I’m lucky: I went into the theater to see this surprisingly amusing horror/comedy without having ever read the Italian graphic novel series of the same name. Why? Because if you read the ‘boards, you’ll see that a lot of fans are vociferously complaining about how the film isn’t true to the characters and storyline in the graphic novels. Yeah, whatever. My question is always does it work as a film?
I am happy to report that Dylan Dog: Dead of Night was actually quite entertaining and a fun, self-conscious, pop-culture-laced take on the entire mythos of the undead world, humans vs. vampires/werewolves, what life’s like as a zombie (in the same spirit as the classic An American Werewolf in London). In fact, there are a ton of cinematic references in the film, from an opening sequence ripped out of Citizen Kane to Dylan’s office, clearly decorated in Sam Spade decor a la The Maltese Falcon. I’m a film geek, I dig when directors are too.
The story is some goofiness about a war brewing between vampires, lead by the natty Vargas (Taye Diggs) and the werewolves, a much scroungier lot led by Gabriel (Peter Stormare). There are zombies galore too, but they’re the freaks, working graveyard shifts and looking green and, well, like they’re falling apart. There’s this silver cross that has the blood of a 5000 year old demon and if it’s used to stab someone undead, the demon resurrects. Vargas thinks that’s a great way to have vampires regain their proper place in the food chain: above us “breathers” (non-undead) (uh, “living”). Dylan (Brandon Routh) and his assistant Marcus (Sam Huntington) are all that stands between, well, you know the shtick…
On one hand, the film’s a bloody mess of horror tropes and clichés, but I mean, what do you expect when the protagonist has a business card that says “No pulse? No problem!”. Yeah, that’s the kind of humor throughout the film and it’s pretty darn fun. In fact, this would be a great film to watch with a few friends who have a tendency to snarkiness. Lots of fun. I mean, jeez, people should be dying to see this one. Or get out of the theater. One or the other.
And as for me? I expected to not like it at all and was surprised that I did enjoy Dylan Dog: Dead of Night. Who knows, if you ignore the fanboy complaints and check it out, you might just like it too.