There are names in horror. Names that strike fear into the
heart of fans and non-fans alike. Norman Bates. Hannibal Lecter.
Leatherface. But there is one name that tops them all for causing
panic and distress in the soul of the movie fan: Uwe Boll.
With just five movies under his belt, Boll is well on his
way to becoming the modern day Ed Wood. . . .
except that Ed had vision, Bela Lugosi, and a fondness for angora.
I really wonder how in the world Boll manages to keep convincing
people to let him behind the camera.
Boll's latest specialty is trashing popular video games by
turning them into crap movies. Back in '03 he inflicted
House of the Dead on us. Next, he’s destroying Bloodrayne
and Far Cry. But his latest cinematic crime is Alone
in the Dark.
Now, I never played the original game, but several of my friends
did and it sounded like a fun time. You’re a paranormal investigator
checking out a haunted house. You end up trapped inside, menaced
by Lovecraftian horrors, until you solve its riddles. This movie
ditches all that except the game's investigator, and inserts
the creature from The Relic with some Lovecraft sprinkles
on it. In fact, the whole middle section of the movie is stolen
whole cloth from The Relic. But I’m getting ahead of
The investigator, Edward Carnby (Christian “Kuffs” Slater),
grew up in an orphanage, and one day all the other kids in the
orphanage vanished. He has no memory of what happened that night,
and has spent his whole life trying to find out. Except that
he’s still friends with one of them . . . and knows
where some of the others are. This is one of the many, many
gaping plot holes in the flick.
Anyway, Eddie grows up to work for the government's Paranormal
Investigation Group, Bureau 713. From them he learns “stuff”
and then quits to work on his own, hunting down the supernatural
and the secret of his past.
Meanwhile, one Prof. Hudgens (Mathew Walker), an advisor to
713, has decided that the fate of the human race depends on
implanting kids with pieces of otherworldly monsters to be weapons
against them. But then he goes bad (or worse, depending on how
you look at it) and starts trying to free the monsters for no
discernible reason. It’s not really explained, like many things
in this crapfest. The otherworldly monsters were locked away
thousands of years ago by a missing civilization called the
Abskani. They made a key to a door, scattered the pieces of
the key, and now they’re all put back together by Hudgens so
he can release them.
So Ed has to work with is old boss of 713, Commander Richards
(Stephen “Deacon Frost” Dorff) and his archeologist girlfriend
Aline (Tara “American Pie” Reid) to keep the evil beasts from
being unleashed . . . except that there are a few
dozen already running loose under Hudgens’ command, so I guess
they weren’t all locked up.
It’s a really muddy plot. I feel like I’ve been hit in the
grey matter with a brick. It starts out with a text crawl that’s
read aloud, explaining about the otherworldly beasts and how
the Abskani locked them away but in turn vanished off the face
of the earth themselves. Then when the movie starts, a character
explains everything you just heard. Then Slater does a voice-over
explaining who he is, and then he explains it all to his cab
driver. This goes on through the whole movie. The sad thing
is, it doesn’t make the movie any easier to follow, and just
points out how muddled the damn script is.
Not only is the plot muddy, but the film is as well. It looks
like it was kept in some damp basement for a few years in a
rusty can. Everything is slightly out of focus, like an old
'70s movie on VHS tape.
The acting is also pretty bad across the board, except for
Slater and Dorff. They both do the best they can with their
roles, but there is only so much you can do with crap. I do
have to admit that they were part of why I volunteered to watch
this travesty, as I’ve always liked them both and I’ve felt
that Slater deserves a better shake than he gets from Hollywood.
Besides, my other choice was Hide and Seek, and after
seeing DeNiro in Godsend
I was a bit gun-shy about that flick. I should have risked it.
The effects in Alone in the Dark are decent. The
CG Relic-rip-off beasts are pretty cool; there are a
few good gore-deaths, and one nifty explosion. On the other
hand, the sets are all cheap and the costumes are even worse.
Somehow, it’s not comforting to know that the government equips
its elite anti-paranormal agency with visored bike helmets,
knee & elbow pads, and kids’ sculpted Burton-style Batman costumes
from K-Mart for body armor. The only costume they spent any
money on was Slater’s long leather coat. It’s very, very cool,
and I would love to have one. It’s a great beat-up tan, with
three big brass buckles . . . and I’m grasping at
straws to say something good about this movie.
This is just simply one of the worst I’ve ever inflicted on
myself, and I like B-grade horror films! I own I,
Madman, for crying out loud! I’d rather watch Blade:
Trinity again than see this a second time. The only
reason this flick doesn’t get a one rating from me is my pity
for Dorff and Slater. Plus, that long coat was pretty cool.
Someone please, please stop Boll before he films again.