Doghouse (2009) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Doghouse (2009) Review

Horrorific content by TE Simmons on June 19th, 2021 | Movie Review | Comedy, Gore, Zombie, British

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It’s about an all-female zombie apocalypse with its genesis in a quaint English village.

Doghouse was directed by Jake West (director of Evil Aliens and a slew of really top-notch documentary shorts on horror flicks), written by Dan Schaffer (who wrote Peripheral), and it features an ensemble cast which includes Danny Dyer (a suave Dan Akroyd-looking chap you might recall from Severance) and Noel Clarke (from Mute).

Will a busload of sub-average English men bash their way out of a women’s zombie conference?

Doghouse Review

The premise of Doghouse is suggested by its title, which refers to the “place” that persons go when they have mistreated their partners (i.e., “Neil forgot his lover’s name and now he’s in the doghouse”). A doghouse is a place not meant for humans. It’s a place to do penance for offending the fairer sex. And this is a film which fails to treat its persons as humans.

The film introduces its characters with a skillful economy. In remarkably terse scenes, we understand all we really need to know about the collective of mid-30’s London mates banding together to comfort the soon-to-be-divorced member of their crew.

Off they go in a hired bus (driven by a ridiculously attractive, whip-smart bus driver that the lead character insists on calling ‘Candy’) to a simpler place for a weekend of male-bonding. There will be some male-bonding, to be sure. But not on the level they bargained for.

Upon arrival, it soon becomes apparent that the village has been overrun by a virus which has turned its women into flesh-eating zombies (the military is to blame!) and all the deceased men of the village have already been defeated (i.e., eaten). (Thus, the dead village-men are in a different sort of doghouse.) It’s a village with outstanding male-to-female ratios, but not in the way that the Londoner dudes had hoped.

Doghouse has some serious problems with it. One is that -- as a British zombie-horror comedy -- it invariably invites comparisons to Shaun of the Dead. This is unfortunate. It’s like asking your partner, “How do my jawbone lines compare to those of Henry Cavill?” or “How’s my singing if you stack it up next to Stevie Wonder’s?”

Those are questions better left unasked. Because the answers, invariably, are a courteous -- but dismissive -- chuckle.

Unfortunately, even the chuckles in Doghouse are modest. The gags are slight.

It’s not a complete disaster. The pace is clipped. The pacing is disciplined. The premise is decent: Mates hire a bus to spirit them away from London to spend a weekend in a quaint English village drinking and commiserating -- but they run smack dab into a zombie problem that only a cooperative spirit and sense of teamwork can solve.

The film, though, basically permits itself to bash in the skulls of females by postulating a world in which all zombies are women and all women are zombies – not a small number of which, by the way, are shapely sirens, despite the flesh rot. Misogyny – yes, that’s the appropriate label for a created-context which engenders the cheery skull-bashing of females.

It just isn’t funny. It’s gross. Daft. Trashy. Gory. Moderately watchable. But sad.

Sadness belongs in drama flicks like The English Patient. Sadness typically ruins horror. So, take a detour.

Worth Watching?

Uh, no. Sorry. ‘Tis not. Move on, mates.

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