The adventures of supernatural private eye, Dylan Dog, who is retired but lured back to action when monsters in the Louisiana bayou start to make trouble in an attempt to conquer the Earth. Of course, this is all done in his signature red shirt, black jacket, and blue jeans.
Welcome acolytes! It seems to have been eons since I’ve posted a review here at Horrornews.net. Not for lack of desire mind you, I’ve just been a bit busy & I needed a bit of a break afterwards to take care of some personal matters here in the mausoleum. But I’m back & ready to regale all of you with my opinion of “Dylan Dog: Dead Of Night”, which I’m thinking of retitling as “Dylan Dog: Dead On Arrival”.
Most if not all of you are familiar with the character from the best selling Italian comic book written by Titiano Sclavi. Over there Dylan Dog is as big as Superman is over here. Fans of the comic hold the character in high regard & I would imagine they were looking for a faithful adaptation to the comic. As least as faithful as the previous attempt at a Dylan movie, Michele Soavi’s “Dellamorte Dellamore”. I’m afraid they won’t be too satisfied with this “Americanization” of the character at all. Firstly, the movie takes place in Louisiana, not London as in the comic. Secondly, it seems that the producers, writers & director didn’t really take a lot of time to bone up on the in’s & outs of what makes the character so popular in Italy because a lot of what makes him so special in Italy is completely ignored here. The most egregious error being that his sidekick, Groucho, has been replaced by a especially irritating character by the name of Marcus (Sam Huntington in an especially grating performance). Groucho is part of what makes the comic so idiosyncratic, without him a whole dimension is peeled off of the character of Dylan. A dimension that is sorely missing here in this film.
Dylan is played by Brandon “Superman Lives” Routh & I really need to know..what is it about this guy? He literally cannot act. His facial features never change once during the film. He never registers surprise or fear in his steely visage. He just sort of smirks in a most annoying manner. Every so often he opens his eyes wide but that isn’t acting is it? If it is, then The Black Saint has to get himself an agent pronto as my eyes bulge the f*ck out of my head every month come mortgage time. In addition, the film is narrated by Routh as well. It’s like the producers thought they were making a Bogart movie & they had someone of Bogart’s pedigree doing all of the heavy lifting. They didn’t. Routh’s narration is monotone & the hackneyed script is full of lines that simply don’t sound the least bit menacing or meaningful coming out of his mouth. The man simply cannot act, although he does look a lot like the comic character does.
And the script! Oh, let’s talk about the script here for a sec or two. There are times when I see a movie & I mutter to myself “Nice Homage” or something of the sort. I don’t mind a script being derivative as long as it’s entertaining and it acknowledges it’s (True) origins. But the script for this film cribs scenes & ideas from so many different films (Blade, Underworld, Beetlejuice, Men In Black, Constantine, Legend, The Godfather & The Big Sleep) & TV shows (True Blood in particular gets really ripped off in this film) that it almost immediately turned me off. I just cannot respect such wanton thievery from so many films in a script that is (Ostensibly) based on such a revered character. There is so much the script could have done with Dylan, but screenwriters Thomas Dean Donnelly & Joshua Oppenheimer were either too lazy or too desperate to craft a halfway decent script. They just didn’t care & it shows. Fuck, I could go on but why bother? They certainly didn’t…
Besides the wooden Routh & the (Supremely annoying) Huntington, the acting is decent. Nothing marvelous, but decent. Taye Diggs manages to make the role of Vargas, a renegade vampire halfway interesting, even referring to his fellow vamps as “Y’all” at one point during a speech to them, which I thought was pretty interesting. It made me want to know more about his character & where he came from. But that would’ve been too hard for the screenwriters to do I suppose. It’s all very sad considering that Diggs has tons of charisma & I think he could’ve done a lot more with this role if the script had let him. Peter Stomare has a sort of extended cameo in the film as a “Boss Werewolf” that he also makes far more interesting than the film deserves. Pro Wrestler Kurt Angle(!) also has a small role as his son and although he is as wooden as a tree with his line readings, he has a nice little fight scene in the middle of the film & even manages a smile at the end that seems almost genuine…almost.
The film wants to be a sort of “Monster Mash” so it throws in all sorts of beasties but none of them are particularly scary. As a matter of fact the film isn’t the least bit frightening although there is a sort of “Super Zombie” that was kind of cool. It’s more of a comedy which wouldn’t hurt so bad if it was funny….but it ain’t. Huntington mugs & screams throughout the entire film as if he’s hopped up on some illegal drugs & it simply doesn’t work. He’s so irritating that I just tuned him out 1/3 of the way through the movie. He became irrelevant to me as did the rest of the film. The special effects are mostly serviceable but there is some piss poor (but infrequently used) CGI tossed in as well just to make me more angry. I’ve seen better CGI work on my XBOX360. It’s that bad.
The plot? I’m not going to bother. Just go back to where I referenced all the films this flop cribbed ideas from & work it out for yourselves. It’ll be easy, believe me. The screenwriters didn’t care so I’m not going to bother you with it either. Suffice it to say that there are way too many unfunny jokes, uninspired characters & absolutely no payoff in the end. Nothing to make you feel a little bit better about spending your $12 dollars at the box office like the producers hope you do this weekend. But in all of their wisdom, The studio behind this atrocity (Hyde Park) is releasing this film on the same weekend as “Fast Five”, the latest in the (Inexplicably popular, at least to me) “Fast & The Furious” series. Which, last I checked, is on pace to make $35 million dollars today (Friday)! As a matter of fact, I had to travel about 25 miles to find a theater even playing “Dylan Dog” & when I got there it was playing in the smallest of the 20 theaters in the multiplex. There were 4 people in the theater…FOUR PEOPLE. That’s including me. The projectionist even turned up the house lights five minutes before the movie ended. I guess he didn’t care either. No one will.
The Black Saint is giving “Dylan Dog: Dead Of Night” one dusty shroud & that’s only because Diggs tried so hard to make something of his character. He deserved better than this atrocity which is the current front runner for worst movie of the year. By the way, the film was directed by Kevin Munroe whose previous directorial effort was the last “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” film. That was an animated film & it had a better script & better acting than “Dylan Dog”. Let me say it again..it was ANIMATED & it had better ACTING & a better SCRIPT than “Dylan Dog: Dead On Arrival”. My title is far more apt for this movie. If you’re a fan of the comic, stay far away. You will be incensed. If you’re curious, wait till it’s DVD release, which should be in about 2 weeks judging from the crowd I saw it with…
Dylan Dog: Dead Of Night (2011)