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Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

A movie directed by Kevin Munroe

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An Occult-Horror-Comedy About Vampires, Werewolves and Zombies!!

  • May 1, 2011
Rating:
+3

It is a well-known fact that I am a reviewer who has a fondness for low-budget horror movies and I can tolerate movies that have cheesy special effects as long as it matches a clever grim humor around a film’s premise. I also love comic books and mature graphic novels as long as they have little marketing gimmicks behind them. Well, seems like “Dylan Dog: Dead of Night” meets most of the requirements of a cheesy B-movie flick and it sure does feel more polished than what I had originally expected. Loosely based on the Italian horror comic book “Dylan Dog”, director Kevin Munroe makes an American interpretation of the comic that has gotten a small cult following. (This is the type of film I usually review so here I am) This film was released in Italy in March of this year and has now been released to the American audience April 29, 2011.

Dylan Dog (Brandon Routh, Superman Returns) is a private eye who these days usually take on cases of cheating spouses, missing persons and such. Dylan used to be the mortal guardian to all things paranormal who had retired some years ago and is now keeping a low-profile driving an old Volkswagen “Beetle”. When Elizabeth Ryan (Anita Briem) finds her father murdered, she calls upon Dylan to help find the killer. The case appears more tied to the supernatural and Dylan is forced to come out of retirement. There is a war brewing between vampires, zombies and werewolves as an ancient artifact may hold the key to the awakening of a power called “Belial” and Dylan’s buddy Marcus (Sam Huntington, Almost Human) is taken as the first casualty as he is attacked by a zombie on steroids and turned into a zombie in the early stages…

                         Brandon Routh as Dylan Dog and Anita Briem as Elizabeth Ryan in "Dylan Dog: Dead of Night."

                         Brandon Routh as Dylan Dog, Spencer Livingston as Sclavi and Sam Huntington as Marcus in "Dylan Dog: Dead of Night."

There are quite a number of things I liked in “Dylan Dog”. The film is an original genre take on the mythos of vampires, werewolves and zombies. All three sides of the occult and the undead are given a personality and this fantasy world where they roam in hiding have its own set of rules. Humans are called “Breathers” and they are seen as a threat to their existence. Monster hunters are seen as ‘monsters’ because they seem to massacre the non-humans. (there is a small racial undertone) The vampires headed up by Vargas (Taye Diggs) are creatures called “True Bloods” who have their own society and they sell their blood to those willing to pay the price. The werewolves led by Gabriel (Peter Stormare) are beings who can control their transformation, they mind their own business and their clans own the majority of meat distributors. The zombies have levels of decomposition, and they are low key. They like to eat maggots, worms to keep peace with the humans. They have no leaders but they do have support groups, work in some morgues and a ‘body shop’ who help them cope with their issues as to being ‘undead’. (you will laugh as to how they stay incognito and what they serve in a zombie diner!)

                          Kurt Angle as Wolfgang in "Dylan Dog: Dead of Night."

                         Anita Briem as Elizabeth Ryan and Brandon Routh as Dylan Dog in "Dylan Dog: Dead of Night."

                           Brandon Routh as Dylan Dog and Sam Huntington as Marcus in "Dylan Dog: Dead of Night."

The devices used to define the creatures of the night are very clever and it gives the film its structure. The direction makes some grim humor around those elements quite effectively, some are slapstick while some are pretty dark in tone. I really enjoyed the way the writing by Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer seemed to make such creature society interact with one another. The film is wrapped around a murder mystery and the search for an ancient artifact; think of it as something that chases the supernatural, the answers and the society becomes revealed the longer you become invested in the storyline. Much of the details are revealed with Routh’s voiceover, which gives it a smart ala-”Nightstalker” approach. The dark creatures are ancient races, so Dylan uses cheap and old-school tools to investigate (this includes wooden and silver bullets). They are simple and yet they are effective; they serve their purpose, it does have a different take that proved refreshing to the horror fan.

                    Anita Briem as Elizabeth Ryan in "Dylan Dog: Dead of Night."

                   Kurt Angle as Wolfgang and Brandon Routh as Dylan Dog in "Dylan Dog: Dead of Night."

                   A scene from "Dylan Dog: Dead of Night."

The effects exude that low-budget feel. It uses red ink, rubber suits and make up to create the creature designs. They looked cheap but some looked too cheap that I wondered how it made it to the film’s final cut. I guess they were made to be part of the film’s charm. The action was decent for a film of its budget and someone...a hot chick definitely got some sweet moves on her. The cast was good in their own way, Briem is sexy as the damsel in distress and she does connect with Routh and Huntington. The supporting cast (that also includes wrestler Kurt Angle) is also likeable enough that I found their exchanges significant to the development of the film. I knew after his role as the super-powered Vegan in "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World", Routh may go cult cinema and this seals that speculation. Routh may feel a tad miscast, but he does connect marvelously with Huntington (who nearly steals the show); their relationship and antics may well be one of the film’s major selling points.

“Dylan Dog” is a film that feels rather small. It works and helps its intentions as a low-budget horror occult action-comedy and mostly, films like this are seen with low competence (much of its decisions are made as to how much funds they have) and it is just a labor of love of the source material. It works, and although I felt that Routh was a miscast, I can accept it. There is just a limited scope to the comic book’s premise and the film does make do with what it could. You have to take into account how a film like “Dylan Dog” was made and I cannot complain about its low-budget feel.

                        Brandon Routh as Dylan Dog and Dan Braverman as Big Al in "Dylan Dog: Dead of Night."

I guess I cannot truly give “Dylan Dog: Dead of Night” a high recommendation, it is light fare and while I cannot criticize it for being a little cheap, it still feels a little too light. However,it is a lot better than I expected and I applaud the efforts behind it. It would be a tough sell to mainstream viewers but cult cinema fans will eat it up. I like the way the film got into several fun aspects of the creature society and the investigation gave me more reason to like it. I just wished that they had more money to play with its concept, but hey, it is a good film that maximizes its resources.

Recommended! for cult cinema fans and a RENTAL for everybody else [3+ Out of 5 stars]

Brandon Routh as Dylan Dog in "Dylan Dog: Dead of Night." Poster art for "Dylan Dog: Dead of Night."

Anita Briem as Elizabeth Ryan in "Dylan Dog: Dead of Night." A scene from "Dylan Dog: Dead of Night."

 





 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
A Clever Little Low-Budget Occult-Horror-Comedy That Proves Quite Competent and Fun!

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May 02, 2011
Yea unlikely to arrive around here either but this does look pretty slick. Excellent review buddy, thanks!
May 02, 2011
I think you will like this one since you appreciate movies with a sense of originality regardless if they're low budget or not. It surprised me, I didn't think I would like it.
 
May 01, 2011
Eh, it's not likely that this will arrive at my theatre since they tend to show only mainstream flicks, but it looks like it's got potential. I still wish they'd do a more serious vamps, zombies, and werewolves film though.
May 01, 2011
I know what you mean. I think this would have been so much more entertaining if it had a huge budget. The societies of the creatures were pretty creative...
May 01, 2011
It's also funny that they tied in little homages to other films. Belial was used as the origin for their vampires in "Nosferatu".
May 01, 2011
I know. Which is why it is interesting....I ordered the Italian comic to take a look...too bad not all has been translated.
May 01, 2011
Let me know what you think.
 
May 01, 2011
I was wondering about this, sounds like something I need to go see.
May 01, 2011
I think you may like it, since you and me both like cult movies.
May 03, 2011
check out @'s review on this please. Thanks!
 
May 01, 2011
Hmmmm interesting very interesting....i shall keep an eye out at the redbox for this one cuz im a huge sucker for a vamp flick (pun intended!)
May 01, 2011
I think you may find it entertaining and I am also a sucker for vamp's eyes LOL!

May 01, 2011
oh, I re-edited the review since some parts got cut off. I am not sure why or how, but it must've been because of the wireless connection I was using with a laptop.
May 01, 2011
Its actually a referance to a part in interview with the vampire...both the book and the movie except it is used differently in both haha
May 01, 2011
mwahahah.
 
1
More Dylan Dog: Dead of Night reviews
review by . May 05, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Dylan Dog is one of those films that feels like it was made in the 90s, and had at some point probably aired on Sci-Fi (before it became Syfy) and had a large enough following to have a small indie production company offer it a limited theatrical release.  The actors are your typical sci-fi "studs" circa now... and could have just been an added episode to the Being Human series that is now airing on the network.  Granted Sam Huntington is playing a zombie named Marcus in …
review by . August 22, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Half a star out of ****     There are so many problems with "Dylan Dog: Dead of Night" on first sight; one of them being the PG-13 rating. Can you truly make a successful horror comedy with such a rating? I mean, Sam Raimi did it very well with "Drag Me to Hell", but that's Raimi we're talking about. He is a master of the horror comedy; and it was a return to form. But "Dylan Dog", an adaptation of the long-running Italian comic-book series of the same name, is so bland and contains …
review by . May 03, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         Dylan Dog: Dead of Night is one of those movies that must have sounded great on paper – a horror comedy about a private detective whose clients are zombies, werewolves, and vampires. Indeed, there was the potential for it to be a lot of fun. It was all wasted, I’m sorry to say. Adapted from Tiziano Sclavi’s Italian comic book series Dylan Dog (completely unread by me), the film is a classic case of skimping in some areas, namely …
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