Screenwriters: Dan Schaffer
Starring: Danny Dyer (interview), Stephen Graham, Noel Clarke, Keith Lee Castle, Emil Marwa, Lee Ingleby, Billy Murray
Running time: 89 mins
There are many reasons why Doghouse should be a terrible film. Firstly, there is Danny Dyer reprising his football hooligan/chauvinist geezer role for approximately the 134th time on the big screen. Secondly, it features every overused bloke-movie cliché from the 1999 Guy Richie handbook. And finally, there's a plot which involves a gang of beer-swilling lads getting trapped in the remote village of Moodley, only to discover they are surrounded by a population of flesh-eating female zombies. It sounds like a straight-to-DVD stinker doesn't it? It's pleasantly surprising to report therefore, that Doghouse isn't one of the worst films of the year and is in fact a hilarious, PC brigade-baiting romp.
Vince (Graham) is a thirty-something slob going through a messy divorce and dealing with it badly. Determined to cheer him up, his pals Neil (Dyer) and Mikey (Clarke) organise a lads' holiday in a little rural village, which according to urban legend has five women for every man living there. On arrival, they discover a ghost town that has had its male population destroyed by zom-birds who are on the loose attacking anything with a pair of testicles. The gang, which includes new-age hippy Patrick (Castle), stylish gay Graham (Marwa), and comic store geek Matt (Ingleby), are forced to forget about their mid-life crises, rediscover their inner bloke and fight off the onslaught of man-eating monsters.
The characters are two-dimensional, outdated caricatures (the gay guy is prissy and PC, Dyer's character calls women "slags" and sleeps around) and some of the references are laughably outdated (all the guys have the original Match Of The Day theme tune as their ring tones), but somehow Doghouse gets aways with this rather lacklustre premise. Clarke, Graham and especially Dyer throw themselves headfirst into the ludicrous story and revel in the corny banter. When Dyer suggests, "This isn't very PC, is it?" after Graham threatens to beat up anything in a dress, his tongue couldn't be lodged any further in his cheek.
Teasing critics who have derided him for such parts in the past, Dyer milks his latest geezer role for all it's worth and brings some much-needed charisma to this horror-com. Where Corden and Horne appeared to think they could just turn up and their name alone would get the cash and gags to start rolling in with the similar Lesbian Vampire Killers, the Doghouse ensemble throw all their energies into dragging a rather tiresome premise and moulding it into something genuinely amusing. The sexual politics and un-PC message about "feminist nonsense" may raise some eyebrows, but you'd have to be a dedicated Daily Mail-reading, Ofcom-dialing bore to take it seriously.
Whether it's Dyer having his fingers chopped off by a 20-stone zom-bird called Bubbles or Graham and Ingelby retaliating against knife-wielding attackers with water pistols and remote control cars, this slasher gore-fest has plenty of comic relief packed between the head-slicing and body-munching. It's certainly not for the faint-hearted - at one point you see EastEnders and The Bill legend Billy Murray having his skull chainsawed in half - but for those with the stomach for such things, Doghouse provides a rollicking hour and a half of laughs.
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