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Movie Review

The handsome Dylan Dog used to be a somebody among the shadow-crouching denizens of New Orleans. He was appointed as the sole human who kept an eye on all of the city's vampires, werewolves, zombies and ghouls. It was his job to arbitrate grievances between the perpetually warring factions, to serve as a line in the silt, so to speak.

So he knows all the paranormal players well: The nightclub owners who sell their vampire blood to addicted humans. The zombie "body shop" hustlers who market replacement bits for the rotting. The werewolf meat packers who know good meat when they sniff it.

But that life is behind him now. He's retired from the monster-mediation biz. All he wants to do now is play the part of a low-rent detective. Snap a lurid photo here. Tape an incriminating conversation there. It's all good. And free of the living dead.

Well, not completely free. Just when he thinks he's out … they suck him back in. Some deadly creature is ripping people's chests out—and one of the victims is Dylan's best friend/sidekick Marcus. A pretty young woman needs his help to find her father's killer and a dangerous artifact, too. And on top of that, the now zombified Marcus needs a new arm.

Sigh.

The undead (and their movies) can be so trying.

Positive Elements

Even though Dylan really doesn't want to get involved in the current deadly goings-on, he realizes how valuable his past experience can be and puts his life on the line to help Marcus and Elizabeth. (She's the bereaved daughter.) For Marcus' part, he has a really hard time believing that he's now a zombie—and the monster world scares him silly—but he never shies away from returning the favor and helping his pal Dylan.

Spiritual Content

The very nature of the movie is spiritual since it revolves around preternatural creatures, the undead and a demon. The camera examines pictures of a demon in an ancient text. The artifact Dylan seeks is said to contain the blood of a demon. And when this cross-like relic is later plunged into the back of a vampire, the blood drains out of its centerpiece glass receptacle and the vampire transforms into an enormous winged and horned creature.

Marcus goes to a zombie support group and meets a zombified priest there. A zombie reports that a monster hunter is a "religious type" running around with "holy water and stakes." Dylan gives an old vampire friend a copy of Dante's Purgatorio. Dylan gives Elizabeth a talisman to protect her from vampires.

Sexual Content

Elizabeth and several other women are seen in formfitting and low-cut tops. A number of human women at the vampire nightclub wear provocative short skirt outfits. We see two of them in bed with a shirtless vampire some time later. (It's implied that both girls, under the covers, are naked.) Dylan and Elizabeth kiss and he removes his shirt. We see the two the next morning with her in bed wearing a sheer top and him wearing slacks and no shirt. Marcus shows Dylan a photo he took while on a recent case and Dylan exclaims, "Is that even anatomically possible?" (We don't see the picture.) When Dylan takes Elizabeth into the zombie body shop, the owner lustfully admires her "parts."

Violent Content

Throughout the film, Dylan is either killing beasties or being battered and slapped around by beasties. To even the odds, the paranormal detective wears brass knuckles covered in silver to take down the werewolves. He packs a variety of guns armed with wood-tipped bullets or burning magnesium for the vampires. And he uses dum-dum rounds to sever zombie brain stems. Resulting gore involves lots of splattering blood and bright flares sprouting from victims'. Dylan even blasts a bullet through Marcus' shoulder—spewing gore out the other side—to prove that his friend is indeed a zombie.

We see three people with large holes in their chests—one of whom is lying in a pool of his own blood that has soaked through the floor and is dripping into the kitchen below. A zombie body shop sports a number of severed parts that can be purchased to replace limbs that have rotted or fallen off. Visuals there include: A young girl waiting for service with her separated leg leaning against the chair beside her. A man sitting propped up in a chair with nothing but a large intestinal opening where his lower extremities should be.

Dylan bloodies a guy's nose in a fight. And the detective is hit with sledgehammer-size monster fists that send him soaring, tumbling and crashing through various set pieces. His attackers include: A giant flesh-eating zombie, packs of sharp-fanged vampires, snarling blood-eyed werewolves and a gigantic 10-foot-tall demon. Elizabeth is slashed at by a group of werewolves. A vampire is impaled on a sign. A fatally wounded man/werewolf bleeds copiously from his/its mouth. We see two policemen with bloody faces. Marcus has his substitute arm ripped off.

Crude or Profane Language

About 10 uses each of the s-word and "h‑‑‑." Two or three each of "a‑‑," "b‑‑ch" and "b‑‑tard." God's and Jesus' names are misused over a dozen times (with God's being combined with "d‑‑n" twice).

Drug and Alcohol Content

The big drug business at the local night club involves selling vials of vampire blood. The substance is invigorating and said to be very addictive—eventually turning humans into ghouls. We see a man inhale the crimson substance … and go a little crazy.

Elizabeth drinks wine. An ancient vampire reports, "Dante, that man could drink!"

Other Negative Elements

When Marcus becomes a zombie he's told that he must eat flesh or a substitute of worms and lice. He initially refuses, but we see him vomit when trying to eat normal food. So he eventually succumbs to eating the worms.

Dylan reveals his pessimistic philosophy to be: "Things in life don't get better—they get even worse or they stay the same."

Conclusion

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night is yet another of a seemingly endless stream of movies based on comic books. Why have there been so many of these adaptations, you ask? Well, they're a way of restocking Hollywood's apparently dried-up pool of story ideas. And they generally lend themselves to plenty of computer-generated graphics whiz-bang. And they usually have a built-in fan base that will fill the theaters, hoping to see a childhood fave brought to life.

The problem for Dylan Dog is that none of those reasons seem to apply. This pic's paranormal private eye storyline is rather jumbled, feels tired and plays out like a weak mid-season episode of an unexceptional watch-me-bare-my-teeth TV show. The special effects … well, aren't so much. And the Italian horror mag source material is all but unknown in the U.S. So it's safe to say that the theater lines won't be long. Um, let me amend that last line to read: The theater lines won't be lines at all.

Add to that cinematic dilemma crude language, chest-staking, limb-ripping and demonic messiness. Oh, and undead levels of acting, too. Early on we see that Dylan Dog carries a business card emblazoned with: "No pulse, no problem." But trust me, this pulseless monster mash has more than its share of 'em.

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Plot Summary

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Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

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