D’you like dogs? Lovers of man’s favourite four-legged friend (suck it, cats!) need not apply to this Fido-fearing crime thriller, which racks up quite the canine bodycount during its time. Those who aren’t so keen on dogs may want to swerve too, as this particular pooch is more Cujo than Marley & Me.
When three criminals lie low at an apparently abandoned warehouse, the last thing they expect is to be cornered by a slathering bloodthirsty hound, turning this low-budget genre flick into a literal take on Reservoir Dogs. But without the reservoir. There’s also only one dog.
The hoodlums aren’t the only one in for a surprise – who could have expected Adrien Brody, John Malkovich, Rory Culkin and Antonio Banderas from a low-rent killer dog movie? While none of the above are doing their best work here, just their mere presence makes up for the otherwise meagre action and cheap visuals. The story is never sure what it’s supposed to be, nor what tone it’s going for, but the mere presence of Malkovich classes the joint up, and he gets the film’s best moments, most notably during an extended anecdote in which, ironically, he doesn’t even appear.
The film’s more unusual touches impress far more than its perfunctory action beats and weirdly underused dog, only really coming to life during the dog flashbacks and when the criminals sit down and tell their stories. Sadly, there isn’t enough of either, and the film flip-flops between intense dog horror film and offbeat crime thriller. Of everyone, Brody tries hardest with what he’s given, but he’s still outshone by a slumming-it Malkovich and a half-assing it Banderas.
In spite of the promise it shows, Bullet Head comes up less than the sum of its parts, largely wasting great actors and a strong conceit on a muddled story and a threat that never feels real or urgent. It has its quality chunks, but it’s a bit of a dog’s dinner.
BULLET HEAD / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: PAUL SOLET / STARRING: ADRIEN BRODY, ANTONIO BANDERAS, JOHN MALKOVICH, RORY CULKIN, ALEXANDRA DINU, ORI PFEFFER / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Expected Rating: 7 out of 10