Dylan Dog- Dead of Night is DOA

Posted: November 10, 2011 by Dion in Film Review
Tags: , ,

For the month of October, my fiancé
and I try to only watch horror films to celebrate Halloween. I went
on the old Netflix and loaded up the queue with some old and new, so
we would hopefully have a selection of good quality horror to help
balance out all the shit we end up getting, when just relying on a
cool poster and a pithy summary of the film online. One of these sad
atrocities we stumbled over the last week of October happened to be
Dylan Dog: Dead of Night from 2009.

 Now I want to preface this little entry
by saying that I sadly was not aware of the source material, the
Italian comic book; which is disappointing because I am a huge fan of
the sub-sub genre of horror/supernatural/private detectives/monsters.
So for this to escape me up until seeing this film is unfortunate.

The movie stars Brandon Routh as the
title character Dylan Dog, with Taye Diggs, Peter Stormare and Kurt
Angle rounding out the cast of characters that live in the back
alleys and shadows of New Orleans. The original comic evidently takes
place in London, and this is by far the least of the changes that
were made to the script.

Now I don’t remember seeing Routh in
anything since Superman Returns (2006), for which I really
didn’t care at all for his portrayal of the Man of Steel, in my
opinion he played it more like Batman, instead of the friendly and
caring Superman. Though after seeing him in the role of Dylan Dog, I
frankly don’t care to see him in anything else again. To say he did
a horrible job in the role would be an understatement. His
performance was flat, dry, and any other adjective you care to
ascribe. His character is introduced in one of the most clichéd ways
you can do in the private detective genre and the dialogue for the
scene is all bravado for the audience to see how ‘cool’ and
‘tough’ Dylan Dog is. For this entire scene Routh has his hair in
front of his face, looking like the kids from the Twilight movies,
which is annoying as all hell (if you have any questions about this,
see Keanu Reeves in about all of his movies in the 90’s). But the
performance may not entirely be his fault. Routh seems like a real
nice guy and this all could be the result of an extremely bad script,
which brings me to my next point… the script.

Wow was it bad, and I mean horrendous.
Stale, clichéd and forced. At points I was saying the next lines
before even hearing them. First there’s the voiceover; from what I
read, this is present in the original comic, but is darker, Dylan
spouts anti-bourgeois rhetoric, etc. The film’s narration sounds
more like the legendary voiceover Harrison Ford did for Blade
Runner
, doing one tired reading, due to creative conflicts about
the film needing it.

Routh’s narration is so forced
and formulaic it’s untrue. Basically in a nutshell, an (generic)
importer is murdered, which we find out later is by a werewolf. His
daughter hires the tired, arrogant and completely unprofessional
Dylan Dog to investigate the case (he shows up to her house in cargo
pants, a wrinkled bowling shirt and with his hands deep in his
pockets, he looks like some out-of-work graphic designer or college
student). We soon learn that an artifact has been stolen that will
resurrect a long dead winged-demon, which will wreak havoc on the
world to benefit whoever creates it.

Now the film did have some interesting
moments and ideas that didn’t make it a total piece of crap, which
I imagine were leftovers from the original Italian comic.

There are Five wolf families that
control different parts of the city – the one in question that is
involved in the murder runs a meat packing factory as a front; the
zombies hide among us in plain sight, when they are in need of a
spare part go to a chop-shop where instead of cars being cut up for
spare parts, they have body parts for the undead to upgrade; But
sadly, this whole script seems to be a poor copy of Steve Nile’s
“Cal McDonald” stories, even down to having a zombie sidekick. It
is sad to compare it since they were created after Dylan Dog’s
inception in the later 80’s, but it really comes across as if they
wanted to rip off of Nile’s ideas and concepts, instead of staying
true to the original source material.

Actually, one of the stand-outs of the
film was the sidekick character “Marcus”, played by Sam
Huntington, who came off as really funny and lovable; a character
which grows on you as the movie progresses. It becomes hilarious
seeing him dealing with the realization of becoming a member of the
undead.

Peter Stormare does his best as the
head of the wolf clan, trying desperately to deliver this horrible
dialogue as convincingly as he can (a feat mastered years ago by the
legendary Ernest Borgnine. He can make any horrible piece of
exposition sound like Shakespeare!). Kurt Angle is thrown in as brute
force, in a role that someone like ____ would have done well 20 years
ago, and Taye Diggs rounds out the cast as a vampire leader, in a
part which really doesn’t help him in that Oscar nod.

If I may interject a slice of my own
personal philosophy:

It really annoys me that this kind of
stuff gets made and is passed off as art. Also for another argument
or posting for another day, this is a good example of great source
material, turned into utter crap. I’m sure we can list scores of
great books, graphic novels or a comic that the powers that be turn
from 18 carat gold into pure scrap metal. The stuff that turns green
in the shower. Why can’t they just leave well enough alone? And a
bigger question for Internet land is why is this crappy stuff even
getting through the pitching stage, let alone being produced and
made. And why are people feeding money into this never-ending cycle
and helping to promote it, which lets more shit get fed to us and
instead of standing up and saying: “Hang-on a sec, this is a bunch
of crap!”, we just let it pass and before you know it, anywhere we
go, we’re being fed a bunch of shit.

But at the end of the day, the real
people you have to feel sorry for here are the true fans of Dylan
Dog, because they surely suffer the most here, seeing their much
loved comic get turned into a pile of cow dung. And please, don’t
think I don’t sympathize with these fans, I do. I completely
empathize with them. Why is that you ask? For I am the biggest
“Punisher” fan you’ll ever meet.

 

Comments
  1. Peter Faden says:

    You know, as far as your normal blockbuster type movies go, this wouldn’t rank very highly, but as a B movie, this is one of the best. Actually, it kind of rides the line between a movie you’d see at the theater and a movie you would catch on the Sci-Fi network or whatever they call it these days.
    A fair amount of money was put into the production of this movie, and so the effects were actually pretty good. Additionally, the story was both cool and quite fun, and the casting was great in my opinion. Dylan was a good character, his sidekick Marcus was hilarious, and all the various nuances of the world as it is presented were well thought out and appropriate. Like the Zombie Support Group for helping zombies cope with their condition, or the “number 9” at the local greasy spoon.
    I dont see why people had a problem with this. I personally had a blast watching it. I laughed often, and enjoyed it immensely.
    So, my 5 star ranking reflects the type of movie it is, and how well done and appropriate it was for the genre, plus the overall charm of the movie. That’s right, i said charm. It is a quirky, pleasing film.

    Just not a movie for film critics….

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