Like Dogs starts with a young woman being kidnapped in broad day light. When she awakens, Lisa finds herself chained to a kennel by the neck. The only communication from her captors is one sided commends not dissimilar to how one usually speaks to a dog. As the days drag on, she then meets Alex. Another captive who seems to be just as in the dark as her. They form a bond while planning a way to get free. Things take turn as we learn more about what is going on and who is exactly in charge.
When all is said and done, Like Dogs is an effective enough thriller even if it’s trying to be too many things at once. And ultimately, that’s what hurts the overall film the most. Almost all the of the issues stem from having too many ideas with no time to let any of them really shine. The story itself is easy to follow but then twist after twist gets thrown out, making it harder to suspend belief which is paramount in the thriller if you want the viewer to be invested.
One area that Like Dogs doesn’t suffer too hard from is the acting itself, even if the script is lacking. Lisa (Annabel Barrett) gives it her all and in turn makes her a watchable lead. She’s able to maintain that momentum even as the movie runs on and the situation changes and changes again. Adam (Ignacyo Marynia) plays the opposite Lisa with earnest. You can’t help but feel for the guy as he tries his best to make it though this tough situation with his sanity and life intact. Rounding out the main cast is Erika (Shay Denison) and George (Ryan Q. Tran), both have their own reasons for being involved and the actors convey those reasons well.
The problem with the script is that it’s written in a way the either makes it seem like we’re missing a decent chunk of the movie, or they were given a strict runtime and told to not remove any plot. No matter the reason, you’ll be left saying “wait…what?!” more than once. From motivations to timelines, it’s all just kind of muddled.
From a technical standpoint, Like Dogs wasn’t too bad. The sound work was mostly solid, with only moments where the dialog was tough to make out. The soundtrack is unintrusive, nothing really stood out or was memorable. The same can be said for the cinematography and lighting. Neither is out right bad, but it didn’t really jump out as particularly well done. I will say that one decision they made for the better was the lighting. Everything was well lit, and the outdoors scenes were shot in the day. A lot of film makers equate dark to scary, and to a degree this can be true, but when it’s too dark to see anything that can be a problem.
Going into Like Dogs blind is the choice way to watch it. While the ambition is there to create something new, there’s just too much going on without the means to match. What’s delivered is an okay thriller that doesn’t break new ground really, but it also isn’t so bad that it could become a drinking game. That is this film’s biggest problem. It’s just there. Not ridiculous enough for a laugh but not serious enough to be tense.
6 out of 10