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Dylan Dog Isn’t Good, Raises Interesting Questions About the Future of Movies

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night
Directed by Kevin Munroe
Written by Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer based on the comic book by Tiziano Sclavi
Freestyle, 2011

There’s a rather interesting movement going on in film where small studios and independent producers are finding ways to get their films shown one way or another.  There is so much media in which to display your work, that films have sort of gotten into an almost “self-publishing” type of business.  I used to think that these movies ultimate savior was going to be Netflix, mainly because the availability of many of these movies are a click of the button away.  The idea among this movement, not that there is any de facto leader or meetings taking place, is that it’s more important to reach some kind of audience rather than shoot for the moon and try for everybody.  Some audience is better than no audience, and who knows, maybe your movie will become the next cult hit, made for just a little money and getting unexpected profits.

But now, I am seeing these movies actually…get into theatres.  It’s a strange sight, watching movies that normally would have gone straight to video find a screen.  I’m not sure what opened the door, it might be that the theatre owners are tired of having to dedicate half of their real estate to the supposed next big blockbuster and only getting marginal returns per screen.  I think that has a lot to do with it.  Very few movies actually command the necessity to be on over 4000 screens, but the studios have been force-feeding this for awhile and it’s been bad business in many cases.  So now, we start seeing Dylan Dog: Dead of Night, or like a couple of weeks ago, the small success story of Atlas Shrugged: Part I.  We have seen Christian films flourishing under this kind of system for awhile now, with movies like Left Behind and Fireproof, which means the low budget non-Christian fare has a chance too.

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night is exactly the type of movie you would see readily available on your Netflix queue at home.  Vaguely recognizable actors, derivative plot, usually a sci-fi/horror theme involving instantly recognizable villains: vampires, werewolves, aliens, the usual stuff.  Here, we have a New Orleans private investigator named Dylan Dog (Superman Returns‘ Brandon Routh), who is approached by a woman-in-trouble, Elizabeth (Anita Briem), whose father has just been killed by something that can only be described as a monster.  Dylan doesn’t want to take the case because he used to do this sort of thing, hang out with the city’s vampires and werewolves and such, and something happened to his girlfriend that caused him to go on a rampage and never deal with them again.  His go-and-get-it-guy, who wants to be his partner, Marcus (Sam Huntington, who played Jimmy Olsen in the aforementioned Superman Returns), wants Dylan to take the case, but he refuses, until Marcus himself is attacked by a monster.  And Marcus becomes a zombie.

As always, we have a group of vampires who want to rule the world and not be so suppressed all the time, like we’ve seen in almost every modern vampire tale.  This group is led by Vargas (Taye Diggs), one of those villains who always laughs between sentences.  Werewolves and vampires are attacking each other (Peter Stormare makes an appearance as a werewolf), and there’s this monster killing everything in sight, and somehow this artifact known as The Heart, which has been lost for centuries, will awaken a demon that once ruled the Earth thousands of years ago.  I kind of lost track of everybody’s motives and who was behind what after awhile.  That tends to happen in movies like these.

It’s one of those very low budget movies where there are so many things you’ve seen before that there’s really no originality anywhere.  Like: there’s a point where Dylan goes to a library and has to do some research, and there’s a vampire there who makes it seem like the information he’s about to tell Dylan is some huge secret that needs to be kept.  It takes almost no convincing to get the information, and once Dylan gets it, you might wonder why the guy was being such an asshole about not wanting to give it in the first place.  The comic relief, here in the form of his zombie partner Marcus, is the usual stuff where the guy whines and complains and throws out a one-liner about Jack Kevorkian or somebody now and then.

By the way, this comes from the writers of Sahara and A Sound of Thunder, two very, very bad movies, and directed by the guy who did the TMNT animated reboot a few years ago.  It’s a thoroughly annoying movie, but if it finds any audience, it will be a success.


Comment from Jonathan
Time: April 29, 2011, 8:01 am

I’m sure this movie isn’t very good, but I will answer to your query of how it even got in the theater. It is based on a fairly popular comic book that has a strong cult following, not to mention essentially a remake of “Cemetary Man” (Rupert Everett played the same character that Routh is playing) which also has a pretty strong following (and is really good if you haven’t seen it). Not the strongest of reasons, but if something like freaking “Transylmania” can get in based on the “Twilight” fans love of anything vampire (or so that was there thinking) then I guess “Dylan Dog” deserves its chance.

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