<strong>DEAD ON ARRIVAL:</strong> Brandon Routh stars as a supernatural private eye in the misconceived graphic-novel adaptation <em>Dylan Dog: Dead of Night</em>.

It isn’t a novel premise, the idea of a detective who works undetected with creatures living quietly among us “breathers.” Dylan Dog: Dead of Night is really a cross between Hellboy and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? but lacks either picture’s charms. An adaptation of an Italian graphic novel, which itself was an adaptation from a B-horror flick, Dog fails to bridge the worlds it embraces, much less the genres (detective and horror) it straddles. Even on the most obvious level of accomplishment, this film is neither very funny nor minutely scary.

Brian Routh (Superman Returns) stars in this all-monster whodunit concerning a magic blade that has zombies, werewolves, and vampires breaking their decades-long peace and stalking New Orleans (surely the most monster-plagued city in America). That’s until our reluctant hero gets dragged in to avenge his partner, of course. The funny part? His sidekick isn’t dead, just changed into a zombie, a condition that this film views as a “manageable” problem.

Dog tries to compensate for its shattered narrative structure with breezy chatter. In one scene, when a supreme evil is routed by a pack of lycanthropic thugs, you might wonder whether the filmmakers cheated. What just happened and why? Don’t stick around for any explanations, though. All we get at the end of this flick is a few jokes and a setup for a sequel. Why anyone might attempt to make another Dylan Dog film, however, would be the scariest mystery we’d ever need to ponder.


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