A detective works with and against various types of undead New Orleans residents to solve a murder in Dylan Dog: Dead of Night, a low-budget horror and action movie based on a comic book.
At least, I hope it’s low-budget — it looks and feels like a movie made with a few low-limit credit cards and somebody’s leftover Halloween make-up.
Dylan Dog (Brandon Routh) is a down-market private investigator, mostly following cheating spouses and the like. But soon we learn that he was once a kind of sheriff for the undead — keeping the zombies, vampires and werewolves that call New Orleans home in line and from encroaching too much on the human world. But a mysterious something happened that resulted in the death of his fiancée and his leaving that world behind. That is until a client, Elizabeth (Anita Briem), asks him to look into the death of her father. He quickly decides that out-of-the-ordinary forces are involved and turns down the case. But then those forces kill his partner Marcus (Sam Huntington) and Dylan decides, since there’s a movie happening and all, he’s got to get involved. We then begin the hunt through the underbelly of the city: werewolves like Gabriel (Peter Stormare), vampires like Vargas (Taye Diggs) and zombies like, well, as it turns out Marcus wasn’t so much “killed” as “made dead,” which is, as Dylan explains, a manageable condition.
Dylan Dog is a cute idea — and, no, I’m guessing “cute idea” is not the quote you’re going to see on the back of the DVD box, which may actually be on shelves by, like, the time you read this. This movie feels like it had half-hearted support in the beginning of its development and then absolutely none during its actual production, thus you have recognizable actors like Routh and Diggs but very hokey-looking monsters and special effects. And Routh is not the kind of guy who can carry a movie like this without some backup. Cheez-Whiz dialogue and rubber mask-level effects only highlight what an empty-suit actor he can be. I can imagine someone like a Sam Rockwell or a Bruce Campbell making this work as a B-movie goof. Or, with better production value and supporting characters that aren’t as cardboardy (Briem in particular) I could see Routh making this work for a very fun USA Network series. As it stands, though, this movie will make a moderately OK piece of entertainment to fall asleep to when it shows up in the Free Movies section of your On Demand. C-
Rated PG-13 for sequences of creature violence and action, language including some sexual references and some drug material. Directed by Kevin Munroe and written by Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer (from the comic book by Tiziano Sclavi), Dylan Dog: Dead of Night is an hour and 47 minutes long and distributed by Freestyle Releasing.