Brandon Routh has kind of a varied history with us. We hated him as the peeping-tom man in the red cape in Superman Returns (2006), but he redeemed himself as jerk ex-boyfriend in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010). Now, he’s starring as a supernatural private eye in Dylan Dog: Dead of Night, and we’re hoping he’s proving that Superman Returns (2006) was just a bad decision.
In Dylan Dog, he manages to turn that emo Supes personality into a dark and brooding hero, and does it better than Keanu Reeves did in Constantine (2005). With plenty of voice-over and a bit of leftover Supes power, he leads the viewer through a case that both stirs up old memories and creates all sorts of new ones for his title character. He’s entertaining almost without meaning to be, and a good point guide for the viewer in this quirky film.
Sam Huntington (Jimmy Olsen from Superman Returns (2006)) joins Routh once again as a sidekick in Dylan Dog, but this time his comedic talents aren’t wasted. His undead zombie Marcus is a laugh-a-minute as he tries to adjust to the new reality of being a zombie, and will keep viewers chuckling throughout.
Taye Diggs, lately gone soft from his time in “Private Practice” (TV), is wickedly cool as a vampire named Vargas. Peter Stormare, as a werewolf named Gabriel (not to be confused with the angel of the same name in Constantine (2005)), is also along for the ride, but sadly, isn’t as well used. Wrestler Kurt Angle is surprisingly good as a werewolf, and Anita Briem, while not a stand-out amongst the cast, plays her role decently as well.
The storyline centers around a blood-filled crucifix that has everyone raging to get their hands on it, and Dylan Dog, former private investigator for the undead, finds himself getting reluctantly drawn back into that secret world. With vampires, werewolves and zombies running amok, it’s up to him to stop things from getting too out of hand.
It’s an interesting storyline, since all the werewolves, zombies and vamps along the way aren’t necessarily bad (in fact, some of them, like sidekick Marcus, are downright comical), and the lines between good and bad aren’t as clearly drawn as they are in most supernatural horror flicks. It makes for an interesting story, since the viewer isn’t easily able to distinguish good from bad.
Unfortunately, the telling of that story is a bit too simplistic, and not many surprises are actually that, since the film gives up it’s secrets long before they are actually revealed on-screen. Kevin Munroe, whose previous directing stints include the animated TMNT (2007), may be partly to blame for that, but thankfully, he’s able to make the trip through the film interesting anyway.
So, sure it’s not the mystery thriller/comedy it wants to be, but with surprisingly good performances from some of it’s cast (notably Routh, Angle and Diggs), welcome comic relief from the previously underrated Huntington, and an interesting twist on the old monster movie storyline, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night, despite it’s quick run through theaters, is worth checking out.
And since you can currently watch it instantly on NetFlix®, this quirky horror/comedy is definitely worth the price of admission.