Film Review: Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2011)

imagesKevin Munroe’s Dylan Dog is based on the celebrated comic books by Italian writer Tiziano Sclavi. The noir comic’s original London setting has been swapped for a New Orleans that is as seedy as it is sultry. Superman Return’s Brandon Routh is solid as the jaded eponymous detective beset by problems, both human and supernatural.

After the murder of his wife and his subsequent revenge rampage against the vampire elders he held responsible, Dylan Dog has endeavoured to leave his nightmarish past behind him by working as a regular P.I. He now spends his days spying on cheating spouses and playing the oboe in his down time, which he has plenty of. Despite his best efforts however, his past catches up with him.

The father of a young woman named Elizabeth (Anita Briem) is murdered by a werewolf and a valuable ancient relic is stolen. She enlists the help of Dylan and his assistant Marcus (Being Human’s Sam Huntington) who is oblivious to the existence of supernatural beings in the world around him. Once again, Dylan is drawn into the world of werewolf meatpackers, vampire nightclub owners, and zombie morticians, resuming his former task of ensuring justice for the “monsters” of the world and preventing a war between the werewolf-vampire clans of New Orleans.

Whilst not the most faithful adaptation of source material, the film still manages to be entertaining. You just have to kinda, vaguely, sorta like this type of thing. File it in the rom-zom-com genre and you’ll know how to take it. There are a few decent laughs, plenty of gore and a cool soundtrack to get you by but the dynamic between Routh and Huntington as tried in Superman Returns is undoubtedly the backbone of the film. Two buddies somewhat out of their element; our hero is a little rusty with the game after his hiatus, the other getting to grips with becoming irrevocably apart of a world he didn’t believe in until it literally took a bite out of him 24 hours ago. Huntington brings a frenetic energy to Marcus, he is the comic relief to the competent, brooding anchor that is Routh’s Dylan. Anita Briem brings a sense of mystery and her own competency to Elizabeth. She’s a damsel not-quite-so in distress.
Rounding out the cast with their star power is Taye Diggs and Peter Stormare. Diggs brings sexy back to vampires (kudos to him as Twilight made it a tough hill to climb) as the vampiric head honcho with a plan to take over the world. Peter Stormare plays the irascible Gabriel, head of the Cysnos werewolf clan and frenemy of Dylan.

I feel with Dylan Dog, that the joy lies in the journey not necessarily the ending, which is equal parts predictable and odd. The SFX at the end felt on par with Ghost Busters and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Not a good thing for a film made in 2011 but if you can get past that and a few other flaws, Dylan Dog is well worth the watch.