Hot Docs 2019: Our Review of ‘Who Let the Dogs Out’

Hot Docs 2019: Our Review of ‘Who Let the Dogs Out’

When aliens eventually touch down on our planet after all human life has been destroyed and they come across an old CD of Baha Men’s 2000 hit single “Who Let the Dogs Out” that has somehow survived the apocalypse, they will either think, “What the hell is this? We need to leave right now,” or, “Hey, these people were pretty cool.” I can’t decide.

In any case, who knew that the song that you will now have stuck in your head for the next week simply because it’s been mentioned has had such an uncertain and controversial background, getting dragged through multiple courtrooms for copyright claims from numerous different artists, producers and DJs who all say they originated the great dog anthem?

Thankfully, a gentleman named Ben Sisto has dedicated almost a decade of his life to figuring out the mystery of where this glorious earworm originated from, amassing a ridiculous collection of “Dog” related merchandise and curious artifacts along the way.

Director Brent Hodge’s documentary is essentially a cinematic version of the live show that Sisto has been touring with for the last few years called “Who Let Who Let the Dogs Out Out”, in which he runs down his research and the timeline of creation for the song to enthusiastic audiences all over the US. Interspersed for the film are interviews with all of the potential authors, making cases for why they believe they were the ones to truly let the dogs out first.

At just an hour long, the film is a brisk and funny investigation into a seemingly inconsequential pop culture relic that proves to be more and more intriguing the deeper the journey goes, eventually teasing ideas about our collective unconscious. You may just become a “Dogs” obsessive yourself.

  • Release Date: 5/2/2019
This post was written by
After his childhood dream of playing for the Mighty Ducks fell through, Mark turned his focus to the glitz and glamour of the movies. He's covered the extensive Toronto film scene for online outlets and is a filmmaker himself, currently putting the final touches on a low-budget (okay, no-budget) short film to be released in the near future. You can also find him behind the counter as product manager of Toronto's venerable film institution, Bay Street Video.
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