This review was written for the theatricla release of "The Breed."
LONDON -- There are lots of dogs in "The Breed." They snarl, jump, bark, bite and rip people to pieces. But they sure can't run. When five very mature American college students arrive on a deserted island for a party weekend only to land in canine hell, they're outnumbered and outsmarted by rabid four-legged beasts but any time they have to run for cover, by golly they make it.
"The Breed" is a bog standard date thriller with run-of-the-mill thrills created by jump cuts usually involving the sudden appearance of a highly excited hound seeking human flesh to chow down on. The result is predictable but efficient with mundane dialog required to fill in the blanks and whenever possible make mention of other famous dogs including Lassie, Old Yeller and Cujo. The combination of obvious humor and sudden shrieks could scare up some box office in soft markets but the film's destiny is the DVD shelf, where it will be almost immediately upon its U.S. release.
Shot in South Africa, the film is efficiently put together by director Nicholas Mastrandrea and editor Nathan Easterling who are helped enormously by their team of animal trainers. The humans aren't bad either with Michelle Rodriguez, from TV's "Lost," especially convincing as Nicki in showing some vulnerability as well as cinematic athleticism.
Nicki and boyfriend Matt (Eric Lively) along with Sara (Taryn Manning), who's blonde and flirty, and Noah (Hill Harper), who's black and talky, are persuaded by Nicki's former boyfriend John (Oliver Hudson), who is Matt's cocky older brother, into a weekend at their late uncle's holiday pad on a remote island.
The opening sequence has already revealed what happens to strangers who arrive on the island when sailboaters Luke (Nick Boraine) and Jenny (Lisa-Marie Schneider) are brutally taken by some very annoyed mutts.
Sara is the first to be bitten and her blonde looks take on a dark and sallow appearance but as anyone familiar with such films will expect, it's the brother who gets it first. But Matt is training to be a vet, John is Mr. Fix-it and Nicki is all-action so when someone recalls there was a camp on the island where dogs were being trained in some secret program, it's clear how everything will play out. It has nothing to do with singing "Old Shep."
First Look International
Film Afrika Worldwide
Director: Nicholas Mastrandrea
Writers: Robert Conte, Peter Martin Wortmann
Producers: Thomas Becker, David Lancaster, Marianne Maddalena Karen Vundla, Jorg Westerkamp, David Wicht
Executive producers: Wes Craven, Hal Sadoff
Director of photography: Giulio Biccari
Production designer: Johnny Breedt
Music: Tom Mesmer, Marcus Trumpp
Co-producers: Robert Conte, Peter Martin Wortmann
Costume designer: Dianna Cilliers
Editor: Nathan Easterling
Nicki: Michelle Rodriguez
John: Oliver Hudson
Sara: Taryn Manning
Matt: Eric Lively
Noah: Hill Harper
Luke: Nick Boraine
Jenny: Lisa-Marie Schneider
Running time -- 87 minutes
MPAA rating: R