Play At Your Own Risk: The Breed (2006)
Review by Marc Patterson
We’ve all been in the same situation: a movie night, perusing through Netflix not wanting to see the same thing that you’ve seen a hundred times already. Sometimes all you have to go on is cover art and you wonder if it’s safe to play that film with the interesting cover art. Play At Your Own Risk: A Netflix Advisory is the column that will tell you whether or not it’s worth the risk on the most interesting cover art in the horror genre of the Instant Netflix library.
Netflix doesn’t always get it right. In the past I’ve seen them give a two-star rating to a film I thought was easily a four, and vice versa. They generate that star rating around an algorithm based on my past ratings of other films, films that should be similar, but as we know – not all slashers are created equal and just because I loved Bloody Birthday doesn’t mean I’ll equally love Cannibal Campout. Theoretically, the more films you rate, the better Netflix gets to know you and the more accurate their recommendations will be to your tastes. Sometimes it works. Many times it doesn’t. (Just wait until your kids get into your account and start watching copious amounts of Curious George and Ruby Gloom. Yeah, things can get sketchy real fast).
This past weekend I was there – looking for something to piss away a rainy afternoon with. Along came this beauty, The Breed.
What is The Breed? It’s direct-to-video film from Wes Craven, released in 2006, that stars Michelle Rodriguez and Taryn Manning. These two hot tamales are the girls in a gaggle of guys who are off to spend a long weekend of partying at a cabin on a remote island. The cabin belongs to John and Matt (Oliver Hudson and Eric Lively, respectively), two brothers who don’t even get a last name in this cheap script. Along for the ride is the token black guy Noah (Bill Harper). What these five don’t know is that recently a pack of ferocious blood-thirsty dogs have taken over the island. They’ve got a ravenous appetite for human flesh and are hell bent on turning this otherwise booze-fuelled weekend of pleasure into the weekend from bloody pits of hell.
Before I get ahead of myself I want to get straight down to business. I ask that you don’t get me wrong with the “token black guy” quip. I mentioned that quite intentionally. In fact, this whole film is brimming with racial slurs. It starts when Noah busts on John for target shooting his bow and arrow, as a “white guy” thing to do. Then later we cut to an injured Michelle Rodriguez who reaches for a bottle of Tequila, to ease her pain (while the rest of the cabin is stocked with beer and wine). It literally ends with Noah doing a “Yo Yo Yo” trippin’ out routine, so embarrassingly cliche, after the dogs start attacking them. I was floored. I’ve seen a film pander to stereotypes, but holy fuckballs!
Let’s quit dwelling on the negative and inject this review with a little levity, shall we? Let’s talk about blood, guts, nudity, and of course – those beasts. Sadly, The Breed features no nudity, and very little gore, albeit a semi-shocking impalement, though there are a couple tortuous scenes where the dogs are ripping humans apart limb from limb (such a savage way to go). The one thing I did truly enjoy about this flick was the dogs. They were real badasses, like Pound Puppies jacked up on too many bath salts. They were goddamned vicious little fuckers that you couldn’t keep down if you tried.
I also liked that the film didn’t go with the whole supernatural angle. The plot remained grounded in the real. That said, you might have some hesitation if you’re an animal lover. Because these animals weren’t a bunch of shapeshifting psychopaths you can expect plenty of scenes featuring dogs getting battered with baseball bats, shot with arrows, etc. If animal cruelty isn’t your bag, then you best look elsewhere. Obviously no real animals were harmed, but PETA wouldn’t fuckin’ know that.
The Final Score: If you’re looking for cheap thrills then you’ve found the perfect film to piss away your Saturday afternoon with. Personally speaking (as if this whole review wasn’t), The Breed was overly formulated and predictable to a “T”, the kind of film where you can quote lines before they are uttered. The jump scares were so ineffective they wouldn’t even raise the hair on your grandmother’s arm, and the plot laughable by even horror light standards. I thought I might have been getting a terse Wes Craven flick with some decent brand name actors, but what I really got was a total dud. The Breed has Sci-Fi Channel written all over it. Netflix told me it’d be a three star film. I’m giving it a generous two stars because Michelle Rodriguez is a total badass hottie and those dogs made for some killer villains.