Monday, October 24, 2011

Horror Film Review

Dylan Dog - Dead of Night (2010):  Zombie flick!  Sort of.  Vampire flick!  Kind of.  Werewolf flick!  In a way.  Another comic book series brought to the big screen.  The transition worked well for Hellboy.  It worked marginally well for Watchmen.  It works not at all for Dylan Dog, and the reasons why are so obvious that even I could spot them. 

Dylan Dog (Brandon Routh) is a private investigator who used to be an independent keeper of peace for the varied populations of undead in New Orleans.  He retired after his girlfriend was killed by vampires and he consequently destroyed the vampire elders in a fit of rage.  Now, a werewolf is killing humans, including his best friend, so he must come out of retirement to investigate.  He learns that a large crucifix entrusted to the care of a werewolf family is missing.  This crucifix contains the blood of the demon Belial and when injected into a "host," Belial will be reborn and serve its master (whoever did the injecting).

Interesting concept that could have been made into a good movie.  Too bad this isn't it.  I felt off balance watching Dylan Dog, almost like I was watching two movies.  On one hand, you have the serious vampire/werewolf storyline, on the other is the humorous zombie part that isn't humorous enough.  Dylan's best friend Marcus (Sam Huntington) is killed early on, turns into a zombie, and spends the rest of the film in either denial or hysterics.  Got annoying fast.  One bright spot, however, is Taye Diggs as evil vampire mob boss Vargas.  Unfortunately it's not bright enough to chase away all of the mistakes.

 One huge mistake the filmmakers made was failing to incorporate the essence of New Orleans.  They did film there, but you'd never know it.  I thought it was Los Angeles until Dylan mentioned something about where else would the undead live but New Orleans.  Seriously, for what we see, they could have saved the money and shot on a sound stage.  Another mistake is Branon Routh.  Now, I saw him play Superman but don't remember his acting being on par with that of a wooden post.  Here, he not only sounds bored, he also acts bored.  If he doesn't care about what he's doing, why should we? 

The Breakdown

Acting:  Routh is awful, Huntington is over the top, and Diggs is just right.  I sure hope Diggs got the biggest paycheck.
Story:  A mish-mash of ideas that never gels.  Even worse is the lame dialogue.  The jokes are as flat as a steam-rolled zombie.
Direction:  Unfocused and uninspired. 
Production Values:  They spent $20 million to make this movie.  What the hell did they spend it on?
Gore/FX:  Way too little gore for a monster movie.  And do the vampires go up in a cool ball of flame or instantly disintegrate into ash when killed?  Nope.  Just...nothing.  Maddeningly lame.
Scares:  Yeah, right.
The Ending:  We're left with the impression that Dylan Dog is back for good and that his adventures will continue.  Now that is a scary thought.

The Verdict:  Should you see Dylan Dog?  I can't recommend it.  Will you hate yourself for dropping a buck for it down at the Redbox?  Probably not.  It's not a god-awful film.  It's just so much worse than it should have been.

My Rating:  2 out of 5 stars.

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