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Dylan Dog: Dead of Night
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DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT is a new horror/comedy film based on one of the world's most popular comics (60 million copies worldwide). Brandon Routh stars as Dylan Dog, world famous private investigator specializing in affairs of the undead. His PI business card reads "No Pulse? No Problem." Armed with an edgy wit and carrying an arsenal of silver and wood-tipped bullets, Dylan must track down a dangerous artifact before a war ensues between his werewolf, vampire and zombie clients living undercover in the monster infested backstreets of New Orleans.
At a time when it feels odd for a movie to not feature zombies or vampires, genre movies often need a little something extra in the tank to register. The firmly post-Whedon supernatural comedy Dylan Dog: Dead of Night doesn't exactly blaze new trails, but some appealing performances and a nicely off-kilter delivery help it glide over most of the well-trod areas. Based on the long-running comic series by Tiziano Sclavi (which also semi-inspired 1994's majestically loopy Dellamorte Dellamore), the story follows the character of Dylan Dog (Brandon Routh), an ex-paranormal investigator with a history of settling disputes between the warring paranormal factions roaming the streets of New Orleans. After a case involving a beautiful blonde (Anita Briem) reluctantly draws him back into the underworld, he discovers a plot by an upstart vampire (Taye Diggs) to rule and/or destroy the planet. Director Kevin Munroe, an animation veteran, brings a pleasantly cartoony sheen to the proceedings, maximizing his constrained budget to deliver an impressively diverse array of things that go bump in the night. (A scene involving a thrift shop catering exclusively to zombies is a gloppy highlight.) Throw in a winningly understated performance by Routh and a lulu of an extended cameo by a wolfed-out Peter Stormare, and the ingredients are there for a breezily enjoyable gore comedy. Ultimately, what makes Dylan Dog worth seeking out is the presence of Diggs, a fine actor too often suavely constrained. Here, as a double-dealing monster, he goes gloriously unhinged, creating a creature of the night that stands out among the current hordes of mopey cinematic nosferatus. More, please. --Andrew Wright
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You're not even aware. Amongst the unwitting normal folks lurk the creatures of the night, blending in, rubbing elbows with us, reigning in their dark impulses, and so surviving. This is especially true in a place like New Orleans, and a wilder neck of the woods you'll be hard put to find. New Orleans invented "Laissez les bon temps rouler" and "Let your inhibitions go." In N'awlins the monsters effortlessly blend in. And when it's that easy, sometimes a monster slips up. Enough that it shakes Dylan Dog out of his deep doldrums. With some reluctance - but to revenge the savaging of a friend - he takes on a case uptown regarding a girl's murdered father, murdered by a werewolf. Armed with wood- and silver-tipped bullets, Dylan Dog attempts to get to the bottom of things before a war erupts among the werewolf, zombie, and vampire clans, all of whom used to be part of his clientele. Once upon a time, Dylan Dog flashed a business card emblazoned with the jaunty phrase: "No pulse? No problem." That's kinda fly.
DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT is based on the Italian comic book series by Tiziano Sclavi, and if you've had a chance to read the stories, then it'll strike you that the film is a bit of a departure, in that it doesn't quite hold on to the original source's heightened sense of melancholy and surrealism. But the black humor survives for the most part. DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT, if you must categorize it, falls in the realm of horror comedy, in the same vein as CEMETERY MAN. (And, no wonder, as the central character in CEMETERY MAN was also created by Tiziano Sclavi.)
I like this movie, and maybe I should feel guilty about that. But I'm always jonesing for these sorts of pictures. DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT doesn't have the outrageous charm and sheer quotability of, say, ARMY OF DARKNESS, and Brandon Routh certainly doesn't flaunt the iconic appeal of Bruce Campbell. But I thought there were some fantastic touches in DYLAN DOG. I enjoyed the noirish feel and the brisk pace. I appreciated the film's worldbuilding, and Dylan Dog's unique place in it. The film's secret weapon is Sam Huntington whose performance as Dylan's sidekick Marcus serves to lighten the mood. Huntington gets some pretty funny one-liners. The zombie support group sub-plot is damn amusing. I'm rating this film 3.5 out of 5 stars.
I wish that the tone were even darker, and I know, I know, this after my mentioning Huntington's funny contributions. I wish that the story had gone for it more, that it didn't feel so much like a television episode. In Dylan Dog's investigations, he learns that a whole bunch of supernatural creatures are moving heaven and earth to locate the Heart of Belial, a mystic cross-shaped artifact which could - and stop me if you've heard this one before - summon a rampaging demon. That plot device is so old it's at the porch and yelling for the kids to get off its lawn.
Brandon Routh did a good job, I thought. Physically and in youth, he matched the Dylan Dog in the comics. But I wonder how much better the film would've been if the Dog had been played by someone with a more world-weary air about him. If you'd seen CAST A DEADLY SPELL and WITCH HUNT and Fred Ward as private eye Harry Philip Lovecraft, then I don't need to paint a picture. Fred Ward is about as world-weary as it gets, and I don't mean his gristled, broken-down looks. Still, you know what, I don't want to dump on this film too strenuously. Despite my griping, I'm craving a sequel, and if Brandon Routh reprises his role, so be it. It's not the worst thing in the world. (The worst thing in the world is, of course, KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE... or pretty much anything Uwe Boll has directed.)
A fun film with a human lead (Brandon Routh), his sidekick who quickly becomes bitten by a monster, retains his humanity.
There are Zombie support groups and other original elements.
Actor Sam Huntington is incredibly funny.
There are a few scenes that could possibly get a slight twitch (not a full jump), but the film is mostly a monster whodunnit told with snarky sarcasm by the titular character, Dylan Dog. What made this interesting was the idea that Dylan was the one that the monsters called when they were in trouble. At least, he was. Very cute and well worth a watch as long as you don't expect anything serious!
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