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NEW YORK — Film noir is combined with horror to zero effect in Dylan Dog: Dead of Night, based on an obscure Italian comic book. Starring Brandon Routh in the titular role of a New Orleans private investigator who specializes in dealing with the vampires, zombies and werewolves that apparently populate the city’s streets — hasn’t it suffered enough? — this would-be franchise is stillborn.
Dylan, whose business card reads “No pulse, no problem,” gets embroiled in a case involving a comely young blonde (Anita Briem) whose father was killed by a werewolf. Along with his sidekick Marcus (Sam Huntington), he soon finds himself battling the various demons of the night, armed with his silver knuckles for werewolves and guns loaded with wooden bullets for vampires and dum-dum bullets for zombies.
Marcus quickly finds himself a quick casualty, only to be brought back to life as, naturally, a zombie. His newfound state leads to the film’s few laughs, such as when he rebels against the standard zombie diet — for the non-cannibalistic variety at least — of maggots and worms. He’s also helpfully assured by Dylan that “the condition is manageable.”
The film has inexplicably snared some good actors to fill out the supporting roles, including Peter Stormare as a werewolf and Taye Diggs as the vampire owner of a nightclub whose specialty of the house is vampire blood.
But genuine thrills are in short supply, with cheesy special effects, awkwardly staged battles and monster get-ups that look like they were rented from the nearest Halloween shop giving the production a cheap, direct-to-DVD feel.
The New Orleans locations, naturally centered on the old French Quarter neighborhood and the city’s famed cemeteries, do add some appropriately spooky atmosphere.
The terminally bland Routh brings little conviction or energy to his portrayal, failing to provide the sort of sly humor that might have made the proceedings more bearable. Genre film fans will note that he’s reunited here with Huntingon, his Jimmy Olsen in the recent, less than successful attempt to reboot the Superman franchise.
Opened: April 29 (Freestyle Releasing)
Production: Hyde Park Films, Long Distance Films, Platinum Studios
Cast: Brandon Routh, Anita Briem, Sam Huntington, Peter Stormare, Taye Diggs, Kurt Angle
Director: Kevin Munroe
Screenplay: Thomas Jean Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer
Producers: Gilbert Adler, Scott Mitchell Rosenberg
Executive producers: Patrick Aiello, Ashok Amritaj, Will French, Peter D. Graves, Randy Greenberg, Christopher Mapp, Kevin Munroe, Stephen Roberts, Matthew Street, Lars Sylvest, David Whealy
Director of photography: Geoffrey Hall.
Editor: Paul Hirsch
Production designer: Raymond Pumilia
Costume designer: Caroline Eselin
Music: Klaus Badelt
Rated PG-13, 107 minutes
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