Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2010)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Dylan Dog: Dead of Night</strong> (2010)

(On Cable TV, January 2014) Urban fantasy is a hot literary genre, but it seldom works on-screen in a context smaller than a TV series: the work required to set up an entire mythology of creatures running around large cities is significant, and most “supernatural private investigators” usually end up in a series of books, or with their TV show. With low-budget one-offs like Dylan Dog (adapted from an Italian comic book series that I haven’t read and will continue to ignore), the danger is both in repetition and lack of depth: The film feels like a TV series pilot in the way it sets up a familiar underworld of werewolves, vampires and zombies. Which isn’t to say that the film is completely without interest: Some of the world-building bits are clever, and Brandon Routh is quite likable as the square-jawed titular protagonist. (This being said, Sam Huntington gets the film’s best dramatic arc and one-liners as a recently-resurrected zombie who has to cope with his new condition.) Otherwise, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night is weakest in its rote fight sequences and clunky plot mechanics: director Kevin Munroe can’t bring anything new to the private investigation shtick, while the whole “talk to people, visit places to collect clues” rhythm gets a bit tiresome. Fortunately, the New Orleans atmosphere occasionally comes through, and the comedy works better than the horror. As a TV series pilot, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night would have been tolerable. As a standalone film, it’s best appreciated as a wholly generic take on the urban fantasy genre: not too bad if you’re not asking for much more, but nowhere near what a film like this could be.

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