Alone in the Dark

Movie Information

Score:

Genre: Video Game Horror
Director: Uwe Boll
Starring: Christian Slater, Tara Reid, Stephen Dorff, Frank C. Turner, Matthew Walker
Rated: R

I know it’s January and that therefore the new movies are pretty much gonna suck. But there are limits to the amount of suckage that can be decently foisted on an audience. And I think director Uwe Boll (I’m betting his last name is really Weevil) has exceeded those limits and then some.

There are a few good points to this movie, I suppose. The title is reasonably fitting, since I very nearly was alone in the dark when I saw it (and on the film’s opening night!). In addition, the tag line, “Evil awakens,” is a perfectly valid description of what happens each day when the perpetrators of this diseased amoeba of a movie get out of bed.

I’ll concede that I only nodded off once (during a bout of tepid faux intercourse between Christian Slater and Tara Reid), whereas I was briefly gathered into the arms of Morpheus three times during Mr. Boll’s last film, The House of the Dead. On the surface, that might suggest that this film is marginally superior, but the truth is that Alone in the Dark is merely noisier than its predecessor. All things being equal, I preferred the comparative restfulness of House of the Dead.

I’m not even going to get into the question of whose bright idea it was to turn a 1970s Atari video game into a movie in the first place, but whoever came up with this notion might do well to consider therapy — or possibly an exorcist.

You know you’re in trouble with any film that requires a lengthy printed explanation just to set up the plot. This device runs on so long that it threatens to turn Alone in the Dark into a prime candidate for “worst movie ever read.”

If anyone cares, the story’s about some kind of horrors that had been unleashed on the world by an ancient civilization, and which brought about that society’s demise. (For this those people might be rightly thankful, since it ensured they would not be around to watch this movie.) But for some reason, a few modern-day folks want to bring back those horrors all over again; they’re seemingly oblivious to the fact that such an undertaking might not be in their own best interests.

It hardly matters. This is merely a set-up for a lot of uninspired action scenes, a handful of not very gross gross-out effects, a great many gaps in logic and coherence, and some of the worst dialogue in the history of cinema. There’s also plenty of very loud gunplay, the usual doses of “death metal” on the soundtrack and the ever-popular spectacle of Stephen Dorff wandering through yet another bad movie with the haunted look of a man who can’t figure out where his once-promising career went. After this movie, he may be longing for the glory days of FearDotCom. And then there’s Christian Slater, who seems to have forgotten he ever had a career — not to mention Tara Reid, who has foisted on us an archaeologist who can’t pronounce “Newfoundland.” (However, since no one corrected her, she may not be alone.)

If any of this makes Alone in the Dark sound like a fun evening of so-bad-it’s-good moviegoing — it’s not even that. It’s simply God-awful. Rated R for violence and language.

– reviewed by Ken Hanke

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About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress since December 2000. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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