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Ah, the nasty dog movie. A truly compelling sub-genre in the horror field mined from decade to decade with varying degrees of success. Old Yeller and Cujo were two effective examples of how to mine this story in very different ways, with the former tugging at your heartstrings, and the latter giving the most stoic male cause to scream like a little girl. Then there's Nicholas Mastandrea's directorial debut: The Breed ...

If one were to watch the effective trailer, or hear this story pitched (without reading the script) it makes for a potentially good horror flick. A group of attractive young holidaymakers make their way to a deserted island for a fun-filled weekend, and encounter copious amounts of very nasty pooches. The finished product, however, delivers zero in the way of what it promises.

First, let's start with where all films start the script. The writing in this film leaves logic out the window from the first scene, hitting every 80's horror film cliché in the book. From the ample-breasted doomed chick in the first scene to the (supposed) comic relief and doomed black guy, this script hits them all... with a nuclear bomb. Then there's convoluted over-plotting, unnecessary and frustratingly moronic exposition, and dialogue that borders on criminal (â"Hey, you know, I didn't know this was supposed to happen" is just one pearl from a character when another complains how bad things have gotten), not to mention characters so damn stupid you want Forrest Gump to come and give them a clue. Then there's supposedly super-intelligent killer muts that have the foresight to trap our heroes, get rid of their means of escape, and usurp their attempts at escape at every turn - seemingly always one step ahead. Yet they continually stand there like a deer in headlights, waiting to be beaten with bats, shot with arrows, run over with a car... (I could go on, but won't.... oh, all right, one more) AND force one character to go through a high wire act to try and start a car in one scene, then let two others walk out the front door to do the same in another!!!!.... I really could go on forever.

Performances are hard to critique in this film, due to the source material, as I would challenge the likes of Anthony Hopkins or Meryl Streep to make good on the characters or dialogue crammed into the mouths of these poor actors. After seeing the most range in performance ever from Michelle Rodriguez last year in season two of Lost it's a shame to see her picking something like this to follow on with. She has proved she is capable of more than just scowling and being the ‘tough chick' but this one-dimensional character does her no favors.

Mastandrea's direction shows no instinct for suspense (or for that matter, material), blowing nearly every minute of potential tension there could be with poor staging, lighting that belongs in a Disney movie, pacing that almost always contradicts the logic of the scene, and - with a few impressive exceptions, like a car on a cliff and some dog-jumps-at-camera-or-actor moments - camera work that could be matched with a handycam.

The effects are as cheesy as they come, often unintentionally humorous, and look like they are out of student film with a micro-budget. Amusingly in the featurette a crewmember comments on matching a fake leg's pallor to look like Michelle Rodriguez's well if she were dead and coated in PVC it worked!!! Then there's the poor fake pooch that gets collected by a telegraph pole that looks like he belongs in a Benny Hill special (which again amusingly in the featurette, the voice over guy says is chillingly real?).

The music is ineffective, inappropriate, not in the least bit foreboding or scary, and is the final nail in this poor turkey's coffin.

The Breed is destined for B-movie Heaven. From the film students who want to remind themselves what not to do, to those who simply relish the idea of an hour and half with a bonafide cinematic turd, the one effective thing this dirty pearl does is remind us of a time when horror movies had no stars or box-office potential, and VHS reigned supreme. This is a true guilty pleasure in waiting, folks.


DVD Details:

The Breed is as short on features as it is on scares, with a behind the scenes featurette, and four trailers. It is the trailer of The Breed that impresses far more than the film.

Screen formats: Widescreen 1.85:1; Full Screen 1.33:1

Subtitles: Spanish

Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 5.1; English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround; Closed Captioned

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; trailer; making-of featurette.

* Featurette
o On the Set.
* Trailers
o Original theatrical trailer.

Number of discs: - 1 with Lithograph slip case{pgomakase}