Directed By: Nicholas Mastandrea
Starring: Michelle Rodriguez, Oliver Hudson, Taryn Manning
Tag line: "They can smell your fear"
Trivia: Michelle Rodriguez did a fair share of her own stunts for this movie
Luke (Nick Boraine) and Jenny (Lisa-Marie Schneider) are enjoying the day on their sailboat when they decide to check out a small, out of the way island. As Luke is tying up the boat, Jenny wanders into the nearby woods, where she’s attacked by creatures we’ll soon discover are vicious dogs, which promptly tear her to pieces. It’s a standard enough opening for a horror film, the type of sequence most fans of the genre have seen before. Yet while 2006’s The Breed isn’t the kind of film that’ll “wow” you with its ingenuity, it will, more than likely, entertain you.
Shortly after poor Jenny is mauled to death, a group of twenty-somethings, including brothers Matt (Eric Lively) and John (Oliver Hudson), as well as Sara (Taryn Manning), Nicki (Michelle Rodriguez) and Noah (Hill Harper), make their way to the island. Staying in a cabin once owned by Matt’s ad John’s deceased uncle, the group hopes to spend the next week experiencing a little alcohol-fueled rest and relaxation. Soon after they arrive, the friends stumble upon a cute little puppy, which seems to enjoy hanging out at the cabin. One night, the pup, without warning, runs outside, but when Sarah and John follow it to make sure it’s OK, they’re attacked by a large German Shepherd, which puts a nasty bite on Sara’s leg. Things get even worse the next day when the friends meet up with a bloodied and battered Luke, who warns them about the pack of ferocious dogs that call this island home. After witnessing for themselves just how nasty these canines can be, the five decide to pack it in and head for home, only to find the plane they flew in on is surrounded by dogs. With nowhere to run and nobody coming to help them, the group has no choice but to sit tight and fight it out, hoping to hell they somehow survive this nightmare.
Part of what makes The Breed such a creepy movie are the dogs themselves, which are just as unsettling standing still, watching the lead characters’ every move, as when they’re on the warpath. Along with a handful of effective jump scares, the film generates plenty of tension as the friends, some of whom have been injured, discover they’re surrounded, and unable to venture outside. And while most of the action is presented in a straightforward manner, director Mastandrea does, on occasion, let his creative side show through (a scene where an arrow is fired at an attacking dog is particularly memorable).
Many critics were less than enthusiastic about The Breed. In its negative review, The UK paper The Times said “The Breed is all bite”, a clever way of saying there’s nothing of substance under the surface. Well, sure, but… who cares? Like a good many horror movies, The Breed presents a simple story, but tells it well, and the result is 91 minutes of unbridled fun.