Alone in the Dark Review
“That's it Mr Fawlty. I no want to work here no more. I quit!”
So says Manuel after dragging a dead body around the hotel for half and hour, and jumping into an empty laundry basket he hides. Well that's how I felt after watching Alone in the Dark, an experience not to dissimilar to carrying a dead body around I can assure you. Unfortunately I am unable to hide in the laundry basket, I have to revisit it here; please be gentle, I am already struggling......
Alone in the Dark started life in 1993 as a computer game, inventing the 'survival horror' genre so ably conquered by the Resident Evil franchise. With its creepy house and dungeon setting, revolutionary graphics engine, scary story line inspired by H.P. Lovecraft and enough puzzle solving and action to keep a player hooked for weeks, it was in instant success and has become one of the all time great games. Not too surprising then that it would make its way to the big screen. This should be the first warning, when has a computer game to film crossover every worked? Really? Anyway, after thirteen years Uwe Boll, a director famed for his computer/film crossovers brings us his interpretation of this classic game.
The film opens with a huge text and narrated preamble that neatly sets out the major plot elements; ancient Native American race, ancient hidden artefacts, human experimentation, Bureau of paranormal activity and monsters. The film then stars in flashback at an orphanage where a scientist is missing one of the children he is experimenting on. So far, so good. From here on in there are a number of seeming unconnected scenes punctuated by lots of poorly lit, badly edited and terribly choreographed action sequences. I managed to gleam that Christian Slater was at the orphanage, but his experiment went wrong after he was electrocuted; this the only connection to the computer game; i.e. his characters name is Edward Carnby and he is a paranormal detective. Also, Tara Reid is a museum curator - with glasses - but is equally adept with a gun. And there are CGI monsters. Oh, and the Bureau 713 paranormal investigation team are a paramilitary organisation with enough weapons and tanks to wipe out entire countries but have no paranormal investigation equipment. That is pretty much all I can tell you apart from stating this film is bad. Not so bad it's good. Just Bad. BAD. The film plays along with a “way to kill a film” checklist, and luckily I have managed to procure it for you.
1) Ensure film plot has nothing to do with the game plot. Check
2) Ensure only comparison is lead characters name. Check
3) Ensure film plot it utterly incomprehensible. Check
3) Ensure C grade actors for roles Check
5) Ensure dialogue is awful. Check
6) Ensure entire scenes are 'borrowed' for other films. Check
7) Ensure choppy editing . Check
8) Ensure bleak but rubbish ending leaves scope for sequel. Check
I can assure you, Boll, has stuck to this list religiously and quite clearly it has paid off because the film he has made is irrepressively drab and awful. It's not just that nothing makes sense, or that the actors can't, or the bad lighting and editing, the film is plain boring. The more bullets and splatter Boll throws at the screen presumably thinking the more action the better, the lower my esteem became, how many more times can he imitate Aliens, he is ruining that excellent film for me. The only way to watch this film is to set yourself up as in the first screengrab, at least you get it out of the way first, because that is how you will feel afterwards.
I am sorry everyone I can't go on any more, this film has sucked my energy; I pity the fool that pays money for this, and I urge you not to there is so much more to life, so many better films, in fact it's even a shame anyone has bothered to read this.
Leave me alone (in the dark).
Where's that laundry basket?