You know, just because a monster has a watermelon-crushing set of fangs or one of those tails with the big clubs on the end doesn't mean they should just forgo guns.
Would our heroes stand a chance if the big howling doom-demon not only carried the power to suck the Earth into a gnashing portal of pure chaos, but also a .44 Magnum?
Who would be feeling lucky now?
Nobody, I'd bet. Yet these cosmic menaces, locked up for millennia, return to the mortal world thinking nothing could possibly have changed in the last 5,000 years. They put about as little thought into their triumphant return as the makers of Dylan Dog: Dead of Night put into their monstery world. Now that's what I call a segue.
In New Orleans, the undead live in secrecy, bound by an uneasy truth. When her dad is killed by a werewolf, Anita Briem tries to convince former paranormal private investigator Brandon Routh out of retirement. Haunted by his past, he refuses -- until the killer takes out his assistant, Sam Huntington.
An ancient artifact has just resurfaced. If it falls into the wrong hands before Routh tracks it down, the undead may use it to shift the balance of power between themselves and humanity.
Dylan Dog: Dead of Night is based on the comic series by Tiziano Sclavi, the man whose work was also adapted into Cemetery Man, a zombie movie so great that all the other zombie movies should have to be called cemetery men movies. Dylan Dog proves quite conclusively that no matter how great the source material, nothing is safe from being ruined harder than a pair of spandex shorts left in the dryer at high heat and then struck by an even hotter meteor.
I will give director Kevin Munroe this much: he makes some interesting camera movements. But that is all I will give him. In fact, after Dylan Dog, I'm afraid I have no choice but to ask him to give back the things he's borrowed from me, such as my boombox and the 100-odd minutes of my time I spent waiting for his movie to get good.
Actually, Huntington has some funny moments, too, suggesting a) he might deserve a bigger career and b) there existed at least the hypothetical chance this thing could have been good.
Instead, it's a sad-faced mix of the unoriginal and the shamelessly stolen. The vampire clan is known as the "Truebloods" and they sell their own blood as a drug. Do you know how shameless that is? It's so shameless I have no choice but to out myself as a guy that's watched True Blood, damn it. Thanks, Dylan Dog. Thanks to your mindless aping of more popular stuff (ah, werewolves versus vampires! A revolution in the way we think about vampire-werewolf relationships), now everyone knows I watch sexy vampire TV. Or did until the annoyance-to-boob ratio got too high, anyway.
As it muddles through its generic story about the tough guy with the even tougher past that everyone keeps alluding to but no one will actually explain, Dylan Dog finds a little inspiration and a few laughs in a zombie subplot. Then it's back to arbitrary whatever about big bad old demons, helpfully exposited by an old man with a big library. Musty old leather-bound occult libraries: the analog Google.
Filled with too-familiar yet underexplored beasties and a backstory that feels as if it should have covered a movie and a half, Dylan Dog never finds its footing. Its subtitle optimistically suggests a franchise is on the way, but after an opening weekend that's somewhere between "disastrous" and "you'll never work in this town again," I wouldn't hold your breath. Unless you like dying.