffer, and well, the characters feel at best like cardboard cut-outs. Director Jake West did fine as far as directing this, but the whole thing leaves you wanting: splatter-fest, horror-comedy, zombie flick, whatever, without strong characters “doghouse” would have needed a much better cast to engage a wider audience. As it is “doghouse” is the anti-“full monty”, with gore added.
Is the film all that bad? No, but that only makes things worse: it seems myopic, as it focused on visuals for the zombirds, a few gross-out gags, one instance of situation comedy (Neil tied up in Bubbles’ dining room as she eats (real) finger food. West keeps things moving at a good pace, but that doesn’t hide the vacuum at the center of “doghouse”, the absence of characters.
Maybe, if they had made this in the ‘90s when the debate about metrosexuals was going on, “doghouse” might have had a whiff of provocative relevance, but even that is doubtful. As it is, it’s just tone-deaf and irritating, lacking the balls of “Borat” and the wit of “Shaun of the dead”. Pass.

Doghouse” gets two beans.

2 beans


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2 Replies to ““Doghouse”: with “friends” like these…”

  1. I ended up liking this a wee bit more than you (but not by much, mind you)… but mostly due to the amazing “Making of” feature that came with it on the DVD. Watching that gave me a real appreciation of just how much effort went into a lot of the film… things that are so subtle you don’t even really realize how tough making a film like this can be. Much of that probably gave me a bit more sympathy for the filmmakers than I might have had by simply just watching the film itself.

    However…. you are absolutely “spot on” on many of the things about it that are just so darn disappointing. I have to say… I just ended up hating most of the characters…. especially the “lads”. And that ending…… what a stinker! A real shame too… given that the overall idea certainly sounds like it ought to make for a great lil’ zombie film….. Ahhhh well….. can’t win them all.

    1. Speaking of ‘making of’ features, I recently watched an Italian film made in Ukraine titled “Dark Waters”. Wasn’t quite my cup of tea but the “making of” was terrific, with the director, actors and crew talking about production problem including a coup during filming. They had video tidbits from the film to accentuate what the filmmakers described and the result was hilarious..!
      I have a tendency to hold back on criticism because movies are so damn hard to make, and the flip side is that I sometimes get over-enthusiastic for the same reason, but with “doghouse”, I thought that if they managed to make an Andrew Dice Clay routine funny, the movie had to be pretty bad, LOL.
      It’s a bit like “hangover”: I didn’t find it funny, so naturally they’re doing a sequel…!

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