Tuesday, July 5, 2011

In short: Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2010)

Dylan Dog (Brandon "I'm not here" Routh), the former investigator and conciliator for the population of supernatural creatures of New Orleans turned first monster vigilante, then normal private investigator after his woman got refrigerator-ed. Though his former monster friends don't like him anymore, Dog gets back into the paranormal investigation business when something kills his comic relief sidekick (Sam "I'm not funny" Huntington). It all has something to do with a case Dog didn't want to take concerning the murder of the father of personality-deprived Elizabeth (Anita "I'm not here either" Briem). Daddy died because he smuggled a much coveted McGuffin into New Orleans, and now every monster faction in the city tries to get the thing, which leads to Dog having particularly unexciting fights and confrontations with vampires, werewolves and zombies while randomly walking around, ahem, "investigating".

Oh, and the comic relief sidekick returns as a - still painfully unfunny - zombie. If you've ever seen a movie, you can imagine the rest yourself, and will probably come up with a more entertaining plot than the movie at hand has.

Whatever could go wrong with an adaptation of Tiziano Sclavi's long-running comic series into a Urban Fantasy movie featuring that guy who was already horrible as Superman, a role not exactly known for its emotional depth or breadth? Basically, everything else, too. The script is a plainly stupid assortment of badly realized clichés, painfully unfunny humour and dialogue (plus - see me shudder - off-screen monologues by our titular hero) so wooden and dumb it'll make your brain bleed, and a plot built with the Script-O-Tron-2000 (dumber edition). Obviously, the film doesn't make much use of its New Orleans setting either, and might just as well take place in Generic US City for most of its running time.

Director Kevin Munroe is exactly as good as the script he's working from, so don't expect any reprieve from the pain from him. While the camera stays in focus all the way through, and the film's basically professionally shot, there's not a second of visual imagination on screen throughout the whole film. To make matters even worse, Munroe also doesn't manage to balance the (supposedly) humorous elements with the (supposedly) more exciting parts at all - it's all a big, boring stew of scenes that seem randomly strung together, starting for no good reason and ending in the same way.

The actors don't want the people behind the camera to get all the blame for the catastrophe that's supposed to be a movie, though, and so each and every one of them delivers an atrocious performance. And it's not even the kind of atrocious performance a viewer could have fun with. There's an unpleasant odour of nobody giving a toss for the fact that people will actually pay money to watch this abomination surrounding everything here I find at once depressing, infuriating and undignified.

Usually, I have no trouble finding something worthy of praise even in the most dire of films, but even if there were something praiseworthy to be found if I'd just dig deep enough, Dylan Dog's air of disinterest and apathy robs me of all inclination to look for it any further.


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