Directed by Nicholas Mastandrea, starring Michelle Rodriguez, Oliver Hudson, Taryn Manning, Eric Lively and Hill Harper.

Since her debut in 2000's 'Girlfight', Michelle Rodriguez may not have tested her range too much on the big screen but she has established herself as an action movie star. She's appeared in 'The Fast and the Furious', 'Resident Evil', 'Swat' and 'BloodRayne'. Now, after a stint on 'Lost', Rodriguez stars in 'The Breed', one of those B-movies which, while not living up to its full potential, does prove to be effective.

Having been left a beautiful wooden retreat on a remote island, at loggerheads brothers John and Matt (Hudson and Lively) invite friends Nicki (Rodriguez), Sara (Manning) and Noah (Harper) to their new pad for the weekend. John is clever but a slacker while Matt is studying for his finals as a vet - and the tensions between them aren't helped by the fact that Nicki used to be John's girlfriend and now goes out with Matt.

But what looks like a chance for some relaxation and bridge rebuilding turns nasty very quickly when the quintet discover they've got company. On the other side of the island there's an old facility which was used for training security dogs. A rabies outbreak meant that all the animals were ordered to be put down - but they missed a few.

A second unit director on such films as 'Walk the Line', 'Blow' and 'Scream 3' , Mastandrea's feature directing debut will get some nods of approval from horror movie fans. The pacing is tight, there's tension in the set pieces and the villains are good. Something like 'Zombie Flesh Eaters' on four legs-meets-'Assault on Precinct 13', 'The Breed' shows that a small budget is no object for creating a good horror and the film's energy levels stay high throughout.

Once again Rodriguez shows that she's happy to roll the sleeves up and while her character could've been given more to do and the film could've been longer - no small compliment in today's horror world - this is enjoyable to the point of deserving another watch on DVD.

Harry Guerin