Review: DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT (2011) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 19 June 2011


RATING: 0.5/5

Paranormal investigator! Werewolves! Vampires! Zombies! It's a mix of detective story and monster movie styled in a film noir template. And it's also based on Italian's Tiziano Sclavi's beloved 25-year-old comic book fantasy series. At the first glance, DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT looks like an exciting genre mishmash. I mean, why not? But unfortunately, this Hollywood version is a gigantic hoot. In fact it's such a hoot that fans and critics have furiously trashed the movie for betraying its source material when it opened on the Italian territory back on March 2011.

Dylan Dog (Brandon Routh) is once an infamous New Orleans paranormal investigator who hunts "the creatures of the night" (werewolves, vampires and zombies). But after the tragic death of his girlfriend, Dylan has been laying low ever since and he only takes a routine detective job that has nothing to do with paranormal investigation. However his dark past catches up upon him when a client named Elizabeth (Anita Briem) needs his help to investigate the murder of her wealthy father, who is killed by a werewolf. At first Dylan refuses to accept the case until the death of his partner-in-crime, Marcus (Sam Huntington) subsequently made him change his mind. As he takes up the case, he begins to discover that Elizabeth's father was a collector of antiques. One of the antiques he possessed was an artifact called "the Heart of Belial", which has been missing for 400 years and whoever has the thing able to unlock a powerful demon. Among the suspects Dylan is nosing around includes werewolf leader named Gabriel (Peter Stormare) and his son Wolfgang (wrestler Kurt Angle), as well as vampire leader named Vargas (Taye Diggs) -- all of them are old enemies back in the past. On the other side, Marcus is back from the dead and becomes a zombie, in which he has tough time trying to readjust his new lifestyle (e.g. consuming maggots).

Joshua Oppenheimer and Thomas Dean Donnelly's adapted screenplay is awfully generic, which is too bad because the movie has a potential that rivals the somewhat similar CONSTANTINE (2005) big screen adaptation. The storyline is frequently suffered from lame voiceover by Brandon Routh, as well as it's heavy on long-winded exposition and the dialogues are mediocre.

Cast-wise, Brandon Routh has the physical appearance but like SUPERMAN RETURNS (1996), his wooden acting is the biggest culprit that occasionally made him a weak anti-hero worth investing for. Faring equally worst is Sam Huntington whose motormouth appearance is so annoying that he's hardly amusing at all. In fact his character could have been eliminated altogether. Anita Briem delivers a mostly thankless role whose appearance only has a glimpse of hope when her character is revealed in the climactic finale, but then again it's all too late and too little. As for the villains, both Peter Stormare and Taye Diggs are all standard-issue, forgettable characters.

But of all the unforgivable flaws, the dreadful failure of this movie lies on the incompetent hands of director Kevin Munroe (2007's TMNT). As his first live-action feature movie, his direction is pedestrian and he doesn't seems to have a clue what makes a genre mishmash as potentially exciting as DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT could have worked better. Instead he throws everything in the mix and flushes them in such a cluttered mess that there's hardly anything worth mentioning for. The action? They are so unimaginative and hardly exciting at all. If that's not insulting enough, the special effects are TV-level standard, with rubber-looking monsters all over the place.

DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT is a waste of time. No wonder the movie has been shelved since last year and only sees a glimpse of light in theatrical release (it should have been dumped as a direct-to-DVD release instead!). And for the record, this one fares as among the worst comic-book movie ever made in recent memory.

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