Exclusive Test Screening Review of ‘Dylan Dog: Dead of Night’


Last night, I was able to attend the very first test screening of “Dead of Night,” starring Brandon Routh (of “Superman Returns”) as Dylan Dog and directed by Kevin Munroe (of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).

The screening was “invite only” and the audience was prepped before the screening that we were the very first audience to view the film and that it was not in the final ready-to-be-released form. We were warned that much of the CGI was still to be added, but to use our imaginations as to what it might be, that the finished movie would be every bit as polished as other current movies.

I was fortunate to sit with three people in the theater that helped fill up the time waiting for the movie to start. After talking about the business to one of them, he confessed that he was a screenwriter. I won’t mention his name, since I believe I was the only one who knew he was there. I will say this: I was in very good company and just wanted to give a shout out in case he reads this. I look forward to your next work hitting the big screen.

In case you are not familiar with the Dylan Dog character — he is a very big deal in Italy — the original character was created by Tiziano Sclavi in the mid-1980s and is a recovering alcoholic nightmare investigator living in London.

The world in which he lives is filled with monsters — such as vampires, zombies and werewolves from the movie world — who secretly live all around us. Dylan almost always wears the same clothes: a red long-sleeved shirt, black jacket and a pair of blue jeans. In the comics, he has an assistant named Groucho who is a former celebrity impersonator who became frozen into the character he once impersonated. Dylan and Groucho drive around in an old black-over-white VW convertible bug. Oh, and Dylan gets beaten up … a lot … but he always gets the girl … unfortunately not for long.

Now, to the movie. Much of the Dylan Dog lore is there, such as the trademark clothes and the VW bug. However, due to the fact that Disney has trademark rights to images of a white VW bug (thanks to “Herbie”), the colors are reversed, with white over black.

Dylan’s world-weary attitude is fully intact and is well played by Routh.

Due to issues concerning the cost to license the Groucho character, Dylan’s assistant — played by Sam Huntington (Jimmy Olsen in “Superman Returns”) — is a new character named Marcus.

Marcus is soon living his own nightmare with a lot of humorous turns — at least it is funny for the audience. It is never fully explained just why Dylan has relocated to New Orleans, but we are shown the reasons why he turned his back on his nightmare investigations and is trying to leave the past behind him … along with the nightmare world.

I found the movie totally charming from start to finish with plenty of laughs, just enough gore and suspense and lots of witty banter, even between the most unlikely of characters.

At first, I thought Routh seemed a bit stiff, then I realized he was channeling Dylan as the graphic comic shows him to be, complete with dry humor and a little world weary demeanor. I think he nailed the character, in fact. That said, I must also say that Sam Huntington almost stole the show. He was that good. You could really feel that the Dylan and Marcus characters presented on screen were buddies. And the ending was a big surprise.

I believe the movie will have a broad appeal beyond the typical horror genre fans. The audience certainly seemed to enjoy the movie. Everyone was laughing at the right times and quiet at other times. I found the humor was just right — as was the pacing and action scenes. Dylan was the dry reluctant hero who returns to his true calling; the female lead, Elizabeth, is played with just the right amount of fragility and spunk by Anita Briem (of “Journey to the Center of the Earth”); and Marcus was a riot almost from the get-go. Rounding out the cast was Taye Diggs as the leader of a Vampire gang, Brian Steele as an imposing Tattooed Zombie and Kurt Angle as a powerful werewolf.

The movie had a nice mix of music, but, just as we were warned, there were a lot of CGI special effects that still need to be added. At certain places, a caption would pop up saying CGI XYZ here. Also, in a big fight scene, we got to see the wires on Routh that were used to propel his character after being hit. It was cool to be able to see that. At the end it just said, “Credit Roll,” or something to that effect.

Speaking of the end, the ending definitely leaves the idea for sequels wide open.

“Dead of Night” is due to take a bite out of the box office Spring or Fall 2010.

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28 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. 1

    I am really looking forward to seeing this movie.

  2. Linda #

    Great article. This movie sounds good. Now you have to loan me that book you told me about.

  3. 3

    I cannot wait to see that movie next year. I am hearing great things.

  4. stargazer #

    Wow, you’re such a lucky woman, Vanna! Encouraging review! This is really my most anticipated movie of 2010. Can’t wait!

  5. casey nunez #

    I Had The Honor Of Working With Brandon In The Filming Of Dead Of Night I Had The Chance Of Stepping Into The Suit Of The Main Killer The Tattoo Zombie Played By Stunt Man Brian Steele. I Come In Towards The End Of The Movie As I Fill In For Steele.
    People Get Ready This Is Going To Be a Movie That Everyone Should Enjoy!
    Director Kevin Munroe Has a Magic About Him And Did a Great Job In Directing This Movie!
    As for Brandon Routh The Guy Can Act!

  6. 6

    I couldn’t be more jealous, Vanna.

  7. Vanna #

    Sorry (no, I’m not really) Sean and of all things it was Your Birthday! At least I gave you an exclusive review to read, even if it was the next day.

  8. Rob #

    Sounds really exciting and I’m glad to hear that Routh is landing decent roles outside of Superman. I’m looking forward to this.

  9. Jon #

    I wasn’t too familiar with the character, but I can’t wait for this one now.

  10. Disco #

    I wish I could have seen it!

  11. Jimmy #

    It sounds awesome. And Im guessing, when all the real special affects are added, this will be one kick ass film. If you really enjoyed it in the raw state, that says volumes for what it truely will be when fully completed. Really looking forward to it too.

  12. NoahVogt #

    Vanna you lucky lucky lady! I don’t expect this film to be much of a hit at the box office, but I hope its well liked by those who do see it. I’m really interested to see how Routh does.

  13. stargazer #

    Hopefully they do/did a great job and the movie is a solid hit in every way. I love the character, think it has lots of potential, and I think Brandon fits the character well so far from what I’ve seen. I want sequels to be made.

  14. 14

    Nice to see Routh succeeding. I want to see this film, or if anythng, a teaser trailer. I think this will do fine at the box office since it’s got what people want, Zombies, Werewolves, and Vampires.

  15. Josue #

    Holy crap I am so there!! Brandon Routh returns! This movie is going to be amazing. “Also, in a big fight scene, we got to see the wires on Routh that were used to propel his character after being hit. It was cool to be able to see that.” you are lucky

  16. Linda #

    This does sound like a good movie. Such a cute star too.

  17. stargazer #

    So movie “Zombieland” is doing really well in both reviews and at the BO, and this just proves that there is lots of interest in the genre. 🙂

    I say just make the trailers for DoN really exciting, action/comedy oriented, promote them everywhere, and I have no doubt that the people will come. And if the movie is as good as it sounds, the people will keep on coming back for more, I think. The power of word of mouth. Here is hoping for the best. I just want more Brandon at the movies please! 😉

  18. Crane #

    Perfect work!

  19. dude #

    Good site. Some interesting and knowlegeable comments man 🙂

  20. vopmeloSore #

    Где бы ещё встретились

  21. Joshua #

    Buy in the the stock at ticker “pdos” it’s at .08 a share right now. Get in low before “Dead Of Night” is released.

  22. Pibble #

    Thank you for the review. Happy Valentine’s Day.

  23. NightMail #

    This movie is really losing momentum. I really wanted to see it last year, but now it has just about dropped off the radar.

  24. DD Fan #

    Did this movie just go away?

  25. Dave #

    Will we ever see this?

  26. Dane #

    I bet this never hits the theatres.

  27. Bill Fox #

    Yeah, where is this flick?

  28. Paulo #

    I still want to see this.

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