The comic “Dylan Dog” was created in 1986 by an Italian, whose paranormal investigator was inspired by Rupert Everett in “Another Country,” a British film, based on a popular stage play, the topics of which included homosexuality and Marxism in the life of British spy Guy Burgess. The comic was set in London. Somehow this has all culminated in a teen version of “True Blood.”
“Dylan Dog: Dead of Night” the movie is just a low-grade comic horror film, set in New Orleans, that somehow managed to escape immediate banishment to the nether reaches of Netflix Instant.
It stars Brandon Routh (“Superman Returns”) as Dylan Dog, a private eye who operates like the Sam Spade of the undead, keeping the peace between clans of vampires, werewolves and -- seemingly for no other reason than “why not?” -- zombies. Dylan comes out of retirement to investigate a couple of deaths. One is a friend (Sam Huntington) and the other the father of the movie’s love interest (Anita Briem), who unwittingly imported a relic that has the power unleash an all-powerful demon.
Either the werewolves or the vampires are the culprits, we learn, but not the zombies. Good to know.
“Dylan Dog” could be a lesson in how wrong a comic-book adaptation can go, if it weren’t so cheap and unremarkable. Faithful it is not, more interested in creating another “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” with some elements of “Shaun of the Dead,” “Ghostbusters,” and, of all things, film noir. Sadly, it doesn’t succeed at any of the above, falling victim to B-movie casting and lazy writing. Its biggest mystery is how the intended teen audience will feel about paying movie ticket prices for television production values.
Routh definitely belongs somewhere on television, not in the movies. A Hal 9000 computer could breathe more life into his corny dialogue, delivered as if he were still on the set of “One Life to Live.” Why did “Dylan Dog: Dead of Night” get made? Its plot isn’t even necessary to the story. It all wraps up the way it would had Dylan Dog simply stayed home. You are advised to do the same. (PG-13) 107 min.