2012’s “Dogman” is a low budget story around the legend of Michigan's Dogman. The film is directed by Richard Brauer, who does a really good job of navigating the issues of budget when telling this creature-feature. “Dogman” stars Larry Joe Campbell, Mariann Mayberry, Kimberly Guerrero, Stacie Hadgikosti, Tom Cilluffo, Luke Bonczyk, Lynch R. Travis and John Lepard. The film isn’t so much about the actual legend per se, but more about a couple’s farm and small community’s deadly ordeal with the creature. Great horror story premise, with hit and miss execution-budget constraints withstanding.
The story of “Dogman” uses the legend of the creature to create an ominous set-up, with a couple struggling between, what they believe to be the acts of delinquent relatives causing property damage, or some other force terrorizing them. It soon becomes clear just what the situation is, and Brauer uses some classic tricks to tease the creature on camera. Some moments work and others show up on screen as uber-cheap. Budget- I know. The cast, for the most part, give pretty decent performances. Oddly enough the most seasoned among them-Larry Joe Campbell-gives the least convincing performance. The story arc never really falls apart, leaving most of the flubs to technical issues with special effects shots, and inability to create necessary thrills when needed.
The special effects are super low budget, when used, give poor quality and weak performance. Brauer does show prowess in his ability to create some suspenseful moments by leaving a lot of the creature off camera for the most part. Similar to how the werewolf creature in “Silver Bullet” is used. For the most part the actual effectiveness of the film’s horror element comes from melodrama, creepy soundtracks, and the legend of the Dogman. There are better wolf-creature films out there that bring the beast clearly into the terror-zone but “Dogman” does give good story. It hits just below the 50/50 point with me personally.