I feel like I’ve said this next sentence a dozen times this year so far, but the new film from director Jake West is forcing me to utter it yet again. Successful horror comedies are incredibly rare. Do I say this because West’s newest film, Doghouse, is one of those rarities? Or do I repeat this sad observation because his movie is just one more piece of cinematic evidence to support my thesis? Considering Doghouse is neither scary nor funny the answer is sadly the latter.
The premise for Doghouse starts out fairly solid. A group of guy friends decide to take a weekend trip in an effort to cheer up their recently divorced buddy, Vince. Expecting to find a plethora of poontang the group head for a remote village reportedly populated with five women for every one man. Unfortunately for them the military has been engaged in an odd bit of testing in the area resulting in all members of the fairer gender transforming into carnivorous, bloodthirsty monsters. Now instead of getting head from lovely lasses they’ll be losing their losing their heads and saving their asses.
The problem with Doghouse being a horror comedy starts almost immediately when you realize you’re not laughing very much. There are a couple good lines here and there, but there are also several mean-spirited jokes that just fall flat. (To be fair there’s also more than a few completely unintelligible lines that may have been funny had I understood what the hell was being said.) All of the guys are on the outs with their respective wives, girlfriends, and effeminate gay partners, but that doesn’t mean the majority of the jokes need to be derogatory towards women. I’ve got no problem with humor that takes aim at females (bitches need to be put in their place sometimes), but it only works if the jokes are actually humorous.
So if Doghouse isn’t funny is it at least horrific or frightening? No.
It is fairly gory though. And when compared to Lesbian Vampire Killers (which was the last British horror comedy about a group of guys dealing with a monstrous female menace) it emerges as the clear victor in the category of blood and guts. That earlier film filled it’s titular lesbian vampires with sperm instead of blood so instead of crimson carnage we got milky goo. Doghouse tosses the red stuff around pretty liberally, and the gore and creature makeup both look really solid. It would have been nice to see some scares and suspense alongside the gory goods, but instead we get almost an hour of “comedic” escapes followed by the film’s other great fault.
We get it… some of these guys are real men’s men and misogynistic to the end. But does the movie itself have to follow suit by rewarding the tools and punishing those who don’t play along? I won’t name characters so this shouldn’t be considered a spoiler, but the final third of the film sees all the nice guys of the group get devoured and the utter dicks survive. Not that the any of the characters are remotely identifiable or sympathetic, but to kill off the only ones possibly worth rooting for is a moronic move. Don’t even get me started on the twenty-seven minute-long monologue at what should have been the end of the movie or the final freeze frame that resolves nothing and means even less…
So what do you do if you’re hankering for a really good horror comedy? Go see Zombieland. And if you want one set in Great Britain? Watch An American Werewolf In London. Only watch this flick if you want to see how to make one that not only fails at both the scares and the laughs, but that also squanders some otherwise funny and talented Brits in the process. It’s unfortunate that every British horror comedy of the past few years is inevitably compared to Shaun of the Dead, but it’s even more unfortunate that in the case of Doghouse you don’t even have to go that high up the genre ladder to find a better film.
The Upside: Bloodier than Lesbian Vampire Killers; occasionally funny
The Downside: Terrible script; very uneven tone; more of a comedy than a horror film but it isn’t really funny; monologue towards the end has a longer running time than the film itself; surviving character choices are unwise; final freeze frame is meaningless
On the Side: Doghouse releases on DVD and Blu-ray on October 12th… in the UK.