Director – Kevin Munroe
Cast – Brandon Routh, Sam Huntington, Peter Stormare, Anita Briem, Taye Diggs, Kurt Angle, Andrew Sensenig, James Hébert, Kent Jude Bernard
Release Year – 2011
Reviewed by John of the Dead
When word hit that there would be a live-action adaptation of the Dylan Dog story, a popular Italian comic series from the mid-1980s (which Cemetery Man is a spinoff of), I thought to myself, “Great, another iconic horror story ruined by Hollywood”. The film suffered a limited release that did nothing to aid its poor critical reviews, but I still went into this piece hoping to enjoy it and that is exactly what happened. Yes, that is right, I enjoyed this one. Sure it ventures from the original storyline and does not give us anything we haven’t seen, but Dylan Dog: Dead of Night was a fun and well-crafted effort that gave me pleasing results despite what the “critics” say.
Brandon Routh(Superman Returns) stars as Dylan Dog, a supernatural private eye who has since left his supernatural doings and now focuses on private investigation. When he receives a call from a woman whose father was brutally murdered by a werewolf, Dylan sees the need to go back to his old ways and save the city of New Orleans from a war between warring monsters who have grown tired of hiding in the dark.
I will admit now that I am not overly familiar with the entire Dylan Dog series, as I have not read every issue or any of the “specials” and am mostly reviewing this piece as a film of its own, not an adaptation of previous work. From the other reviews I have read it seems the film is constantly lambasted by the writers comparison of the film to the original work, and while I may touch base on that slightly and tell you the differences I noticed, this review is not a compare and contrast, but a simple review of this horror film.
For starters, I love the Dylan Dog storyline of a paranormal investigator taking on the monsters that hide within his city, New Orleans (London in the comic series). While cliché and overused in the superhero sub-genre, Dylan Dog left his work as a paranormal investigator for a reason, but as usual the work of a hero catches up to you and he is forced to once again take on the monsters that blend in with mankind so easily, but this time the stakes are higher. There is a war brewing between werewolves and vampires, and Dylan Dog’s journey to keep the warring parties at bay takes us for a joyride through many different elements of horror, such as zombies and the lore behind werewolves and vampires, all with favorable results and that Dylan Dog “wit” that fans love. Numerous action scenes adorn this piece, giving us plenty of monster ass-kicking and the kicking of monster ass via a crafty arsenal at Dylan’s disposal, namely a sweet revolver often loaded with bullets designed to take down certain types of monsters. His sidekick, Marcus(Sam Huntington; Superman Returns), provides most of the comic relief for this film, giving us non-stop dimwitted actions that eventually result in him becoming part of the undead, which only furthers the comic relief he provides. Some may balk at the usage of Marcus instead of Dylan Dog’s comic book sidekick, Groucho Marx, but the studios simply could not acquire the rights to the character, so there you go. We get many worthwhile characters used in this piece, some creatures and some human, and they all provide positively to the film and its pacing, leaving me to marvel that Sahara and A Sound of Thunder writers Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer could deliver a solid 107 minute watch that never left me bored or un-entertained, although the film did lost a bit of spice during the final sequence, but not enough to deter a solid positive rating.
Director Kevin Munroe did a swell job executing this piece, giving us great atmosphere and consistently awesome sets that made for the fun visual experienced that I hoped this film would deliver. I was iffy on whether or not he would succeed given his only feature film prior to this was TMNT, an animated piece, but he proved that he has the talent required to give us a good horror experience, and a fun one at that. The fight scenes were great and we were not given any more CGI than what was needed, and each of the actors involved, Brandon Routh, Sam Huntington, Taye Diggs, Peter Stormare, Anita Briem, and Kurt Angle provided good performances that fit their roles very well and aided to my enjoyment of this piece that I strongly feel has suffered unjust criticism.
Overall, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night is an enjoyable adaptation of the famed comic series that despite pissing off numerous fanboys by not following the storyline to the “T” still provides a great horror experience for those who can watch this with an open mind. The story is cool, fun, witty, and contains numerous elements of horror and horror lore, and Munroe’s direction solidly delivers each element in enjoyable fashion, making for one of the most fun horror films of recent time.