Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Just leave this one alone and in the dark

Alone in the Dark (2005)
Starring: Christian Slater, Stephen Dorff and Tara Reid
Director: Uwe Boll
Rating: One of Ten Stars

Edward Carnby (Christian Slater) is a paranormal investigator who has spent the last several years trying to unlock a mystery in his past that is somehow tied to a mysterious prehistoric culture. He is on the verge of finding his answers when a series of nonsensical events surrounding invisible monsters, a girlfriend played by an apparently bored actress (Tara Reid), symbiot-infected government agents, and a for-no-apparent-reason-bitter co-worker from the government's paranormal research branch Dept. 713 (Stephen Dorff) erupt.

This movie starts with a dull bit of exposition, and it doesn't get much better. It's a mish-mash of half-developed story elements and non-developed characters played by actors who in most cases seem like they know they're in an awful film so they're not even trying. The monstrous threat is self-contradictory (the critters are loose in the world, yet they're not... the critters are stopped from invading the world, yet they've depopulated it by the end). The super-secret, heavily armed government agency set up to deal with supernatural threats have been fighting the growing monster menace for years, yet they go to face it repeatedly in the film without the fairly simple, easy-to-come-by methods to weaken it. (The creatures are vulnerable to light. Private citizens can rent light towers with gas or battery powered generators, yet the hi-tech, paramilitary Dept. 713 can't lay their hands on any.)

Maybe the problem is that the three writers on "Alone in the Dark" never showed each others pages to one another before rehearsal and filming started?

There is nothing nice to say about this film, except maybe that it moves fast enough to not get boring. For that, it gets a very generous One Star. I knew I was watching garbage, but it kept me mildly entertained. I still wish I had the time back I spent watching it, and I don't recommend you waste yours on this film.


  1. Steve, one of my two biggest film going mistakes was seeing Saturn 3 (1980) at the theater. The other was Alone In the Dark (2005). I’ve seen many disappointing to poor films in the theater in my long movie-going life (Skyline – 2010 – being one of the more recent examples), but Alone In the Dark is a film that I should have been able to avoid wasting my valuable time and money by seeing at the cinema. I am doubly mortified having seen this crap in public because I convinced one of my long-time friends to see it with me. By some miracle… he’s still my friend!

    The reason I say I should have been able to avoid seeing Alone In the Dark at the theater is because I had already seen a film by Alone In the Dark’s director – House of the Dead (2003) on DVD and it was also nearly unwatchable drivel! You may be correct in assuming that “the three writers on ‘Alone in the Dark’ never showed each other’s pages to one another”, as their resumes of direct-to-video dreck speaks for themselves. However, I still lay 99% of the blame on director Uwe Boll! Uwe Boll is infamous amongst film critics and is often referred to as the worst filmmaker in the world! According to some sources, Boll is more interested in making films for the sheer profit as part of a tax break in German Law.

    CinemanBlend.com wrote: Boll’s movies aren’t being made out of a love for cinema. They are a shallow exercise in money-making greed and exploitation. Rich Germans getting richer by exploiting the stupidity of the Hollywood system and the naivety of critics like us, who never thought to question the true motives of why these horrible, horrible movies existed. [They are] pure and unfiltered 21st century capitalism.

    If you watch Boll’s films with this criterion in mind, they make more sense: which is to say, they make no sense at all

  2. Yep... rather like the tax laws here in certain states the 1980s in American that led to films like "The Octagon". One of the producers has made the amusing comment in multiple places that while their main business guy might have been aware, none of the creative production staff ever realized they weren't supposed to make movies that turned a profit. :)

    As far as Boll goes, though, I hesitate to label him the worst filmmaker in the world. I have seen far more incompetent efforts from other contemporary filmmakers. But maybe some people draw a line between out-and-out amateur efforts and the bulk of Boll films.

    I will have to watch "House of the Dead" again, as I rather liked some parts of it, but everyone I encounter loathes it with a passion.

    Then again, i also gave a relatively favorable review to "Postal" and I found it VERY amusing--if a bit desperate in its attempts to be offensive at times.