You’d have thought Brandon Routh would have learned his lesson with SUPERMAN RETURNS. Comic book adaptations clearly aren’t his forte. And while the mess they made of the Man of Steel wasn’t really his fault (he was hired to look and act like a young Christopher Reeve, which he did), his youthful good looks, breezy charm and general air of blandness make him entirely the wrong choice for DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT.
Based on (apparently) ‘the world’s most popular comics’ (according to the press release, anyway), DYLAN is a horror/noir/action/comedy mash-up that only proves how difficult it is to successfully blend genres. Routh plays the titular Dylan, a hardboiled private eye operating out of Louisiana. His clientele are predominantly monsters – the werewolves, vampires and zombies that walk unseen amongst humanity. An intriguing premise, but one that soon devolves into tedium. Routh comprehensively fails to convince as a hard-bitten PI, and his sub-Chandler narration quickly becomes grating. The monsters are worse. The werewolves resemble fluffy CGI polar bears and the vampires are all bluster and no bite. Worst of all, the zombies seem to be there entirely for comic relief. If ever anyone doubted that PG-13 monsters do not work, here’s the proof.
The effects are generally good, if overused, and Dylan’s sidekick Marcus (played by Sam Huntington, best known for the US version of BEING HUMAN) isn’t as annoying as he could have been. Even the laughable miscasting of Routh as a grizzled, world-weary cynic could have been forgiven, if not for the story. There’s a murder mystery, a dame in distress, a plot involving ‘true blood’ vampires and an ancient amulet... and it’s impossible to care about any of it. Simply put, it’s boring. And not just boring – mind-meltingly tedious. DYLAN DOG is the kind of film that has you glancing at your watch ten minutes in, and praying for thermonuclear Armageddon half an hour later.
It’s difficult to know who DYLAN DOG is aimed at. It’s an unsatisfying comedy and a joke of a noir thriller. It’s not horror by any adult standard, and there’s not enough pale Gothic angst to attract the tween TWILIGHT crowd. It’s a misfire on every level, and another unfortunate milestone on the road of Routh’s declining career.