I’ll admit that I don’t know too much about the comic Dylan Dog: Dead Of Night is based on other than the Cemetery Man connection and what I’ve gathered from the issue or two I’ve read, but the people responsible for this adaptation of Tiziano Sclavi’s cult hit don’t seem to know how to make an entertaining film. So, I guess we’re both at a disadvantage.
Brandon Routh stars as the penniless private investigator who spends his days spying on cheating spouses and ignoring his sidekick Marcus’ (Sam Huntington) insistence that they find more challenging cases. In true film noir fashion, Dylan ends up taking on a case against his better judgment involving an heiress’ dead father and a missing artifact, which ends up being more dangerous and elaborate than he could’ve imagined. He explains through some laughable, charisma-free narration that he used to be a paranormal police man of sorts, keeping the peace between the supernatural creatures of New Orleans. After his wife died because of his involvement with things that go bump in the night, he hung up his proton pack for good – I’m kidding, he really doesn’t have any cool gear. But when Marcus is killed and comes back as a zombie who can’t accept he’s dead, he must once again venture into The Big Easy’s underworld.
The voice-over is, at least, weaved into the story properly as a means to give exposition when the characters aren’t. The same can’t be said for Marcus’ subplot, which is so much of a lengthy – and unfunny – distraction from the main storyline that it probably shouldn’t even be considered a subplot. Side stories in comics are the norm, sometimes popping up every few issues as a break in-between story arcs, but Marcus’ inability to accept his new undead existence is tedious, mundane and every other synonym for boring that you can think of. Out of all the time spent watching him turn his nose up at eating worms and going to self-help groups, his condition is only used to the duo’s advantage once, which is also the amount of scenes his predicament adds humor to.
From what I understand, a chunk of Dylan Dog‘s financing sadly fell through in the eleventh hour. Even with a reported $20 million budget, it’s shocking how bad the make-up and costumes are – I’m convinced they just walked across the street to the Halloween store. Add in some rather uninspired performances from everyone except for Taye Diggs, who chews the scenery while channeling Stephen Dorff’s Blade villain, and you’ve got what is probably the most forgettable and lifeless comic adaptation since the Fantastic Four flicks.
Fox’s 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer is nothing spectacular, so those expecting a pristine picture for a film that grossed about five times less than its budget should check their expectations at the door. The blue and green hues, along with the blinding whites, work well with the dark nature of the transfer and really pop, however the he image is soft at times and dim throughout, making its mostly nighttime setting a bit hard on the eyes. Master shots look fine but the more the camera inches in, the more blurry it looks and the more crushing is noticeable. Much like the film, this HD transfer isn’t terrible; it’s just very shrug-worthy. The Master Audio 5.1 track, on the other hand, packs a punch. Zombies groans are deep and menacing, vampire shrieks are… shrieky (?) and the balance is pretty level between dialogue and Klaus Badelt’s score. The bonus features are non-existant; it’s 2011 and there’s not even a theatrical trailer on the disc.
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