Welcome to HorrorFest 2009.
This movie's got a wee case of "try-too-hard," and after a while, it sort of runs out of steam, but there's still a lot of "Doghouse" that I enjoyed. I didn't care much for Jake West's first film, "Razor Blade Smile," and I haven't seen his second one, "Evil Aliens," but there's some good stuff in his new film, and it seems to me like he's come a long way in the last decade.
Basically, "Doghouse" is a standard-issue zombie movie with a twist: for some reason, the virus only affects women. West uses that basic idea to set up what should be a wicked indictment of the "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus" culture that exists to seemingly drive the genders apart, and in the moments the film gets that right, it's at its best. When the film is "just" a horror movie, it's a little less successful because of the familiar nature of the material, but West is obviously a fan of the genre, and he fills the movie with little flourishes that keep things lively overall.
At the start of the film, Vince (Stephen Graham) is reeling from a recent divorce, and his mates decide they're going to take him for a holiday weekend in search of some dirty, uncomplicated sex. One by one, as each of them is introduced, we see how they are henpecked or compromised by the women in their lives, and how they use their friends as a chance to vent about their feelings.