Dylan Dog:
Dead of Night

a film by Kevin Munroe

Based on the Italian-born comic book of the same name (and being a companion piece of sorts to 1994's vastly superior Cemetery Man), Dylan Dog: Dead of Night not only seems like a movie you as a viewer have been dropped in front of halfway through, but also a film that is so poorly made (in just about every conceivable aspect) that you end up not really caring if you miss it altogether. This (possibly inevitable?) failure aside, one does have a critical job to do, so let us move on with why we are all here. Not that it really matters, but let us begin with trying to explain just what this thing is all about.

Dylan Dog is a private investigator who used to specialize in the undead - the vampires and werewolves and zombies that inhabit the city of New Orleans (apparently - and quite inexplicably, at least in the way it is delivered to us in the movie - right under our veritable noses). Due to some shadowy circumstances involving his now-dead fiancée and some rather dubious bloodsuckers, Dylan has left this world of monsters and has taken up spying on cheating husbands and wives for cash. This is where we, the audience, first meet our titular hero. This of course is also where said Mr. Dog is drawn back into his old world of the undead.

Meant to be a jaded Sam Spade kind of character, Brandon Routh is seriously miscast in the title role. Passable as the Man of Steel in Superman Returns (he certainly had the look and physique for such a role) and quite hilarious as Todd, the vegan ex in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Routh cannot do grizzled at all - or at least if he can he decided not to share it with the rest of us. None of this of course stops Routh from giving it his all (he actually has talent, just given the wrong part to play here). An especially humourous aspect of the movie (and I mean that in the most derogatory manner) is Routh's attempt at a tough guy, film noir voice-over.

As for the rest of the cast, Sam Huntington (who coincidentally was Jimmy Olsen to Routh's Clark Kent in the aforementioned Superman reboot) as Dylan's sidekick Marcus (the comic's sidekick is actually a Groucho Marx impersonator, but due to obvious rights issues, said character was replaced in the film version) is passable enough as a new-born zombie while Taye Diggs, as the head of the vampire gang known as the Truebloods (a pathetic attempt at bringing in the HBO crowd perhaps), really has nothing interesting to do in the movie in order to even be considered as doing a good job or bad. Of course director Kevin Munroe's lack of know-how on how to make an interesting action sequence doesn't leave anyone much of anything interesting to do.

Actually the only cast member who seems to be having a good time is Peter Stormare as the head of the werewolf clan. Chewing up the scenery (both figuratively and literally), Stormare's Walkenesque take on the character is the one (and I do mean only one) shining moment in a film that otherwise fizzles to a dull thud over and over again like a moebius strip seemingly used to instill in all its viewers an overwhelming urge to run from the theater, not out of fear but out of sheer boredom. Of course any horror movie set in New Orleans that doesn't even know to use the more than capable surroundings to set an appropriate mood (I mean c'mon, this city was pretty much created to be the setting for horror!) doesn't deserve to get watched anyway. [05/05/11]