DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT
I have not read the original comic-book but Dylan Dog: Dead of Night was disliked by the comic-books fans it supplants the storys setting from Italy to New Orleans (principally, it seems, to take advantage of the citys offer of massive tax relief to film investors as an economic boost for the city post-Hurricane Katrina) and is lacking much of the surreal humour. On screen, Dylan Dog comes across as a lesser episode of tvs Angel (1999-2004) or a variant on the great tv movie Cast a Deadly Spell (1991), even perhaps a less serious version of Constantine (2005).
The film shows promise from the hilarious opening scene where Brandon Routh confronts a guy who has come to kill him by deconstructing the meaning of the way he holds his gun and the threats he makes, turning this completely around to instead get hired by the man. Unfortunately, once we get to the scenes with Brandon Routh retrieving Sam Huntingdon from the morgue, the film descends to a level of lame humour and never lets up. We get strained scenes with Routh wheeling Huntingdon through a supermarket in a trolley explaining the need for him to use floor cleaner as a deodorant, bleach as toothpaste and the like. Occasionally these amount to something amusing like the scenes where Sam Huntingdon tries to come to terms with being a zombie finding that all fast food workers are zombies who have a special for the newly undead, or attending zombie support groups.
Dylan Dog is generally competent on a technical level. There is an impressive looking demon figure that turns up in the climactic scenes but the battle scenes with it are wholly routine. The werewolf effects are so-so. The plot has its amusements but is mostly generic. The Heart of Belial is another of the routine magic McGuffin artefacts that turn up in these films see also Blade (1998), Vampires (1998) with the ability to change the gameplan between vampires and humans. Anita Briem seems to have no real purpose in the film than be the requisite love interest before undergoing an improbable last minute character revelation [PLOT SPOILERS] where we learn that despite bringing Dylan in to investigate her own fathers death, she was the one who has been plotting to use the Heart of Belial all along not to mention an absurd climactic scene where she goes into combat wielding two short swords that she has somehow managed to hide in her brief vest while being held prisoner. I was also never sure why the werewolf killed Marcus in particular other than this being a set-up to get to the B-plot about him as a zombie.
Dylan Dog: Dead of Night does at least answer the great pressing question of What ever happened to Brandon Routh? Routh was seen as holding great promise as a result of playing the lead in Superman Returns (2006) but vanished from sight after the film flopped. It is good to see him back on screens, even if the role here needed someone far more grizzled in the part.