Zombos Says: Fair
It's stupefying how movies can deviate so much from their original sources of inspiration. Dylan Dog: Dead of Night is a good example. The screaming doorbell, the Groucho character (I can understand dropping the Groucho character), and the London locale of the comic book series this movie is based on are gone. Replacing them is a New Orleans sticky gumshoe who looks amazingly like Brandon Routh, but acts like a cardboard standee of him, a threadbare plot that rolls up very much like True Blood and all that slick vampire jazz, and Marcus (Being Human's Sam Huntington), a lively sidekick turned lively zombie oozing all over the place for comic relief.
Even if the source material wasn't ignored as much, the movie would still flatline. The story reeks of too many writers huddled around cups of warm coffee and piles of stale Danish, and director Kevin Munroe plays it straight and doughy. The quirkiness, the differential feel of weird sliding along zany, and Dylan Dog's anti-establishment leaning is missing in action. This 'nightmare investigator' is plain as day, although he still dresses smartly in a red shirt and black jacket. He carries bigger guns, too.
At 250.00 dollars a day plus expenses, Dylan's settled for taking photographs of cheating spouses. He lives in a cruddy office, drives a two-miles-from-the-dump Volkswagon Beetle, and wants to forget the lost love of his life, but can't. He's Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe rolled into one--Routh even provides unnecessary noir-appropriate voiceover--but without that chippy dialog or trenchcoat style to match it.
He's shaken out of his career stupor by the daughter of a man mauled to death by an intruder in the Ryan Mansion. She got his "No pulse, no problem" business card from a priest, but Dylan brushes her off, telling her he's out of that business. She insists, he resists, until his buddy Marcus is mauled to death by an intruder. A quick change of clothes into the red and black, and he's back chasing monsters. And explaining ad nauseum about his paranormal business without cracking any inflectives. He explains New Orleans is chock full of vampires, werewolves, and zombies, and before he started chasing bedsheet bingo players he was the chief investigator appointed by the netherworld to maintain the peace. I would have liked to have seen that movie.
Now hot on the trail of the monster mauler, Dylan visits Vargus (Scott Leo Diggs) at the vampire nightclub Corpus, where the love of his life was murdered. He also visits the meat packing plant where the werewolves hang out. In between visits, he's helping Marcus get used to his new zombie lifestyle that includes eating maggots served fresh on a bun (no pickles), and regular visits to Big Al's Body Shop for replacement body parts.
Huntington plays his Being Human self, which I enjoy watching because it matches his physical presence well, but without enough writer support his zombie-angst filled interludes--including a zombie support-group meeting--stretch thin. There's one good line. It comes just after Marcus wakes up undead, when he's told "Good thing about being the living dead, no more jogging."
While it's no Maltese Falcon, the artifact at the center of the mayhem is the Heart of Belial. The owner of it gets to bring back a demon who will destroy everyone the owner doesn't like. Or so the legend says. No one ever reads the fine print.
There is one good thing here, but it comes after seeing the movie, when you can read the Dylan Dog Italian comic book series by Tiziana Sclavi. Better yet, I'd recommend doing that instead of seeing this movie.