Alone in the Dark is a 1982 horror movie starring Jack Palance, Donald Pleasence and Martin Landau.
Unfortunately, that’s not the movie we’re watching.
We’re watching Alone in the Dark, a 2005 supernatural/archaeological horror movie starring Tara Reid, Christian Slater and Stephen Dorff.
If that doesn’t give you a sufficient idea of how terrible this movie is, perhaps because you’re drunk or otherwise incapacitated, allow me up the ante: this movie was directed by Uwe Boll.
And it’s based on a video game. It’s one of Boll’s video game movies. The only movies on earth more awful than Boll’s “original” movies are Boll’s movies based on video games.
Allow Wired’s Chris Baker to sum up Boll’s abilities:
Like a modern-day Ed Wood, or a poor man’s Michael Bay, Boll appears competent in every aspect of filmmaking except the actual making of the film. His movies are haphazardly scripted, sloppily edited, badly acted and, most crucially, brutally received.
There are mild spoilers in this post, but with a movie like this, it’s better to be forewarned.
The movie begins with a crawl. Narrated by Slater, who sounds as though he’s drunk or otherwise incapacitated, this crawl is a prodigious display of word-vomit that provides a video-game-esque amount of backstory that leaves you fervently wishing that the poor man’s Nicholson would just shut up already.
Blahblahblah. 10,000 years ago a tribe known as the Abkani opened a gate between the worlds of Light and Dark. Blahblahblah. Something evil slipped through the gate, possibly Uwe Boll. Blahblahblah. In 1967, a bunch of miners found dangerous artifacts left behind when the Abkani disappeared.Blahblahblah. Something about the government’s Bureau 713, a paranormal research agency run by an archaeologist named Lionel Hudgens. Hudgens has a secret lab. Blahblahblah.
“There, he conducted savage experiments on orphaned children in an attempt to merge man with creature.”
Wait, what? What kind of archaeology is that? What creatures?
Me: Isn’t that also the plot of that Kevin Smith movie we just saw a trailer for? Tusk? The one where the guy tries to turn the other guy into a walrus?
Husband: No. This is different. That guy was a podcaster, not an archaeologist!
Thankfully, while we were bickering about Tusk, the crawl ended. Unfortunately, that meant the movie began.
Edward Carnby (Christian Slater), one of the 20 surviving experimental child-creature subjects, has grown up to be a paranormal investigator. He also knows kung fu. Or maybe the artifact he keeps in his leather jacket pocket gives him super-powers. Who can really say? Actually, Lowrent Nicholson will probably say eventually, because it appears he’s also going to be narrating this steaming pile of cinematic stupidity.
Seriously, what kind of science was Ludgens supposed to be doing? You understand that creating human-demonmonster hybrids is not archaeology, right? Right?
Ludgens is still a working archaeologist. Not a respectable archaeologist, obviously, because he works for the same museum that hired Aline (Tara Reid) as an assistant-curator. Let’s be clear here: I’m not mocking the idea of Reid as a scholar because she’s young and dewy and pretty. I’m mocking the idea of Reid as a scholar because she can’t deliver a convincing line to save her life. She can’t even walk convincingly.
Archaeology movie trope alert: Aline is under pressure to finish the blockbuster exhibit about the Abkani for the major museum at which she is the assistant curator.
A bunch of stuff happens.
Edward: Every culture’s got a story about the end of the world, doesn’t it?
Aline: But not every story starts by coming true.
Oh, hey! Sex scene in an exotically appointed artifact-laden warehouse. I guess Edward and Aline live in this warehouse? Oh no! Now Edward and Aline are being attacked by a monster, who chases them around the warehouse.
Luckily, Bureau 713 arrives with an entire platoon of soldiers and they all open fire on the monster in the dark warehouse while heavy metal music throbs and lights strobe and everyone grunts a lot.
Now there are zombies.
Where did the zombies come from? I have no idea. I wasn’t paying attention because I was reading about the 7th Alone in the Dark game (Illuminations), which is scheduled for release this year. Husband, who was paying attention, also has no idea.
We both agree that the games are way, way better that this movie.
We also agree that they should dub Reid’s dialogue. Even if it wasn’t dubbed well her performance would be more convincing. Maybe they could spare Reid the effort of memorizing all of those words. Her dialogue coach could just smear peanut butter on the roof of her mouth like they do when they want to film animals moving their mouth in a way that approximates human speech.
Sweet cheezits! I was just searching my archives for a post I wrote about Boll’s epic vampire hunter flick Bloodrayne (“not as bad as getting your eyelid caught on a nail”) and discovered that we’ve already watched this movie.
Husband: Well, I believe we should commend ourselves for doing such an excellent job of repressing it!
He makes a good point.
Hang on…the braintrust of Aline, Edward, and Bureau 713 Commander Burke (Dorff) seem to have lead Bureau 713’s special forces to the ancient Abkani temple those miners found in 1967.
No sign of zombies. Lots of monsters, though. And a big battle.
Damn, while I wasn’t paying attention the three stooges opened the door between the worlds of Light and Dark and went into whichever one they weren’t already in. Dark, I guess. Or Light. Who knows?
Some “dramatic” things happen and the movie ends.
I don’t want to ruin the movie for you, so I haven’t described the B story, in which we learn the consequences of the child-creature experiments. You should be grateful I decided not to describe it. Grateful on oh so many levels, the least of which is that you’re avoiding spoilers.
In summary: archaeology plus secret experiments involving human-creature hybrids never end well, not when you’re on deadline to open a blockbuster museum exhibit!
Someone edited Alone in the Dark down to 2 minutes, complete with director’s commentary and a guest appearance by Howard Dean!
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to watch Alone in the Dark II!
Alone in the Dark 2 Trailer: