Alone in the Dark (2005) / Action-Horror
MPAA Rated: R for violence, gore, sensuality and language
Running Time: 97 min.
Cast: Christian Slater, Tara Reid, Stephen Dorff, Frank C. Turner, Mathew Walker, Mark Acheson, Darren Shahlavi, Karin Konoval
Director: Uwe Boll
Screenplay: Elan Mastai, Michael Roesch, Peter Sheerer
Review published February 1, 2005
If you have a video game franchise, and you really want to make a crappy film out of it, I suppose you couldn't find anyone who could take it to the depths of crapitude that director Uwe Boll has managed to do. After 2003's fiasco, House of the Dead, you'd think he wouldn't be allowed to sink another one, but now less than two years later, here he is again, making us all learn the true meaning of horror -- an Uwe Boll movie!
The plot, which is far more convoluted than a dumb action flick should ever be, starts off with an endlessly scrolling commentary about centuries-old Native Americans who unwittingly opened a gate between some world of light and one of darkness, letting loose evils and such. The movie starts off in the world of today, where a scientist named Hudgens (Mathews) has been in the search for ancient artifacts related to the mystical gate, while a paranormal investigator named Edward Carnby (Slater, Windtalkers) is also in the hunt, looking into the mysterious disappearance of 20 orphans and its meaning to the artifacts, one of which he possesses. Also in the mix, a government agency known as Bureau 713 is preparing for war against whatever supernatural baddies happen to be roaming the Earth, including humans who have been taken over by parasites that control their will.
I can't vouch for the accuracy of the plot synopsis above, mostly because the film does such a poor job of being cohesive enough to follow. Since the film is a mess, the acting sub par, and the direction downright abominable, the only thing one can do to stay awake is to either laugh at just how bad the dialogue is, or to play a time-honored game called, "Spot the Rip-offs". In this game, one sees how many films are plagiarized throughout the course of the film, and if you're a gamer, Alone in the Dark is like choosing "Easy Mode" in the videogame of the same name.
From the scrolling prologue, you might recall a similar opening to Blade Runner, which also featured an investigator in a trench coat, hunting down humans who aren't quite human, and who are hard as hell to kill. Also, there is a question as to whether or not the protagonist is one of "them", or one of "us". But wait! Perhaps the trench coat is a rip-off of the Connor MacLeod character from Highlander, which also features humans who are virtually immortal, and the only way to kill them is to sever a key part of their body. These creatures are also all drawn to a certain location, i.e. a "Gathering". But, gee -- those creatures sure to look an awful lot like the creatures from the Alien movies, with their long tails, sharp teeth and nasty disposition. If you're going to battle these things, perhaps it's best to send in a hardcore military unit to take them down, and make sure they look and act like the Marines in Aliens, too. Gosh, with all of these elements from movies that kick so much ass, it's baffling just how they manage to botch it up until none of it is exciting or terrifying. Yes, you will laugh at it, laugh hard, and laugh long -- if only to keep from crying at how much you paid to see it.
Alone in the Dark is the worst kind of bad movie there is -- the boring kind. Action scenes that drag on longer than "Dragonball Z", gratuitous lovemaking scenes, lifeless dialogue that appears to be spit out from androids, and lighting that makes you think the film was shot in a medieval dungeon are just a few of reasons you will have to pinch yourself to stay awake, only to kick yourself all the way home for not giving yourself the pleasure of just falling asleep through most of it.
Christian Slater performing kung fu. Tara Reid (My Boss's Daughter) portrays a scientist/curator. Stephen Dorff (Cold Creek Manor) is the head of a top government agency. Was there any thought whatsoever into trying to make a good movie here? Crow and Tom Servo, please save us!
Long before the credits started to roll, I began to question my desire to review movies. And then I think to myself, just like those TV shows that seek to educate the public about some potential epidemic and the producer claims, "If we can save just one life through this program, it will all have been worth it", I feel a sense of pride. If you are, for some unfathomable reason, actually contemplating wasting your time or money on this imbecilic abomination of a movie, please, for the love of all that is holy, DON'T! If I have saved just one of you from all the pain I have endured, and suffering I continue to experience -- the hot flashes, night sweats, nervous tics and fits of depression -- well....it STILL wouldn't be worth it! It is THAT bad. And don't even think about taking a date to see it, or you'll start to understand the meaning of the title when she walks out on you in an exasperated huff.
©2005 Vince Leo