Monday, June 17, 2024

A Dog's Life


It's wild to accept that 2006 happened 18 years ago. Low-rise jeans and chunky belts? They never went OUT of style!

Anyway, yes, we've reached the point where the early aughts are now nostalgic. Life is weird. 

Quick Plot: A dumb and drunk couple park their yacht on a mysterious island, only to disappear. Shortly after, a batch of recognizable college kids led by trust fund brat Johnny fly a private plane to the same lands for some beer and margarita-fueled fun (but sadly, no Maxim Magazine, in case you needed a reminder that it's 2006). 

Along for the ride is Johnny's younger med-student-in-the-making brother Matt, Matt's girlfriend (and Johnny's ex) Nicki, and lifelong pals Sarah and Noah. After a montage of nauseating fun (remember when you could drink warm margaritas and spin on playground rides without dying?), they discover an adorable German Shepard mix puppy, who leads Sarah to get bit by his much less adorable and aggressive parent. 

Sarah doesn't feel great, but Matt estimates she can spend a few more days chugging beer before she really needs a rabies shot. Of course, the pack of wild canines that now smell their new well-fed prey aren't eager to let the kids go. 

A well-trained cast of German shepherds and Malinois proceed to turn the vacation into a siege. The dogs even chew through the ropes holding the plane in place, ensuring their targets won't have an easy escape. All the while, Sarah's infection grows worse as she finds herself identifying more with her hunters than friends. 

I'm not here to say that The Breed is a particularly good movie, but nearly 20 years after its release and with various cycles of other subgenres passing by, what was probably a forgettable, even unpleasant straight-to-DVD flick has aged into something...okay. This is Nicholas Mastandrea's only full directorial credit, though he has dozens of high profile second unit films to his name. He clearly knows his way around the technical side of filmmaking. If you're looking for a fairly straightforward, competent dog-eat-hot-people movie, you' could do a whole lot worse. 

High Points
There are just as many hot young actors today as there were in 2006, but it really does make more watchable when your cast is actually charismatic. Taryn Manning has been, well, a bit of a confusing human being in recent years, but she's always had that it factor that makes you want to see her onscreen. Likewise, Michelle Rodriguez is in top form here. We believe she's the kind of athletic coed who can zipline with an arrow sticking out of her calf. Their characters may be underwritten, but their performances have enough energy to keep us involved

Low Points
Did I mention that I also kind of hated everyone in the movie?

Lessons Learned
Archery is a very white sport filled with very terrible white shots

There's a difference between being lost on a creepy abandoned penal colony and being stranded on a creepy abandoned penal colony

Dating your brother's ex takes more than 2 years to no longer be awkward

Adorable Puppy Notes
I'm a dog person. I grew up with dogs, spent years working with dogs, and generally spend every day in public hoping to pet a dog. Had I known The Breed was going to involve dogs being shot by wayward arrows and fired up by CGI flames, I probably would have passed. The poster and quick description suggested I'd be getting MUTANT dogs, and as we all know, there is a difference. All that is to say that the credits included several disclaimers that no animals were harmed during filming, and quick Googling suggests these were professionally trained dogs. This isn't the most pleasant film for a dog lover to watch, but most of the editing suggested these animals were treated fine. Make of that what you will

Early 2000s horror completists can do a lot worse than The Breed. It's far better put together than a lot of its competition at the time, though all that said, it's still not in any way the most innovative or dynamic movie. It's on Peacock for when you have that very specific era (or flea bite-induced) itch.


  1. I lol'd at the hoping to pet dogs every day in public comment, and 100% relate. If it's an animal, I love it. It can be a lizard and I'll still feel the urge to hold it like a baby.

    I assume you have seen Cujo, yeah? I saw it when I was young and liked it, but when I re-watched it several years ago I was actually amazed at the performance of the dogs (apparently several were used for the film). They were shockingly convincing to me, and I've thought about it many times since. Those dogs didn't get the credit they deserved, in my opinion.

  2. Lizards are adorable!

    It's been DECADES since I've watched Cujo, and I think my canine sensitivities would just make it too hard today! I'll take your word for it!