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Review

Harry liked DYLAN DOG, but it is a small little fun genre flick

I'm not a huge DYLAN DOG comic fan - mainly due to lack of exposure to the whole of the body of work, but I've seen a few of the books.   I discovered a cache of DYLAN DOG books translated into Spanish in Mexico on one of my trips - and just the notion of a man fighting all manners of demons & undead things just grabbed my imagination.   And looking at the books and seeing Groucho Marx consistently - well it kind of was the right absurdist injection of awesome that my film/comic savvy brain loves blinding together.

That said, going into the AICN event, I knew this was a film on an $8 million dollar budget & not a large scale version of DYLAN DOG, although it was originally intended to be that.  Just 2 weeks before production, their budget was shrunk from triple to quadruple it's eventual budget.  Meaning they had to shrink the scope or let the project die.   In the Q&A after the screening, Kevin talked about how the Groucho Marx estate asked for $8 million...  That wasn't going to happen for this flick.  So automatically, right off the top - the absurdist level of joy that is intrinsic to DYLAN DOG is going to be missing.  But before I ever walked into the theater I had given the filmmaker that much.   I knew those things going in.   

What remains is still mostly feeling a bit like a watered down DYLAN DOG.   It's still fun, and most importantly - this will lay the groundwork for DYLAN DOG to eventual gather a significant cult following in the United States...   Where despite the efforts of DARK HORSE - it is still a smaller flick.   ME...  I dream of DARK HORSE hooking Dylan and Hellboy up in the third HELLBOY film - but again - that's something that'll never happen...   But I can dream.  

I like Brandon Routh a lot as Dylan.   The film is told from the perspective of Dylan Dog...   in fact you'll hear Dylan narrating throughout the film.   Very Chandler-esqe...  Dylan had had many prior supernatural adventures, but he's put that world behind him at the start of this film.   He is a broken man, a shell of the Nightmare Investigator that readers of the comics would know.  Seems Dylan had fallen for a particular girl that had him in knots after she was killed on his beat.   The revenge he sought resulted in his retirement from the world that needed him.   He'd become a passionless P.I. getting photos of cheating wives and husbands and as we're introduced, he takes a gun away from a silly fuck that cheated on his wife, but when he belts out that "she cheated first" - Dylan pitches him his rates and to right an apparent wrong.   I like that about Dylan.   He is still ethical.   Good for him, double dealing private eyes should do their best to have some manner of code.

In lieu of Groucho - Dylan has Sam Huntington as Marcus.   In an odd way, this works.  Marcus is turned into the undead - and has hysterical issues to deal with, but you actually see Marcus grow as a person through his undead turn.   I like that.   His character definitely keeps the humor going, and at least in this particular story - GROUCHO wouldn't give the character the story what it is getting out of Sam's Marcus.   But I absolutely miss Groucho.

You have Taye Diggs as a vampire club owner with a gold fang - and Taye is pretty great here.   I like his character's nonchalance.   Much like Peter Stormare's Gabriel, a patriarch of a Werewolf clan that runs a New Orleans Slaughterhouse, Taye and Peter play their monsterous businessmen with a degree of lip-smacking eye-balling that keeps their characters fun.    There's even Cannibal Zombies in this - and in the end credits I noticed that former AICNer (and CHUDer) Devin Faraci, of BadassDigest.com, plays an integral Cannival Zombie - that helps take out one of the early baddies.   

Then we also get the biggest baddie, that big ol DARKNESS looking Demon thing from the trailers.   None of the makeup or bad guy designs are much of anything to write home about.   They feel like things taken from the world of television (BUFFY) and feel slightly funky.   But they are fun.   

I went in with hopes that Kevin Munroe made a survivable 1st live action flick.   He did that.  I really liked Geoffrey Hall's cinematography - letting the blacks really swallow the screen, giving the film a nice mood throughout.   The fun credit on the film is the Film Editor, Paul Hirsch - who has handled that position on flicks like PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, the original STAR WARS & EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, FOOTLOOSE and even SOURCE CODE.   I love learning things like that about a film.   Really can't believe I didn't realized EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE were edited by the same guy!   That kind of rules.   

DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT feels like a cultural introduction to this character.   A few parents brought kids to this screening - and they really loved the hell out of it, so if you're looking for fun horror to take a kid to that has real make-up and men in suits - this is a fun alternative from the gigantic budgeted flicks coming.

Readers Talkback
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  • April 30, 2011, 4:15 p.m. CST

    I'll give it a shot

    by Cletus Van Damme

    Routh is a good guy.

  • April 30, 2011, 4:25 p.m. CST

    I feel bad for Routh, but that wont make me watch this

    by Yurka

  • April 30, 2011, 4:27 p.m. CST

    ahole

    by HEADGEEK

    Didn't really want to get into the plot - it's fun enough to discover in the theater

  • April 30, 2011, 4:57 p.m. CST

    wider release?

    by Steepdog1

    Anyone know what the chances are this thing will open on more screens? I live about 90 miles west of Chicago and I have to drive to the closer 'burbs to see it...which blows.

  • April 30, 2011, 5:02 p.m. CST

    I'm giving this a shot

    by Andrew Coleman

    Looks funny and better than TF3.

  • April 30, 2011, 5:05 p.m. CST

    Trailer looked cool enough

    by Mr. Lahey

    Harry, email James Cameron and ask about The Abyss: Special Edition on BluRay. Thanks in advance.

  • April 30, 2011, 5:12 p.m. CST

    Harry

    by Robert79797979

    How's your rehab going, big guy? You should keep us updated.

  • April 30, 2011, 6:02 p.m. CST

    I know I don't want to watch this from the trailer

    by WINONA_RYDERS_PUSSY_JUICE

    I don't care what Harry says, the big rubber turd demon in the trailer is beyond ridiculous. People jokingly compare movies to Sci-Fi channel movies but this movie REALLY looks as bad as that. $8 million budget? WTF? Was Routh aware that this stinker was going to torpedo his career? You can't make a comics film with 8 fucking million dollars. Luckily for him no one's going to notice this movie ever existed.

  • April 30, 2011, 6:03 p.m. CST

    chances of a wider release??? LOL 0%!!!!!!

    by WINONA_RYDERS_PUSSY_JUICE

  • April 30, 2011, 6:03 p.m. CST

    Better title: VAMPIRE MOVIE STARRING CLARK KENT AND JIMMY OLSEN

    by Voice O. Reason

    They should've also cast Kate Bosworth and killed her off.

  • April 30, 2011, 6:07 p.m. CST

    Braindrain heard about something through Twitter?

    by CHRISTIAN_BALE_TRASHED_MY_LIGHTS

  • April 30, 2011, 6:50 p.m. CST

    So you like learning things about a film, eh?

    by Raggles Wimpole

    Well, try these on for size: NASA keeps "So I Married an Axe Murderer" on the Space Station, Debra Winger did the voice of E.T., Tupac auditioned for the role of Bubba in "Forrest Gump," Bert & Ernie are named after the cop & the taxi driver from "It's a Wonderful Life."

  • April 30, 2011, 7:12 p.m. CST

    Bullshit or not!!!

    by Marlboroliteman

    I heard that the original title for Singer's Superman movie was "Superman Returns: To Stalk Louis Lane and Her Son". Does anyone know if that's true?

  • April 30, 2011, 9:02 p.m. CST

    Supes and Olsen together again!

    by dead youngling

    pumped to see this flick...on blu ray.

  • April 30, 2011, 9:52 p.m. CST

    Harry was somehow in cahoots with the filmmakers as there was some contest on this site.

    by SierraTangoFoxtrotUniform

    It explains why Harry liked this movie. It's only example number 3401 of Harry being bought out. You can tell because he's even more vague and obviously trying to fill up a page that passes for a review. It's funny because he never even announced the winners for this so-called contest.

  • April 30, 2011, 10:04 p.m. CST

    All I Heard Was...

    by NixEclips

    "They brought the movie to us, personally, so I have to make it sound like I like it. I'll just list some things and say "I like that" after each of them." Wow.

  • April 30, 2011, 10:06 p.m. CST

    Hirsch is underappreciated

    by MoffatBabies

    his work is amazing and really inspired many greats. You can see bits of his style in everything from animated series to action blockbusters.Matter of fact, I think the style of the Clone Wars series better matches the feel of the original trilogy than the prequels does because of the way it's cut.

  • May 1, 2011, 12:05 a.m. CST

    Title of the film will kill it. DOA.

    by nomihs

    See, a lot is drawn from the title of a film. I've never read it's source material, but "Dylan Dog: Dead of Night" is pretty awful. If they went with just "Dead of Night" and cut off Dylan Dog, that would make me more interested just based on the title. There's not much of a built in fan base, like Superman or Batman, so on a shoestring budget of 8 mil, you need to get your investment back (and then some) if you want to have more freedom in the sequel. Either way, I'm a big Brandon Routh fan so I'll see it just on him alone. He deserves more than Superman has given him.

  • May 1, 2011, 12:11 a.m. CST

    Routh should do more comedy

    by ShiftyEyedDog

    He was the one redeeming thing about this film, as the directing was sloppy, Huntington's comic relief was trying too hard, and the FX and monster makeup were tv-worthy at best... though knowing now about the budget cuts, that explains it - but doesnt excuse it. Routh has shown great comic ability and charm, both here and in supporting roles in Zack & Miri and Scott Pilgrim. I hope he eventually shakes the Superman role and people accept him as other roles.

  • May 1, 2011, 12:58 a.m. CST

    Vorlon

    by NixEclips

    Groucho was Dylan's sidekick in the comics. He looked and acted like Groucho Marx. If I remember correctly.

  • May 1, 2011, 3:52 a.m. CST

    Sam Huntington

    by Henry Fool

    ...has some done good work in the last year, with this and "Being Human". He's come a long way since the Veronica Mars episode where he played the teenager whose car got stolen in Mexico.

  • May 1, 2011, 7:48 a.m. CST

    braindrain

    by CHRISTIAN_BALE_TRASHED_MY_LIGHTS

    I bet you'll cry when Lois and Clark finally get married on SMALLVILLE, won't you?

  • May 1, 2011, 9 a.m. CST

    I saw it the other night...

    by Vriley2000

    ... and besides myself and my friend there were 5 other people in the theater. And 2 left when they realized they were in the wrong movie. I have all the Dark Horse Comics from about 10 years ago (the ones they translated into English), and they're great stories. They're a bit surreal, melancholy yet with that macabre humor still... while at the same time being very serious, adult-stories, where the "monsters" weren't the real monsters, if you know what I mean. Here... it dropped the character's costume onto a guy who can't act (Sorry, Routh just can't.) and is too buff for the character... and into a world that looked more like "Buffy" (which works for Buffy, but not Dylan Dog). Honestly, I think $8 million is just the right amount for a Dylan Dog movie (done right). Sure, you can't have Groucho, but do what the English comics did... call him "Felix". Then change his look, but still let him have that punny humor. There should have been less emphasis on CGI, and throwing your stuntmen through the air... but tell a grittier, more adult story. Let him focus on dealing with one "nightmare" and forget trying to encompass the entire undead world (Vampires, Werewolves, and Zombies). When you put so much focus on all three... you miss the metaphors of all of them. And Dylan Dog's cases all dealt with metaphors. That's what was missing here.

  • May 1, 2011, 11:05 a.m. CST

    I would have seen this...

    by Token

    ...if it had been released in my city. Oh well, sounds like it will be on TV in a few weeks.

  • May 1, 2011, 11:18 a.m. CST

    An Honest Review from an Empty Theater

    by The Reluctant Austinite

    When "Dylan Dog: Dead of Night" actually opended in Louisville Friday, I was pleasantly surprised. I'm always game for anything obscure, esspecially an underdog film in the horror genre. I'm only familiar with the comics via their tangential relationship to "Dellemorte Dellamore" (aka "Cemetery Man"). As the hoards of kids descened upon the multiplex to see "Fast Five" (uniformed cops were on site to keep the peace and discourage everyone from leaving tire marks in the parking lot upon leaving the theater), we bought our tickets to the 10 o'clock show and entered a completely empty theater. I expected as much. So what did I think of the movie? I'm actually a big fan of Brandon Routh, and I thought he would have been a great Superman in a more lively Superman movie, but here he felt miscast. Burned out noir private detectives usually are depicted as unshaven, umkempt shlubs on their last dime, and that's what makes them someone we can root for, but Routh's perfect body, skin and hair just don't seem to fit the character he's playing (although I know nothing about the comic character, so maybe he's perfect). Dylan, in typical noir P.I. tradition, gets the shit kicked out of him constantly by all manner of monsters, but never ends up with so much as a scratch to mire his perfect complexion. Brandon Routh is simply so pretty that he never seems convincing as someone who fights monsters for a living. Sam Huntington struggles to be funny in a character that isn't all that funny and ends up as mostly annoying. The make-up is of the Tom Savini School of Make-up, and I don't mean it reminds me of the work of the great Tom Savini. I mean it looks like the work of a first semester student in his School of Make-up. Big foreheads and extended cheekbones and jaws are the trademark of every monster in the film. If it's werewolf, add hair. If it's a vampire, add fangs. If it's a demon, paint it black. If all of this sounds like I hated the film, that's not accurate. The movie is well shot and Routh, in spite of possibly being miscast, is extemely likeable. The whole enterprise feels like an 80s horror comedy, and there's a comfortable wave of 80s nostalgia that washes over the faults of the film. In fact, this film will likely play much better at home on DVD than in the multiplex where the audience's eyes are more used to seeing $100 million genre films than $8 million struggling independant genre films. In the 70s and 80s, this level of film had a much greater chance of seeing the theater than it does now. It's a miracle this film got made at all. There are some weird editing choices that make the film stop in its tracks occasionally just when you think things are ready to get moving. There's also a befuddling scene when Dylan is searching for a sacred macguffin that turns out to not be particularly hard to find and would likely have been common knowledge and easy to obtain for the bad guys who also need to get their hands on it. I'd give the film a higher rating overall, as I was mildy amused during most of the runtime, if the climax weren't as disppointing as it was. I won't spoil the actual events that comprise the climax, but after the smoke clears a character comes up to Dylan and says, "Good job, Dylan. Thanks for saving us all" (or something like that), and I relised that other than investigating the goings on for the last hour and a half, Dylan Dog did absolutely NOTHING except get his ass kicked in the climax. I guess he took a beating long enough for other minor characters to resolve the plot. Great job, Dylan.

  • May 1, 2011, 2:44 p.m. CST

    I'd give it a shot but...

    by film11

    It's not playing ANYWHERE in the state of NJ...not even ONE theater. Can't even find it in NYC! (Maybe it's at one theater in all the five boros...maybe...but can't find it.) So box-office is naturally going to be small if it's not playing anywhere people can find it. This probably should not have opened in May, at the start of summer blockbuster season. (And with PRIEST opening next week too.) Anyway, regardless of the compromises made to the film, I know it's gotta be waaaaay better another wretched FAST/FURIOUS movie. A shame I can't see it.

  • May 1, 2011, 6:43 p.m. CST

    I went to see this last night and it is flat-out awful.

    by fustfick

    Really, really awful. No shit. Terrible acting, insipid direction, uninspired writing, shoddy makeup effects, and the worst score I've heard in years. I love horror movies and detective fiction so much, I figured there's no way I wouldn't enjoy this movie on some level. Boy, was I wrong. And I'm sorry guys, but Brandon Routh's performance is godawful. Fortunately for him, Sam Huntington is much worse (he's the comic relief and there's not one single laugh to be had in this abomination) so maybe no one will notice. It's a shame, really. But, I'm warning you guys...this one sucks worse than "Jonah Hex."

  • May 1, 2011, 9:07 p.m. CST

    The italian comic is more about real horror.

    by hank henshaw

    A true Dylan Dog comic would never be PG-13. The comic touches all corners of horror, from psychological terror, to oneiric horror, to splatter. On top of that, the comic is, often time, very sophisticated, and is full of topical social commentary. Most of the writers are novelists, and are able to develop awesome self-contained horror stories thanks to a 100-page format monthly comic. Instead of having a cutesy Buffy vibe, a Dylan Dog movie should have been more like the italian horror movies from the 70's-80s, or Cronenberg, or early Wes Craven... even better a cross between all those. I understand why they couldn't use Groucho, and I think he wasn't necessary for a movie. Most of the time he is there to provide absurdist humor when Dylan is hired by the client, or when he stops by his office to take a breather. He isn't really a sidekick, technically he is the butler.

  • May 1, 2011, 10:33 p.m. CST

    Harry seems like to like all the crap yet hates Inception

    by SierraTangoFoxtrotUniform

    Actually, I can't remember the last movie he didn't like besides Inception. Coincidentally, the filmmakers of Inception never gave Harry any pwesents.

  • May 2, 2011, 4:15 p.m. CST

    Harry's Man-Crush

    by Philvis

    Come on Harry...you've got to stop letting your man-crush on Brandon Routh influence your reviews of films with him in them. I have seen I think 4 films and one tv show now with Routh in them. In every instance his acting is lifeless and wooden. I am sorry, he may be the nicest guy in the world, but that doesn't give him a pass when it comes to bad acting. If he is bad in everything, you cannot blame the director or script. I think Routh would better off just getting a standing contract with the SyFy channel and their original movies. At least there you expect the bad acting to be present.

  • May 3, 2011, 6:02 a.m. CST

    R.I.P. YVETTE VICKERS

    by Uncle Stan

  • May 3, 2011, 10:20 a.m. CST

    Still can't get past him looking and sounding like Chris Reeve.

    by impossibledreamers

    He needs to work on that, stand out on his own.

  • May 3, 2011, 4:13 p.m. CST

    What Movie Don't the AICN staff like?

    by ThisBethesdaSea

    I mean come on...these guys every little and big stinker that comes along. Yes I've seen some more negative reviews, but Harry is the worst culprit. He doesn't seem to know what good taste is.

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