Review: The Breed

Posted by Peter Hall - March 27th 2007 @ 4:00 am

Directed by Nicholas Mastandrea, 2006
Written by Robert Conte, Peter Martin Wortmann

The Breed

Ah, yes, the veritable ‘college co-eds go on weekend retreat to remote cabin’ plot.  Oh how reliable you are.  Always there as a fall back when the brain is too stressed by character development to worry about setting or plot logic.

Or when you conveniently need an excuse to have multiple people trapped in one isolated locale, forced to enter conflict with variable x in order to leave the cabin via variable y.  It’s become simple substitution math to make these countless flicks.  In the case of the Breed, y is a watercraft of some sort and x is an island taken over by genetically engineered dogs.


The cast consists of Michelle Rodriguez not playing a butch for once, Taryn Manning’s speech impediment, a dork (Eric Lively), Oliver Hudson (who looks like a more doughy, less cool Stephen Weber [yes, I called Stephen Weber cool]), and a knockoff Mos Def.  And more than a handful of expertly trained attack dogs, whose fierce stunt work makes for the best aspect of the movie.

I think more actors need to have dog’s lunging at their faces.  Nothing against actors, but it was pretty much the only intentionally enjoyable thing in The Breed.  That and Michelle Rodriguez getting shot in the leg with an arrow.

Screenwriters Conte and Wortmann have a few moments of balanced, comedic horror, but the majority of the film’s attempts at, well, anything fall short.  It is introduced that a bite from the dogs somehow, slowly, makes you one of the pack, yet this never enters any real stage of fertility.  The setups are predictable, the payoffs for the most part empty and the logical loopholes glaring.

I have no clue why Michelle Rodriguez is ever cast in anything.  She can’t act.  Period.  And she isn’t even attractive.  At least here she isn’t playing a butch (ex)police officer, as she seems to do in everything else.  Even still, she fails to pull off simple things like limping when she was just shot through the leg with a 16 inch arrow.  Admittedly this may not be her fault, as the script then had her volunteering to zip line from one roof to another, bracing the landing with her savagely (in reality, anyways) injured leg.

As mentioned, the stunt work in The Breed is impressive, especially for a movie fated to be straight to DVD.  Save for a few altered dips, the dog attacks look real and pull off a viciousness that makes one wonder if the actors knew what they were getting into beforehand. 

The script and direction are what kill any seriousness that could otherwise be found.  There is a scene in which the dogs chew through the ropes tethering a seaplane (yes, the co-eds not only have access to, but know how to pilot a seaplane) to the dock while the group breaks out into dismay.  It is a scene which inspires too much comedy and reminds of an episode of the "Critic" with the review of a Jurassic Park knockoff and the velociraptor with a devious plan to escape the island.

Unlike that gag in the "Critic", I guarantee there will never be a reason to reference The Breed.  Not in a positive light.  Unless another genetically aggressive dog movie comes out and is even worse than this.  You may, however, find a reason to watch The Breed.  If you want to get drunk and laugh at a bad horror movie, as I all too often want to these days.  In this case, however, you’ll be treated to a scene where the one black character can simultaneously rip off Samuel L. Jackson’s pre-death speeches from Deep Blue Sea and Jurassic Park.

On second thought, if a movie can do that, maybe I’m not giving it enough credit.

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  1. March 31st, 2007 | 4:27 pm | #1

    I figured this would not be very good, but at the same time I liked the idea of a movie which just had lots of dogs biting people. I think they gave it some kind of theatre release over here, but I doubt anyone went to see it; I will probably rent it at some point as a time killer.

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