Alone In The Dark DVD Review
PictureAlone in the Dark pretty much insinuates that a lot of the action will be set at night. Just as well that the picture is up to scratch. Shadows have real depth, a velveteen texture that hints at the areas beyond. Flesh tones are good, not overly red as in some cases, nor are other colours saturated or dulled. There is some noise, but not a whole lot, detail remaining high throughout. Artifacting is low with only minor occurrences that I noticed. In all, a solid picture that rises to the challenge of Alone in the Dark's grim settings. A good example is a chase scene in which the adult Edward Carnby is chased by a bald headed symbiotic drone. We move from daylight to dingy interior locations and both display a natural earthen palette.
SoundWhy is it that good sound always makes its way into movies like these? Alone in the Dark have a sumptuous soundtrack that hits all the right buttons, except one which I'll get to in a moment. There's bass aplenty, but not the rolled woolly kind you sometimes get. This is deep punch stuff. Surrounds are well used, offering an envelopment that other movies struggle to match. Centre channel clarity is sometimes slightly less clear than it ought to be due to some dense action scenes. Otherwise, it's all plain sailing, if you ignore the musical score. I don't know what it is, but that sex scene has some of the most jarring music that could have been picked. It's like someone playing The Firm's “Star Trekkin” when Carter steps out of that doorway wearing nothing but a smile and a shotgun - there is no connection, no coherence with anything on screen - a bit like the whole movie. Perhaps the person doing this score just has a really good sense of irony?
ExtrasDirectors commentaries can sometimes have an enlightening effect on the listener. Sometimes a director can come out of them much better than the movies would have you believe. With Alone in the Dark, I think that Uwe Boll is genuinely trying to better himself. He strives to make something that is enjoyable and is thus innocently detached from the drawbacks Alone in the Dark. For example, Boll casually states that the opening crawl of this movie, which is slightly longer and than the Old Testament, was written because some members of a test audience were slightly confused by the movie's plot. If Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes were to watch this movie, even they would have been left baffled by this confused mess. That Boll cannot see the failures of this movie bodes ill for Far Cry, Hunter: The Reckoning and Bloodrayne, all of them videogame conversions...
Into the Dark is interesting in that after watching the movie you know everything they are saying is a PR exercise for the camera. This is always the case, of course, but the director and script writer's comments are more interesting than usual, given the dire quality of the movie. They both say things like “we wanted to stay true to the core of the Alone in the Dark Games” or “The characters were already written so I had very little to change from game to movie”. Strange, then, that the character of Edward Carnby has been completely re-written and none of the movie feels remotely like Alone in the Dark. Into the Dark so clearly emphasises the mistakes made by the filmmakers it, indeed the whole disc, should be used by film schools the land over as an exercise in how not to do things. Ironically the movies poor quality makes this Making Of... a retrospective treat.
Shedding a Light is better still. There are some effects discussed that I didn't even realise were effects. A digital matte painting that depicts the background of the US headquarters is quite stunning and worked really well. A POV sequence is also investigated and one that worked really well. It is a shame that the good work these guys put into the Alone in the Dark is going to be tarred by the quality of the movie's other aspects.
VerdictOnly because of the superior picture and sound quality. Otherwise avoid like the plague.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £17.35