The New Orleans-set “Dylan Dog: Dead of Night” brings vampires, werewolves, zombies, detective noir and spoofy comedy together for a murky genre gumbo with barely any flavor.
Based on a globally popular Italian comic book series by Tiziano Sclavi, director Kevin Munroe’s structural mess of a movie stars Brandon Routh as the title character, a human private eye embittered by past dealings with the city’s hiding-in-plain-sight undead.
When a wealthy importer’s murder shows lycanthropic leanings, Dylan gets pulled back into the city’s creature corners — and pitted against a vampire kingpin (Taye Diggs) — with the help of the dead man’s daughter (Anita Briem, on eye candy patrol) and Dylan’s zombie assistant (Sam Huntington, on wisecrack duty).
The convoluted story turns on a collective search for an ancient artifact with the power to control the world’s immortal nasties, but the movie’s own desperate quest — mixing spooky thrills, mayhem and modern-day humor a la “Ghostbusters” or “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” or even “Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein” — is a bust.
Ex-Superman hunk Routh, who’s managed funny image-busting turns of late in “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” is severely out of his element with deadpan, tough-guy one-liners and not helped to begin with by Joshua Oppenheimer and Thomas Dean Donnelly’s belabored, laugh-challenged script.
Plus, visually, there’s a big difference between affecting a shadowy world and one that just looks poorly lit.
Simply put, fans of bloodsucking, claw-swiping, flesh-rotting entertainment have enough going on in pop culture without needing to waste their time with “Dylan Dog: Dead of Night.”