I looked forward to the release of Brian Yuzna's "Rottweiler." Why? The plot, for starters. "Rottweiler" is a movie about a murderous robotic dog chasing an escaped prisoner through the Spanish countryside. Fun! But even more importantly, the movie comes from the warped mind of Brian Yuzna, a man who needs little introduction to the hardcore horror aficionado. His filmography, as either director or producer, reads like an honor roll of cult horror flicks. He's been involved in "Re-Animator" and its sequels, the seriously deranged "From Beyond," "Return of the Living Dead 3," "Warlock," "Dagon," and the hilariously gory camp classics "The Dentist" and "The Dentist 2." Yes sir, Brian Yuzna knows how to deliver the sauce in a way that most directors and producers try to avoid in order to secure a friendlier 'R' rating at the theater. Then again, most of Yuzna's films nowadays, and this includes "Rottweiler," are unlikely to appear within a hundred miles of a theater. It's purely straight to video schlock here, folks. And unfortunately, it's not great schlock but rather a middling affair that occasionally rises to the level of entertaining despite several serious flaws. Yuzna can, and has, done much better before.
I'm not exactly sure what I got with "Rottweiler." The storyline is, to say the least, a bit on the murky side. Yuzna's movie opens with the information that the year is 2018 and the location is an immigration control zone somewhere in Spain. We see a badly beaten chap writhing on the floor of a prison cage. This unfortunate wretch is Dante (William Miller), obviously the main character of the film. After receiving a beating by a vicious prison guard outside of the van, a distraction allows him to escape into the woods. Regrettably, he's chained to another prisoner who quickly falls prey to the titular dog, a Rottweiler sporting metal teeth and glow in the dark eyes. Thanks to the dog ripping this poor yutz to pieces, Dante is able to flee and begin what turns out to be a long, looooooong journey through the Spanish countryside. The vicious prison guard recaptures our hero only to lose him again in a spray of bloody carnage. Dante then meets up with a trio of drug traffickers, one of whom lives to regret the fact that he stole the prisoner's boots. Then there's a very painful scene at a riverbank where Dante, exhibiting far more of his physical form than I wanted to see, battles the robotic dog.
On and on it goes, as the prisoner meets various people only to see them die horribly at the hands...er, paws...of the Rottweiler terminator. As the film progresses, we learn through a series of flashbacks exactly why Dante is in this threatening predicament. He and his girlfriend Ula (Irene Montala) attempted to sneak into Spain on a boat but found themselves in the clutches of the evil Kufard (Paul Naschy). Ula performed a service to obtain their freedom, quite a service considering Kufard's sleazy personality, but somehow the situation backfired. Dante doesn't remember the specifics, at least not initially, but his memories become clearer as his journey takes him closer and closer to the place where he and his gal ran into trouble. Helping him come to terms with his horrible experiences are several surreal apparitions, one of whom is the prisoner he watched die after his escape, that pop in to say hello and also to drop cryptic hints about his unremembered past. Even the deceased prison guard shows up from time to time, whether to torment our hero or help him I wouldn't know. "Rottweiler" is often more confusing than it ought to be considering it's really a low budget piece of schlock.
While I enjoyed certain parts of the movie, namely the gore and the psychotic dog, most of what I saw here left a bad taste in my mouth. The acting isn't anything to write home about and, since the film used Spanish actors, most of the dialogue is dubbed into English--and not in a way that makes you laugh at unintentionally hilarious lines. I also had a serious problem with the backstory. Who exactly is Kufard and why is he doing what he's doing? Why did Dante and Ula attempt to sneak into Spain? What was the importance of that lady and her daughter Esperanza? "Rottweiler" tries to provide a few answers to a couple of the questions I had, such as mentioning something about Dante and Ula coming into the country because of some game, but it doesn't make much sense. For that matter, considering the surreal aspects of the movie, I'm not sure I can believe even these few explanations. I had hopes that the movie would be a straightforward, unmitigated gorefest involving a group of young airheads trying to flee from some experimental type pooch with a bad attitude. "Rottweiler" is not that film. It's not even as gory as it could have been, although the chewed up bodies, torn out throats, and a beheading did at times provide a boost to the lagging pace.
The DVD contains several supplements, none of them very noteworthy. We get extremely short interviews (a minute or two at most) with William Miller, Irene Montala, the guys who created the animatronic dog, and director of photography Javier Salmones. There are trailers for "Premonition," "Faust," "The Devil's Rejects," "Dagon," "Alien 3000," "Arachnid," and "Zodiac Killer." Rounding out the underwhelming extras section is some behind the scenes footage that isn't that interesting. I'll give "Rottweiler" three stars since I think it's intriguing enough to watch once, but Yuzna's latest film is strictly a so-so affair that only avid horror fans will want to pick up. All other viewers should stick to the Dentist films and "Return of the Living Dead 3."