Dylan Dog: Dead of Night
Fox // PG-13 // $29.99 // July 26, 2011
Review by Adam Tyner | posted July 28, 2011
Skip It
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
Graphical Version
A Complete, Definitive List of Things That Are Kind of Awesome
Oddball Italian stuff
Noir-ish detective stories
Horror flicks with practical makeup effects and light on the CGI
Brandon Routh (sometimes)
Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

Oh. Sorry 'bout that last one. My mistake.

It's kinda hard to picture a movie more tailor-made for me than Dylan Dog: Dead of Night, a noir/comedy/horror/action mashup with Brandon Routh plowing his way through an army of undead beasties to stop
[click on the thumbnail to enlarge]
the end of the world. Heck, it's even based on the same insanely popular Italian comic that inspired Dellamorte Dellamore a couple decades back, and it's hard to score more cult-cinema-nerd bonus points than that. I've never read the original comics, but if I could do this whole thing over again, I'd have spent the past couple hours thumbing through those rather than slogging my way through this film adaptation, which is...yikes, about as complete and total a failure as it gets.

Okay, then, the premise...! Werewolves. Zombies. Vampires. All the stuff that goes bump in the night...? They're real, and they're all holed up in New Orleans, which totally makes sense if you think about it. The undead wanna stay under the radar 'cause they're tired of the whole mob-with-torches-and-pitchforks routine, but inevitably someone in their ranks will break the rules and threaten to expose their underground society to the world at large. That's where Dylan Dog (Brandon Routh) came in. The monsters wanted an impartial outsider they could trust to investigate those sorts of things. I'm using past tense for a reason, though. Dylan's been out of that game for a while now, barely scraping by as a P.I. with the usual sleazy snapshots of cheating husbands and whatever. ...and it's about this time that the femme fatale drops in. Elizabeth (Anita Briem) walked in on a werewolf murdering her father, and some ancient artifact known as the Heart of Belial was swiped from his sprawling collection. Just when Dylan thought he was out, they pull him back in. What looks to be a straightforward murder case -- well, as straightforward as a slash-happy killer werewolf can be, I guess -- turns out to be a conspiracy to usher in the end of the world for mankind and
[click on the thumbnail to enlarge]
monsterkind alike, and that's really no good for anyone.

I feel kind of badly that Brandon Routh keeps being so wildly miscast these days. Even though I'm not even a little bit of a fan of Superman Returns, Routh made for a pitch-perfect Clark Kent because...well, Clark was allowed to have a personality. He was brilliant as Todd Ingrim in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World because...well, Todd was allowed to have a personality. Even though Daniel Shaw was pretty much nothing but dead air throughout the third season of Chuck, he was great at the end when -- you guessed it! -- Shaw was allowed to have a personality. Dylan Dog as a character is devoid of any charm, charisma, or anything resembling a personality. His name is in the title, and I guess that's why you're supposed to give a shit. Routh does what he can with the part, but the movie doesn't give him much more to do than walk around, deliver reams and reams of exposition, and every once in a while shoot or punch someone. Dylan's business card used to read "No pulse? No problem", but with as underwritten and wholly uninteresting as that character is, it oughtta just read
[click on the thumbnail to enlarge]
"no pulse", period. Just flatlining.

The same kinda goes for Dylan Dog as a whole. The paint-by-numbers screenplay is pretty abysmal, especially the cornball, flopsweat-drenched stabs at humor. Pretty much everyone in the supporting cast either plays it wildly over-the-top -- and good lord, can Peter Stormare gnaw on the scenery -- or slowly, awkwardly, and stiltedly delivers their dialogue, as if they don't actually speak English but tried to memorize the script phonetically or something. Dylan Dog tries to build intrigue by constantly teasing about Dylan's tortured past but never actually got me to care even a little bit. The movie wastes waaaaay too much with Dylan's grating, overeager zombie sidekick type (Routh's Superman Returns costar Sam Huntington) that never gets a laugh and never really goes anywhere. The fight choreography is maddeningly slow and lifeless, never managing to get the adrenaline pumping. You can tell that Academy Award winning editor Paul Hirsch is desperately trying to do what he can during these brawls, but he just doesn't have anything worthwhile to work with here. I'm pretty sure I laughed out loud when Dylan Dog realized "oh, wait, we forgot to throw in a sex scene" that comes completely out of nowhere. The pacing plods along aimlessly, dragging on at least twenty minutes longer than it ought to. The clumsily recorded dialogue, sloppy direction, and dimestore makeup effects work just leave the whole thing looking cheap and amateurish. I love practical makeup effects, but the work here is uninspired and not even a little bit polished. I mean, that werewolf mask looks like it was bought off the rack at Family Dollar. As high as Dylan Dog tries to set the stakes for this story, the ending has a definite "wait, that's it?" feel to it. There really isn't anything clever or original bobbing around anywhere in here. Ack. I don't want to keep writing about this terrible, terrible movie anymore. Just Skip It.

I guess Dylan Dog: Dead of Night looks decent enough in high-def. Definition and clarity
[click on the thumbnail to enlarge]
are both solid...no question here that you're looking at a shiny, newly-minted Blu-ray disc. Detail doesn't rate much higher than okay, though that appears to be a limitation of the original photography. There's just this slight tinge of softness that leaves Dylan Dog looking as if it's a few years older than it actually is. Black levels aren't as inky as I'd like but come through well enough. It's a really filmic presentation, with the texture of the film grain not showing any signs of being smeared away by overzealous noise reduction. No specks, nicks, tears, edge haloes, or compression artifacting ever creep in either. I get the impression that this is as perfect a presentation of Dylan Dog as you're ever gonna see...it's just limited a bit by the way it was shot. Good but not quite great.

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night is presented at its theatrical aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and has been encoded with AVC. The bitrate's kept high enough to fill up just about every spare byte on this single-layer Blu-ray disc.

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night has all the right technical specs -- 5.1 surround sound, 24-bit audio, a
[click on the thumbnail to enlarge]
lossless soundtrack, and all that -- and yet the audio overall is kinda lousy. The dialogue, music, and sound effects all sound muddled together, lacking the crispness and clarity I'm so used to hearing on Blu-ray. The recording of the dialogue, including a fair amount of Brandon Routh's noir-inspired narration, can be awfully clumsy, as if the boom operator was aiming the mic twenty feet in the wrong direction or something. Surround usage is weak, largely limited to reinforcing the score. Sometimes a little light atmosphere will rear its head, or maybe you'll hear an awkward attempt at adding reverb to the dialogue too, but that's about it. Some snarls and hisses pop up every once in a while, but for a movie with this many monsters in it, there's not nearly as much stalk-and-slash in the surrounds as you'd think. Only two action-oriented sequences take advantage of the rears. Bass response isn't much better, with the lower frequencies rumbling but never really resonating. For a theatrically-released genre flick, this is about as lackluster as it gets.

No dubs or downmixes this time around. The only other audio options are subtitles in English (SDH) and Spanish.

Nothing!  Absolutely nothing!

Really, though, not even a trailer.

The Final Word
The word from up on high is that the Italian Dylan Dog comic is brilliant, so if you have fifteen or twenty bucks burning a hole in your pocket, you're probably better off getting that collection that Dark Horse put out a couple years back instead. Maybe if you're a longtime fan of the comic or whatever, there'll be at least a little fleeting novelty value in seeing Dylan running around on your HDTV, but otherwise...? Ack. Slow, tedious, laughless, badly acted, sloppily directed...and this is coming from someone who's kind of the target demo for a noirish action-horror-comedy about monsters in New Orleans too. Skip It.

Wait, I Think I Have One Extra Picture of a Monster Roaring
[click on the thumbnail to enlarge]

Copyright 2017 Kleinman.com Inc. All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy DVDTalk.com is a Trademark of Kleinman.com Inc.