'Dylan Dog' Movie Review

Dylan Dog
by Michael Pickle

I think most of us can agree that, judging by the trailers for DYLAN DOG and the poor box office turnout, viewing this silly monster murder mystery was probably best saved for DVD. The DVD was released last week and it was time to see if it could be better than I thought. I remained optimistic. I believed that, just maybe, Brandon Routh could be involved in an entertaining film and redeem himself after the unfortunate Superman reboot.

I wondered if this might be an action horror film in major release that rises above what it seems. What it seemed like was a silly noir detective story with a big budget gloss and monsters thrown in for good measure. Low and behold that is exactly what it is. It's not as bad as the universal panning by critics or the huge box office bomb would suggest, but it doesn't rise above any of the preconceptions either.

Dylan Dog (Routh) is a private investigator that used to cater to the undead before an incident (revealed over the course of the film) prompted him to become just a plain old dick investigating cheating husbands and insurance fraud. When the beautiful and mysterious Elizabeth (Anita Briem) hires him to investigate her father's death at the hands of a werewolf, he is reluctantly thrust back into a world of monsters and an impending fight between werewolves and the vampires.

Caught in the middle of the mayhem is Dylan's sidekick. The straight man turned comic relief Marcus (Sam Huntington) is bitten by an awesome giant zombie and becomes a new member of the walking dead. If this had been a better film then Marcus's little side story would have been an annoying diversion that was given too much time. Thanks to the rest of the film's abundance of cliches and futile attempts to fit into the current genre climate; Marcus's cheeky story of a zombie adjusting to living with his affliction comes across as more entertaining than it should be.

DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT is based on the most widely sold comic book in Italy. A comic series that relies on dark humor and hip attitude to maintain its level of popularity. This film adaptation takes a stab at some of the dark humor, but it's a hit and miss offering only a small handful of exciting or funny moments. Too bad these moments aren't abundant enough to afford all the misses. The plot is quite simple and formulaic. It's basic noir we've all seen many times. We're supposed to overlook that because monsters are thrown in.

Dylan Dog Movie Still

While I'm on the topic of things being thrown in; Brandon Routh and Anita Briem provide the most awkward kissing scene I have seen since Eyes Wide Shut. Just when I was beginning to be pulled in by the charm of the Dylan Dog character and investing in his wacky little mystery, an uncomfortable make-out scene comes in the middle of the drama for no apparent reason at exactly the wrong time. This made me cringe more than any of the Buffy-like beasties running around.

Since I inadvertently spent the bulk of this review explaining all the film's shortcomings, I should mention its strong points. Routh was pretty good and he did grow on me, but the true star for me was the giant Tattooed Zombie played by Brian Steele. By far the most menacing of all the beasts in the film. Not to mention the only one that seems unique with impressive creature effects. The great effects and the distinctive movements of Steele make this mega zombie worth the price of the rental.

If you want to see a similar film that has the delightful dark humor that Dylan Dog wants to have ; I suggest Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer. Less budget, better writing and a much more consistently entertaining, clever and original modern monster movie.

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