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Review: WHO LET THE DOGS OUT (2019) – SFFF 2019

The music world is filled with questions and controversies. The whole “Paul is dead” phenomenon. The possibility that Charles Manson killed Bobby Fuller, Was Jim Sullivan abducted by aliens? But the greatest mystery of all may be who really let the dogs out? Seriously. The Baha Men made Who Let The Dogs Out a worldwide hit, but they weren’t the first to record it. And the tangled mess of claims and lawsuits behind it is a place even lawyers fear to tread.

However, when Ben Sisto noticed a missing last name in the song’s Wikipedia entry, he couldn’t resist diving in. After all, as he says, he had no job and no partner at the time. So why not find out who the mysterious hairdresser named Keith really was?

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As it turns out Kieth is Keith Wainwright, proprietor of a London salon Smile and stylist to the stars. But that was just the start of what turned into an obsessive quest into the background and origins of Who Let The Dogs Out.

Directed by Brent Hodge (The Cockumentary, A Brony Tale) and tied together by excerpts from Sisto’s live show, Who Let The Dogs Out is a fun and breezy little film. It runs a fast 65 minutes and even when dealing with legal technicalities it never bogs down. It follows the song’s hook, “Who let the dogs out? Woof, woof, woof, woof, woof” through a maze of people and incarnations to what may be a surprising origin.

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The cast of interviewees includes hairdressers, performers, record producers, radio personalities lawyers, and a high school football coach. So there’s all manner of views and ideas tossed about in Who Let The Dog Out, despite its short running time. Almost as many as there are versions of the song. All tied together by the same hook.

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Who Let the Dogs Out is as much about the creative process and the unlikely path the song took to become a hit than anything. And thankfully, it never turns into a dreary lesson in copyright law.

Who Let The Dogs Out will play November 20th at this year’s Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival.

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