Movie Review: Wes Craven Presents The Breed

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“Wes Craven presents.” Putting a famous director’s name in a movie’s title doesn’t really guarantee anything. Especially not Craven’s, since he’s actually made more rotten movies than good ones. On THE BREED, filmed in South Africa, he’s the executive producer, that’s all.

Already during the opening titles, I felt that, no, I don’t think I want to watch this. Glossy images of a blue ocean and islands, with mainstream rock on the soundtrack. Five young kids in their thirties arrive to a nowadays deserted island to party. One of them is an annoying black guy who’s single – guess who’s first to die!

It turns out that the island isn’t at all deserted, there used to live evil scientists who performed gene experiments on dogs, and these murderous beasts are still there. But they look rather cuddly. The five uninteresting main characters party (too long) before the killer dogs attack. Thrilling? No. Boring? Yes. And the body count is low as well.

This movie is a dog.

…But if you really want to check out a movie about killer dogs, there are plenty to choose from. The most obvious is of course CUJO (1983), based on the Stephen King bestseller. Then there’s DEVIL DOG: HOUND OF HELL (1978) about a family adopting a dog that turns out to be, well, the title says it all. DOGS OF HELL (1983) is about a band of killer dogs terrorizing an idyllic resort community, and several years earlier, in 1977, there was THE PACK, in which a group of dogs become wild when left on a resort island. A marine biologist leads the humans who fight to keep the dogs from using vacationers as chew toys.

The dog who’s MAN’S BEST FRIEND (1993) turns evil after genetic experiments. In 1978’s ZOLTAN…HOUND OF DRACULA, the vampire and his bloodthirsty dog go to Los Angeles to find the last of Count Dracula’s living descendants. PLAY DEAD (1981) stars Yvonne De Carlo as a psychotic woman who trains a dog to rip people to shreds.

But you have to leave it to the Italians to get it right. 1982 saw the arrival of the immortal trash classic KILLER DOG. A rock band is mauled, threatened, and drooled upon by an untrainable mutant canine. Rock star Cooper plays the leader of the band. Most critics and viewers thought the title of the movie was very appropriate. ‘Cause this movie sure is a killer dog!

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