When Tara Reid is playing the brains of the film… run for cover!
Dir. Uwe Boll
Runtime: 96 minutes
Starring: Christian Slater, Tara Reid, Stephan Dorff
NOTE: I’m sure Tara Reid is a lovely human being really.
Did you read my article on video games that were made into films back in January? If not, why don’t you check it out the articles from my Random Blogs index page, here. If you did then the name of German director Uwe Boll would have appeared a few times, and if you read about the films, you will know that coming into “Alone in the Dark” isn’t going to be pretty.
Based on the 4th installment of the popular console game from Infogrames, this 2005 film is considered a failure both commercially and critically.
Supernatural detective of the occult and paranormal activity, Edward Carnby (Slater) is forced into action when artifacts at the museum where his girlfriend Aline (Tara Reid) works, open a portal which releases demonic beings that were once worshipped by an ancient Mayan-like civilization. The mission will see him investigating the scientist who conducted experiments on him as a child. In addition, Carnby will have to work and his replacement at Bureau 713 who are a shadowy government organisation that protects the world from paranormal dangers. Commander Richard Burke (Dorff) was the talented protégé who filled Carny’s position with the Bureau and has since become a rival. Carby, Aline and Commander Burke have to stop the demonic creatures from causing mayhem and death.
… or… here’s a Summary in 180 characters or less…
This film based on the video game has Christian Slater fighting demonic creatures that threaten Tara Reid, Stephen Dorff, and the entire planet.
This might be a quick review… I didn’t enjoy the film – I wouldn’t recommend it at all – The end.
“Alone in the Dark” was poorly executed with bad writing, a bad script, bad acting, bad effects, a bad plot, and a bad story. It was that bad in fact that I wish I had of bought a new thesaurus so I didn’t have to keep writing bad. According to interviews it was originally written to be more reserved and only have monsters and threats in the shadows, but Uwe Boll and his team came in and re-wrote the whole thing. In came stereotypical characters, sex-scenes, a blonde bimbo archaeologist, mad scientists, dog monsters, car chases, crappy CGI monsters, special assault forces with lots of guns, a techno soundtrack, “Matrix” style slow motion gun fights….
The only depth the characters displayed was having a name and a job. They did not seem to have any real motivation as they bumbled from scene to scene. Something the actors must have sensed as the headline cast were pretty average at best here, it was like they just didn’t care. I know what you are thinking; Christian Slater… Stephan Dorff… top talent who wanted to use this to rejuvenate their career right? Wrong – I can only assume that it was a good payday because they looked like they weren’t into it. As for Tara Reid, it comes to something when the director does interviews after the film has been released and announces that he wished that she wasn’t in the film – but it would be easy for the blame to be put on her shoulders. She is far from the worst thing in the film.
There was no spark of life or chemistry from any of the characters, the actors seemed to be going through the motions to hit their markers and spout the rubbish that the script gave them. There was no chemistry between Tara Reid’s character and Christian Slater’s character – yet, out of the blue, bang – they’re having sex. No sooner has that ordeal finished and they are back to having no chemistry as the military and a monster come crashing in and invade – I don’t know where it is – is it Slater’s bedroom? Is it the museum? I didn’t care, I had a headache from the loud music which didn’t fit the scene.
All this crapola unfolds after having to read through one of the longest scrolling text dialogues at the start of the film. It was as if this was added so that the dumb audience know what is going on – because, let’s face it, the film won’t make sense to people who don’t know the game or something? Like audiences at “Star Wars” wouldn’t know what he film was about eh? Wrong! That opening 5 mins of scrolling text, which for the record is also monotonously narrated, was a terror that was scarier than the terrible monsters that had been added in the film. It was added because test audience found the film confusing, which I doubt was because they didn’t understand the concept of the film, more just the execution of the plot.
Let’s get onto the monsters, I’ve seen scarier things floating in public toilets before. For a film that was released in 2005 I would have expected something more authentic, or at least something that didn’t look like it had been made on a Commodore 64. Take films of the same year, “King Kong”, “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”… okay… maybe I’m being harsh. Maybe comparing to films with a similar budgets would be more fair – “Alone in the Dark” had a budget of $20 million, so, how about “The Fog” $18 million, or “House of the Flying Daggers” $12 million, or even “The Descent” $3.5 million – all of which looked a thousand times better!
This film won Stinker Awards for Worst Picture, Worst Actress, Worst Special Effects and Worst Director and it is clear why. It was also nominated for Golden Raspberries too but somehow avoided those. The best thing about this film is the 2-disk soundtrack released by Nuclear Blast. It had Dimmu Borgir, Fear Factory, Strapping Young Lad, Machine Head, Meshuggah, Mastadon, and other great music on it. The film though, it’s actually really bad and hurt my senses. Some films are so bad that they are good, or that they are laughable. This film is so bad that it gave me headache and made me much less of a nice person to be around. The best thing I can say about this film is that I’ve actually seen worse (which is scarier to contemplate than this film ever could be!) – not many, but there are some.