Doghouse (2009)

Directed By: Jake West
Written By: Dan Schaffer
Starring: Danny Dyer
  Stephen Graham
  Noel Clarke
  Lee Ingleby

Doghouse is fun, a lot of fun, but do not expect a cerebral challenge or anything close to sensible… expect instead carnage, stupidity and a great 85 minutes of mad entertainment.

Vince (Stephen Graham) is getting a divorce and his friends want to help him forget all about it. With partying in mind, Mikey (Noel Clarke) suggests they head off to his gran’s empty house for a weekend of drinking and chatting up the local totty. Sadly for them his gran lives in the tiny village of Moodley, the pub staff have gone missing and the local women are a little more psychotically mutated than expected. Doghouse is a horror comedy that is shameless, brutal, stupid and hilarious – it knows what it is and executes it perfectly.

Beginning with a smart opening montage of the main six characters proving themselves to be knee deep in mid-life crisis, the style and feel of the film is solidly placed and consistent throughout. The group of lads hire a minibus and travel into the countryside, only to discover someone has turned all the female inhabitants of sleepy Moodley into men-hating psychotic mutants hell-bent on killing our boys. Forced into fighting back, Vince and co. gather as many weapons as they can and embark on mission to escape, accidentally discovering the sinister origins of their zombie-like antagonists.

Whether dubious on stage, as a TV presenter or even as a serious actor, you cannot deny that Danny Dyer does horror-comedy brilliantly (see Severance for details…). Put him alongside off-screen chums Stephen Graham and Noel Clarke and you have a powerhouse set of English “geezers” all beset with woman troubles of a psychotically deranged nature. Add the other friends – a homosexual, a comic-book nerd, a fat, chronically late bloke and a guy obsessed with soothing self-calming tapes and it’s an eclectic mix of characters who all play off each other perfectly – and this is the nature of Doghouse: fun. It is not a chauvinistic boy’s film either, and treats the women-slating lads with a dose of their own medicine in an extremely violent way. It is a film with no qualms about what it is or what it’s trying to do. Think The Evil Dead meets Shaun of the Dead meets Emmerdale of the Dead and you’re close to the feel this bonkers horror-com gives. It destroys the likes of the horrific Lesbian Vampire Killers and the disappointing Cottage by having characters that are genuinely fun, recognizable and likeable.

The gore and violence are done fantastically well too, featuring flame-throwing water pistols, piles of dead bodies and an impromptu birthday party for Danny Dyer’s Neil that involves some horribly literal “finger food”. Somehow all this enjoyment comes from Jake West, director of the appalling Evil Aliens and Razorblade Smile, who proves that with a decent cast and script he can make a fantastically enjoyable horror movie.

Doghouse is blitheringly simple, but it works. Hugely enjoyable and gleefully stupid, this is a great movie for anyone after genuine laughs and ridiculous gore. Brilliant.

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆

6 Comments on “Doghouse”

  1. Sarah Law says:

    I was so disappointed with this :(

    I think your 9 star review set my expectations too high because I just watched it and didn’t like it nearly as much as you did. Compared to the likes of Shaun Of The Dead and Severance, I thought it just came across as a bit of a wannabe. It would have got a solid 6.5 from me, I reckon.

    • The Scullion says:

      Ha! Good ole hype… I stick by my 9 star review, however, as despite it’s simplicity it was thoroughly entertaining, funny, gory and I could really relate to it (somehow… must be the Essex boy in me).

      Severance is definitely another 9 star film, while Shaun of course is 10 star quality, but I think Doghouse has a hell of lot going for it, from the nicely rounded characters to some truly grotesque moments (birthday cake, anyone?).

      That’s the joy of films though – it divides. I mean, who knows, someone might actually LIKE Megashark Vs. Giant Octopus. Weirder things have happened…

    • Jamie Carruthers says:

      I loved Mega Shark. I love a whole bunch of the output from The Asylum. Its cheap and exploitative, and thats what I am all about.

    • Scullion says:

      Jamie – I agree, The Asylum does pump out some fantastically mental material. Transmorphers, Alien Vs Hunter & Snakes on a Train were all hilarious, self-knowing genius pieces of complete explotative nonsense, that I genuinely enjoyed.

      Megashark was far too po-faced and apeared to be utterly unaware of it’s inadequacies, that went way beyond the shocking CGI and the abysmal script. I didn’t even realise it WAS an Asylum title until you said it. Even for them, this was an embarrassment.

      Well, hopefully the two Dave’s and Paul won’t hunt me down and kill me now for my vitriolic dislike of said large fish and large cephalopod. Or as much…

  2. Sarah Law says:

    You know, I really hope the people that made Mega Shark… never find us!

    I didn’t disgaree with your review, all the points you made were totally valid, I just expected to like it more. If I’d had a few beers I’d no doubt have loved it though, it’s that kind of film. I’m notoriously stingy with my reviews though so I’m a firm believer that a film needs a bit of originality to get 9 stars from me :)

  3. Sarah Law says:

    Jamie, I’m convinced that you have Oppositional Defiance Disorder. You seem to enjoy liking things that everyone else hates……..

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