So I am doing this review by request from my best friend Dave (yes, my best friend is ALSO named Dave. He does exist, and just because none of my other friends have ever met him or can tell you what he looks like in no way implies that I made up an imaginary friend and gave him the same name in some kind of schizophrenic ego boost. By the way, Dave is watching you right now and thinks that t-shirt you are wearing is pretty cool). He has been reading the Dylan Dog comic for years and tells me it is both bloody and chock full of gratuitous nudity. It is written Tiziano Sclavi in Italy. He says it is great, and wanted to get my opinion of the film.
Actually, I can’t help but feel like the lab monkey on this one, or the kid the other kids get to eat something first. However, I have been looking for a bad movie to review for a while and, to be honest, was usually the first one to try something as a kid, so I don’t mind. In fact, if you have a movie you would like to see a review from feel free to post a response to any of my review or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a message on Twitter and I will see what I can do.
Also, I don’t know if this is at all significant, but in addition to Italy and USA Dylan Dog is published in Croatia, Serbia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and Turkey. I’m kind of at a loss as to what kind of observation I can make based on that list, but somehow it seems more than a little weird.
Anyway, Dylan Dog the movie. Honestly, I am a little repulsed by movies like this not because it’s particularly bad or good but because it is so bland. I mean, it definitely sucks on many levels, but it doesn’t suck enough to make it really fun and interesting. I think the best way to describe it is confused. It can’t really decide what it is. Is it a monster hunting Buffy the Vampire slayer flick or a true horror movie? One minute you are seeing some really decent (given the budget they probably were working with) CGI werewolf transformation and in the next seeing a guy in a rubber suit that looks like it escaped from the set of Creature from the Black Lagoon. Are vampires and werewolves faster and more powerful than mortals, or can an ordinary human kill mass numbers of them with impunity? Are zombies creatures of horror, or are they cheesy comedy relief? Are vampires sexy creatures of the night (Twilight sucks) or are they primitive, savage killers? It is all so disjointed. However, from what I have seen I can’t really blame the comic. These issues I lay firmly at the feet of the director and producers.
(Lugio Fulci Zombie image courtesy of the horror movie t shirt category)
SPOILER ALERT! I don’t really expect many of you to see this film, so I am going to let myself go nuts on the story details. If you plan to see this film and feel that me telling you the ending might detract from the subtle nuances of the film maybe you should skip to the final two paragraphs of this review. I don’t think I will be annoying many people.
Anyway, the story. Honestly, if you have ever read any of the Dresden Files than you pretty much know the story already (Dylan even drives an old Volkswagon), although Dylan Dog preceded Jim Butchers novels by about 10 years, so I guess it’s possible Butcher borrowed from Dylan. Dylan is a private investigator that used to specialize in the paranormal, although he claims to be retired and now does divorce investigations. A hot chick with a really annoying Scandinavian accent hires him to investigate the death of her father, who was killed by a werewolf. He refuses, but agrees after his best friend (who managed to deliver a homoerotic undercurrent with Dylan) is also killed (for no reason that makes sense to me) and comes back as a zombie. Zombies in this movie are not mindless, soulless flesh eaters. Instead they are relatively normal with their intellects intact, except for the fact that they keep rotting and have to eat worms, grubs, and hot dogs (actually that made me laugh). They are also pretty much the comic relief of the film, with a market selling replacement body parts and so on.
Dylan also used to be the mortal intermediary between vampires and werewolves, which is how he got into this business. He lost his job when he went nuts and killed a bunch of older vampires with wooden bullets (?? Honestly, wood does not sound like it makes the most accurate projectile, and the human heart is about the size of your fist. If you have ever been to a gun range you know how hard it is to hit on a paper target that isn’t moving, but somehow Dylan manages to hit every vampire he shoots at in the movie in the heart with surgical precision). After his friend gets killed he takes the case. The movie kind of gets confusing at that point. The dad at one point had a silver cross that could summon some big bad ass monster and everyone wants it. The vampires seem to get the bad guys, but they tend to look a lot like the werewolves, and somehow they have a giant zombie working for them who also looks like a werewolf. Undead action hijinx ensues (sort of). Some civilians are killed, including two cops, but no one seems to care. At the end the girl who hired Dylan turns out to be from a family of monster hunters and wants to summon the big monster herself. The monster is summoned and then more or less stupidly kills himself (it was established multiple times that the only way to kill the big bad would be to kill the person who summoned him. Why then would he take the girl who summoned him and toss her across the room, then leave to let the werewolves literally eat her). Dylan really has nothing to do with the ending and could probably have stayed home and not gotten an ass beating.
First the stars. Comic book movie. One star. Zombies. One star. Vampires that burst into flame in the sunlight, not sparkle (Twilight sucks). One star. Some episodes of decent CGI. One star. There is good chemistry between Dylan and his zombie sidekick that wanders aimlessly into the entertaining zone. One star. Total: five stars.
Now for the sweet, suc(k)culent black holes. Throughout the movie Dylan Dog does a detective noir voice over monolog that made me want to run upstairs and murder the projectionist. One black hole. The acting from all characters except for the zombie comedy relief dismally sucked. One black hole. Dylan Dog, in spite of trying to appear a grizzled private dick, looked and sounded like the really annoying version of Superman (not a coincidence, as Brandon Routh played Superman in the last film). One black hole. The directer couldn’t find a tone for his movie (Horror? Comedy? Grindhouse? Detective film? Two part Buffy episode?). Two black holes. The film really bent time and space in order to maintain that PG-13 rating. No real gore, and absolutely no nudity in spite of the source content. I swear they might have gotten a PG rating if they tried. The movie felt like the vampire version of the Goonies. One black hole. There was no appeal for the protagonist or his romantic interest. The only character worth watching was the zombie sidekick. One black hole. The movie established early on that Dylan would suffer no consequences from the bad stuff by falling off a second floor and landing on a table only to jump up to fight, making the action painfully boring. I found myself struggling to stay awake during some of the action sequences. One black hole. The boss monster, while kind of cool looking, was really dumb in letting his mortal connection die easy. One black hole. In spite of having the strength of 10 men and otherwise being superhuman, the vampires seem to die in droves at the hands of humans. One black hole. In spite of the clues spoon fed to us by the Dylan Dog monolog the story was pretty confusing. One black hole. The “hot girl” was not that hot, seemed to have issues showing anything more than a shoulder blade, and had an annoying accent. One black hole. The makeup for the werewolves is really amateurish. I have seen better on YouTube videos. One black hole. Total: 13 black holes.
So a grand total of eight black holes, which is kind of worse than I thought it was going to end up with. It seems to suffer from the director wanting to cram about five years worth of comics into one movie. I don’t think it is in real danger of turning into a cult movie. That being said, a decent evening could be had with beer and pizza watching it online.
It might be pretty obvious to most savvy readers, but I am kind of new to the whole internet promotion thing and social media. I probably should have been putting this into my blogs months ago, but you can follow me on Twitter at @nerdkungfu. My Facebook page is pretty pathetic, so I will forgo posting it here, but you can find me if you look hard enough. I’m headed to a weekend Warhammer tournament and probably won’t post anything until Sunday night, but will be updating things on Twitter. Thanks everyone for reading this and your support.