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Like Dogs (2021)

'Like Dogs' is a 2021 low budget indie horror movie from writer and director Randy Van Dyke. I came across this movie upon one of my many late night endless scrollings through one of the many over saturated streaming services. And seeing its low score and critical reception, my ego took over and I thought to myself "I'll be the judge of that".


The premises is pretty self-explanatory, a man and a woman find themselves unwilling participant's in an experiment in which their captures treat them like dogs. And in all honesty, as simplistic as it may sound, it is actually a really interesting premise, one that has plenty of twists and turns along the way. Just as you finally begin to think you have a grasp on what is happening, 'Like Dogs' completely flips its narrative and goes in a totally different direction. It's a real shame that the execution of this movie wasn't done to a higher standard, as I think this could have been something to remember amongst horror fans.


Director Randy Van Dyke showcases his talent as a director and a writer with a solid script and some rather competent camera work. With great framing of shots and naturally flowing editing, this is visually a well above average movie within the indie horror market. Taking into consideration the the low budget and the overall constraints that must come with making a movie on a shoe string budget, I think he certainly deserves credit on those merits alone. I would be interested to see what he could produce with this idea on a Hollywood level production.


The cast is quite honestly terrible. The two leads Lisa, played by Annabel Barret and Adam, played by Ignacyo Matynia, have some of the worst on screen chemistry I've seen in some time. I really struggled to invest in either of them on an emotional level. Their individual terrible delivery of every word of dialogue isn't even something you could put down to poor writing as the script is rather solid. A more competent cast could have quite easy injected more believability with little ease. The small supporting cast around them are equally just as underwhelming and really hold this film back. Shay Denison who plays Erika, borderlines on the edge of spoof territory with her overly accentuated facial expressions and almost forth wall breaking line delivery.


As someone who is strongly against the use of jump scares in horror movies that don't warrant its use or payoff, I was surprised to see myself finding this one of the strongest elements of 'Like Dogs'. And just to clarify, I don't think this applause deserves to go to the writer and director, but to Rene G. Boscio, an L.A based musician who orchestrated the score to this movie. His incredibly well-timed crescendo that follows his well constructed eerie build up was something I found myself in awe of throughout this production. His talents alone outshine anything this movie has to offer and is worth watching for this reason alone.


Overall, 'Like Dogs' isn't a movie I begrudge spending 1 hour and 30 minutes of my life watching. It has some really interesting ideas that I feel put in the right hands could really be something special. This movie is a perfect example of why I spend my time trudging through the horror movie barging bin trying to find that diamond in the rough. And although this isn't quite the diamond I was looking for, it has enough of a glimmer for me to know that my efforts are not all in vain. This is a movie I would definitely recommend to those of you who can see past the overall execution and see the vision that was intended for it.


💀💀1/2



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