Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2011)
Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2011)

Genre: Horror Comedy, Fantasy, and Superhero Running Time: 1 hr. 47 min.

Release Date: April 29th, 2011 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Kevin Munroe Actors: Brandon Routh, Anita Briem, Sam Huntington, Taye Diggs, Kurt Angle, Peter Stormare, Laura Spencer, Mitchell Whitfield, Michael Cotter

 


 

I

n New Orleans, Elizabeth Ryan (Anita Briem) joyfully makes dinner when, startlingly, blood begins to drip from the ceiling. Rushing upstairs, she discovers a hairy, clawed monster fleeing from the bloody corpse of her father. The next day, Private Investigator Dylan Dog (Brandon Routh) deals with another angry man, this time the target of one of the sherlock’s secretive photo shoots, exposing a cheating husband. But Dylan knows how to handle himself around irate, gun-toting people; after all, he used to protect the undead creatures of the night, those sharp-toothed monsters only believed to have existed in books and movies. He used to regularly mingle with vampires and zombies and the like.

“My father was killed by some kind of monster!” Although Dylan’s assistant Marcus (Sam Huntington) wants to help Elizabeth, the shamus no longer deals with supernatural cases. And, expectedly, the police don’t believe a word of her story. But when Marcus winds up slaughtered in Dog’s office, bearing the marks of an attack by a vicious beast, Dylan ends up back in the midst of a werewolf homicide.

From the goofy title to the glib film noir narration to the desperate attempts to exude cool at hip nightclubs, the film feels like a low-grade derivation of the “Underworld” series crossed with “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and “Army of Darkness.” In many ways, it also seems to copy the works of Guillermo del Toro (particularly his “Hellboy” films), but in a half-hearted manner. It’s a hard-boiled detective flick filled with insincere violence, a few jump scares, plenty of fistfights, bad one-liners, and a hero who is seemingly invincible – yet with no explanation as to why he can go toe-to-toe against mythological entities. None of the conflicts come across as genuine, partly due to the continual comic relief, and partly because no one behaves as if they believe the nonsensical things in which they’re partaking.

Plus, the film has a comic book vibe, as if to dictate that all these outrageous occult occurrences and monster-hunting references must be accepted by audiences without question; they should already be aware of what they’re getting into. And a few flashbacks create the sense that a previous movie existed, but no one had a chance to see it. As it so happens, “Dylan Dog: Dead of Night” is indeed based on a comic book series (by Tiziano Sclavi), though one that never made it to mainstream renown.

To its credit, numerous sequences utilize amusing makeup and prosthetics, which mostly counteract the other shots full of weak, dated CGI. But the plot is so bland and uninspired that all the gruesome practical effects in the world couldn’t save it from monotony. Even the action sequences toward the climax are tedious, thanks to an inexplicable decision to show only Dylan unleashing firepower in slow-motion – and not the horde of attackers absorbing the bullets. By the end, pointless wirework stunts, ludicrous amounts of unfunny comic relief, Dylan’s senseless ability to withstand excessive amounts of damage, and a smorgasbord of computer-animated magic ruin the bits of fleeting entertainment value.

– Mike Massie

  • 2/10