10 Best Movies Like Neil Marshall's The Lair – Screen Rant

From Predator and Dog Soldiers to Spectral, Cold Skin, and Annihilation, discover the best war-torn creature features like The Lair.
Just in time for Halloween, Neil Marshall returns to the war-torn horror genre with The Lair, a gory creature feature due in theaters on October 28, 2022. The film comes 20 years after Marshall mortified viewers with his feature film debut Dog Soldiers, a rabid and relentless new take on the age-old werewolf formula. Hopefully, Marshall can restore his reputational luster after directing the abysmal Hellboy reboot in 2019.
While many war-set horror movies explore the horrifying psychological ramifications of combat, i.e. Jacob's Ladder and Under The Shadow, The Lair joins a crop of breathless action-packed horror movies featuring brutal monsters and mutated creations that run amok on the battlefield and beyond.
The best and most definitive action-horror movie set during wartime, Predator follows an expert team of U.S. Commandos conducting a dangerous mission in the Central American rainforest. Upon discovering a highly lethal shape-shifting alien with hi-tech weaponry and the ability to camouflage itself in the natural environment, the soldiers begin dropping like flies in ultra-gory manners. It's simply impossible not to think of Predator when watching The Lair, it's that influential.
Thanks to the excellent ensemble led by action superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger, cutting-edge special Predator FX that hold up well today, and superb direction by John McTiernan who knows how to ramp up tension and suspense and understands how to choreograph breathless action scenes, it's easy to see why Predator continues to spawn countless franchise reboots and offshoots.
If Dog Soldiers is any indication, fans are in for a real treat when The Lair opens this Halloween. Marshall's hyper-grisly subversion of the tried-and-true werewolf formula follows a military exercise in the Scottish wild that brutally backfires when a lethal lycanthropic scourge terrorizes a group of unwitting yet wise-cracking soldiers.
Fiendishly ferociously and unforgettably frightening, Dog Soldiers overcomes its shoestring budget through its unpredictable story turns, deeply disquieting doses of violence, and wicked werewolf costume design that fans hope and prey makes some sort of return in The Lair if not an outright Dog Soldiers sequel.
Set during The French Revolution in 1764, Christophe Gans' unnerving creature feature Brotherhood of the Wolf is a must-see for The Lair fans, especially considering how it's based on a true story. The bloody action-horror film concerns a knight and an Iroquois tribe leader sent to investigate a mysterious rash of hundreds of grotesque murders, which are believed to have come from an unidentified predatory creature.
Between the captivating central mystery, epic swashbuckling fight scenes, brooding atmosphere, unremitting carnage, and dazzling combination of practical FX, CGI, puppetry, and animatronics, few war-set horror films manage to weave historical fact with surrealist fantasy in the way Gans does. As such, it's no shock that the movie was restored in 4K for a 2022 Cannes screening.
Although an entire litany of WWII zombie films like Dead Snow and Shock Waves can be cited, fans of The Lair will benefit the most from seeing the Ford brothers' hyper-realistic and deeply alarming and hyper-gory British zombie film The Dead. Set in the West African desert, the story finds a downed U.S. Air Force engineer who survives a plane crash and sojourns across the acrid landscape amid a rapacious horde of flesh-eating ghouls.
Aside from the hot, dusty, arid desert setting, The Dead overcomes its limited budgetary resources to become a sprawling action-adventure story that not only transcends the tramped zombie subgenre with its sobering verisimilitude, but also touches on the corrupt military practices, secret experimentation, and the lasting consequences therein.
Marc Forster's global smash hit World War Z imagines what it would be like if a real viral zombie apocalypse overtook the planet, with the probable manmade virus Solanum backfiring with terrifying unforeseen results. The Lair also concerns a top-secret military experiment gone horribly awry, although it's a much smaller and more intimate action affair.
In terms of a highly entertaining cross-section of violent manmade creatures, grand-scale war, mass hysteria, and the government response to keep them all in check, World War Z is quite simpatico with The Lair. Given the movie's thematic parallels of a viral zombie outbreak to COVID-19, the global blockbuster becomes twice as relevant.
Baskin is an unforgettably unsettling Turkish creature feature that, despite not being set during a war per se, has the same geographical iconography and Middle Eastern lore as The Lair. Moreover, the story tracks a militant coterie of law enforcement officers who fortify themselves with hi-tech weaponry and storm into a mysterious portal full of sinister beings.
Surreal, nightmarish, and extremely graphic in its hellish monster mutations, especially the freaky Frog-faced occultist, those interested in scary Middle Eastern horror films and slow-simmering dishes with an acquired taste need to stuff Baskin on the menu.
Netflix's big-budget sci-fi-horror-action extravaganza Spectral imagines U.S. Special Forces sent to Moldova to deal with rowdy insurrectionists. However, once they arrive, they realize that a lethal supernatural scourge has claimed the land and deemed all human beings the enemy. The result is an all-out war for territorial supremacy, something the characters in The Lair know a thing or two about.
Hailed for its breathless action scenes, slick A-list production values, commanding international ensemble, and for retaining the mystery at the heart of its story, Spectral and The Lair are reminders that nations need to work in unison, not against each other, to solve looming existential threats.
When it comes to the scariest and most effective creature features set during WWI, few can hold a candle to Xavier Gens' Cold Skin. A convention-defying and genre-bucking affair that stands out for its originality, dreadful atmosphere, and graphic carnage, the story takes place in 1914 on the brink WWI where a nameless man is sent to an Arctic outpost to observe the weather.
Instead, what the man finds is a voracious animalistic monster of unknown origin that continues to maraud the landscape and murder everything in sight. With a great performance by Ray Stevenson as the man's accomplice, few war-torn creature features will leave as lasting an impression as Cold Skin.
Alex Garland's trippy hallucinogenic horror-action salvo Annihilation finds a team of female military scientists tasked with entering The Shimmer, a cryptic ecological biome where the laws of physics exist and monstrous mutations abound. Sinister, cerebral, and severely unsettling, few contemporary filmmakers fuse horror and science fiction in more thought-provoking ways than Garland.
Beyond the awesome female empowerment the film champions, the movie has some of the strangest and most disturbing biological curios on display. The head-spinning, jaw-dropping culmination of Lena's decision in the end is sure to leave even the most hardened horror fan in a state of silent shock.
After doing the best to avoid rattling off a litany of scary WWII horror movies, in the end, Overlord has too much in common with The Lair to leave out. Directed with vim and verve by Julius Avery, the story concerns a military unit dropped in a small French village, where they uncover heinous military experiments that have turned soldiers into rabid flesh-starved monsters.
Primarily differentiated by the time period, warring nations, and the semantics used to describe each movie's monsters, Overlord and The Lair both provide visceral thrills and rousing kills while also mixing in social commentary about the perils of war, the rules of engagement, the immoral measures taken to achieve global dominance.
NEXT: 10 Best Zombie Movies, According To Reddit
A Senior List Writer covering a wide array of topics who has been with Screen Rant since September of 2019, Jake Dee has written movie news and reviews since 2008, working primarily with OMG Horror (IGN), JoBlo.com, and Arrow in the Head as a freelance reporter based in Los Angeles. A hopeless cinephile, social media Luddite, certified Nic Cage doppelganger, and a big Weekend At Bernie’s fan, Jake can often be found tucked away in a dark corner watching an old horror movie. Born and raised in California, Jake has a Bachelor’s Degree in Film & Digital Media from the University of California Santa Cruz with an emphasis on theory and criticism, is the author of several “WTF Happened To This Movie” and “WTF Really Happened To This Movie” videos on YouTube, and has covered everything in the entertainment industry from set visits, studio luncheons, and red carpet interviews to wrap parties, movie premieres, private screenings, talent interviews, and more.


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