How can you not enjoy a tongue in cheek film noir set in New Orleans with plenty of vampires, werewolves and zombies milling about? So this is by far not a great film, but it is a damn fun one. This is a tale of private eye, Dylan, who after a personal tragedy left his title as impartial private eye to the undead to live a life of "normalcy" only to get dragged back in. Like I said this is extremely tongue in cheek, but Brandon Routh carries the movie with a straight face and charisma that I'm sure Singer is bummed he couldn't get out of him.
Let's get the bad out of the way. The film is extremely low budget, and when you have a film so deeply rooted in the supernatural then you're bound to show your limitations. This comes across horribly in the makeup. Some of it is passable, but when it comes time for the heavy lifting, say a werewolf in full wolf mode, it fails at an almost laughable level. You know you're in trouble when your wolf is much more menacing in his human form than in his wolf form. When the makeuo work is subtle it works fine, some fangs here, a missing limb on a zombie, or even Peter Stormare fighting back a transformation. If the director would've just realized that then the film would've been that much better for it.
The next thing that really irked me about the film was Dylan's assistant, Marcus, who happens to die early on and come back as a very reluctant and skittish zombie. Like I said the whole movie is very tongue in cheek, but Sam Huntington plays his character far too big for everyone else involved. If you've ever seen the American version of Being Human, he is the werewolf in that show and plays this character with the same amount of jumpiness and anxiety. The movie works best when the actors embrace the silly world they are in, Routh does fantastic work delivering groan worthy lines, but sells them here with plenty of cool to spare. Huntington is unable to achieve the same, he constantly is worrying about this or that and insists on yelling and making scenes out of everything. His character was the one that took me out of the film the most. Not enough for me to dislike the film, but hopefully if they move forward with a sequel(the film cost nothing to make so I don't see why not) they will tone his character down more.
So the good? Well I love the story. Monsters living among us, with a human as their intermediary. Great stuff, and the little touches throughout really make this world come alive. I love the zombie body shop, I've never seen that before and it was highly creative. I love that this is essentially a classic film noir with monsters added. We have similar story beats here, an old Private Investigator who's been out of the game for awhile, gets dragged back in to solve a difficult case. Reluctant heroes are always great, and Routh plays his well. It all begins with a dame(as it always MUST) and she of course has her secrets to carry. There are the tense relations between local gangsters, or in this case warring factions of vamps and werewolves. And remember we're dealing with vampires here so of course there is an underlying mythology dating back thousands of years telling of some apocalyptic prophecy.
I like Routh a lot. I even like his superman to some extent, but man when he is doing weird quirky stuff he really comes alive. His work in Scott Pilgrim is hilarious and delightfully douchey, and here he carries the whole movie on his shoulders. I hope we get another installment with maybe some more money added, as I'd love to see more adventures with Dylan Dog.
Munroe keeps up the good work he did on TMNT, and makes a fun film that is very much aware of the story it's telling. It never takes itself too seriously, and that is the movie's greatest asset. We are left with an incredibly fun escapist film noir mixed with the supernatural. Not going to make any top ten lists, but good for a rental and something you should check out if you have any interest in either the detective or supernatural genre.
One last thought - Peter Stormare is always reliable for some scene chewing.
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