Dylan Dog and the Dead of Night —Atrocious Cinema–that kind of works?

I’m really not sure what to make of last night’s movie night. I spent the evening with BoxOfficeBoredom.com and From Midnight, With Love writer, The Mike, as we explored the wonderful world of Dylan Dog: Dead of Night. In some ways Dylan Dog: Dead of Night was a terrible waste of a film. In other ways Dylan Dog: Dead of Night was a fun twist on the detective tales I grew up reading and enjoying as a kid. Somewhere trapped in the middle between awful and amazing lies a film few have heard of and even fewer have seen: Dylan Dog: Dead of Night.

Dylan Dog is played by Brandon Routh, the actor who at one time was supposed to revitalize the Superman franchise with Superman Returns. It turned out that people really didn’t gravitate to Superman Returns. I seem to remember it being a flat, boring, excuse of a picture despite a strong performance by the unknown Routh. Routh makes his attempt at headlining again in Dylan Dog, but this time to no fanfare and no critical acclaim,.  Dylan Dog snuck in (and out) of the box offices early this summer, placed right smack in the middle of the theatrical release date of Fast Five or something of the sort. The point is, this film didn’t have a prayer of success. Now on Netflix, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night is available for all to see; yet I somehow think it will still be trapped in obscurity.

The film follows Dylan who is a paranormal detective. He specializes in the strange cases that involve zombies, werewolves and vampires. That’s right- all of these creatures exist in Dylan’s world and walk the streets with you and me. In fact- as he tries to claim- you might never know if your girlfriend or your mother is a werewolf or vampire. When a human importer is killed at random, his daughter contacts Dylan to try and solve the case. Having been out of the paranormal detective game for a few years, Dylan starts to pound the pavement and dig up old contacts to find out who –or what—is killing people and causing unrest in the delicate balance of human/werewolf/vampire/zombie relations.

This film sounds ridiculous- and it is. However in some ways there was a tiny part of me that had a bit of fun. Played out like your classic detective story, Routh narrates the film in classic detective film noire style. As a viewer we get sucked in despite the bad narration and bad acting and start to wonder just who exactly is behind this “whodunit” and why. Routh again leaves me on the fence where I can’t quite decide if he is a legit actor who is still just struggling for his big break, or if he is a waste of time and space that blew his chances with Superman Returns and now gets work based off of the now tattered and quickly fading fame of the failed Superman franchise he attempted to resurrect.

I think what made me gravitate toward enjoying Dylan Dog was that it is a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Dylan Dog knows its place in the film hierarchy and doesn’t attempt to achieve anything more. It attempts to be witty at times and fails, it attempts to be action packed at times and plays out horribly with bad CGI and rubber masks. Yet somehow despite this- you continue watching. I kept feeling like I was watching a bad version of Blade and Constantine mixed; yet I still was having a tiny bit of fun.

Dylan Dog goes wrong in relying on the acting prowess of Olympic Gold Medalist, professional wrestler and now wannabe actor, Kurt Angle. Luckilly for us Angle has a small role as a werewolf but every scene he is in is atrocious. Oddly enough- his performance was looked upon with favor in my eyes most likely because I have seen End Game. After seeing End Game, Angle’s performance in Dylan Dog looks comparable to Brando. Taye Diggs also stars as a vampire drug dealer with a gold fang, That’s right- a gold fang. Diggs perpetuates any black stereotypes and is a pretty worthless villain in the film. In fact, he is probably the weakest part of this entire strange yet intriguing mess of a film.

Routh does his best to carry this film and actually does it with some finesse. His partner, a freshly bitten zombie played by Sam Huntington, acts as the comic relief of the film and brings some good laughs and some fun scenes, but the makers of Dylan Dog seemed to rely on him a bit too much. Many of these scenes were funny but felt forced. In some ways he helped make Dylan Dog and enjoyable film and kept the film light hearted and enjoying itself. In other ways he hindered the film by having too much of the same thing over and over again.

I really feel kind of dirty inside suggesting Dylan Dog: Dead of Night to anyone. In fact, as I am typing this I keep asking myself if I am actually going to post something that says I liked Dylan Dog? I think the biggest factor was I went in with such low expectations that I came out surprised.  Dylan Dog: Dead of Night will be (and should be) forgotten if it was ever remembered in the first place. It’s another film that lives amongst billions of films that are made that few remember or care about. It’s not really a hidden gem, and shouldn’t be on the top of anyone’s Christmas list this year. Despite it all, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night wasn’t a colossal waste of my time. The Mike and I went looking for something for “Bad Movie Night” and found something that didn’t star Kevin Sorbo (our usual go-to guy).  Dylan Dog: Dead of Night filled the void. If you’re looking for something for your next bad movie night, maybe Dylan Dog: Dead of Night might fill that void for you too.

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