Worth A Look: 1.15%
Pretty Bad: 4.6%
Total Crap: 81.61%
5 reviews, 57 user ratings
|Alone in the Dark (2005)
by Scott Weinberg
It's not at all surprising that "Alone in the Dark" is so breathtakingly awful. I've seen several of director Uwe Boll's earlier works, so I knew going in that "AitD" was going to be blissfully atrocious on just about every imaginable level. This is a filmmaker so inept that he's been called "this generation's Ed Wood" more often than I've been called "this generation's nobody important." The only thing surprising about this train-wreck of a film...is that it somehow got picked up for distribution by LIONS GATE!It would take about 50 Alone in the Darks before I could learn to say anything nasty about Lions Gate Films and its devotion to high-quality horror cinema. This is a company that introduced me to my beloved May and my good pal Cabin Fever. Through LG I was able to see the brilliant American Psycho, the underrated Dagon, the fantastic Brit import Deathwatch, the clever indie Dead End, the drop-dead amazing Frailty, the Canadian classic Ginger Snaps, the slick & sleazy Saw, the underwater gloom of Open Water and the blisteringly brazen nastiness of High Tension.
"Somewhere, Ed Wood is resting pretty comfortably right now."
I strive to be an objective movie analyst, but I really do dig Lions Gate. I think they've more than earned my patronage.
So what I'm wondering is this: HOW did the (clearly very intelligent) horror hounds at Lions Gate get wrapped up with the latest Uwe Boll movie? Did they NOT SEE House of the Dead? (aka The movie that killed Artisan Entertainment)? Aha, there's a clue! Artisan is now owned by Lions Gate, so perhaps there was some sort of contractual obligation already in place. (Contractual obligations or death threats: the only two logical explanations.)
But that doesn't explain the prints. Yes, Lions Gate pressed more than 2,100 prints of this movie and sent them into movie theaters all over the country. As if House of the Dead had never existed, thereby allowing Uwe Boll to convince people he could direct a movie. And by movie I mean something with characters and plot-lines and a solid structure of something even remotely decipherable.
To say that Alone in the Dark will go down as one of this year's (nay, decade's) worst movies would be a stunning display of understatement. This, indeed, could be one of the worst movies ever made. Since the Earth's sun was born.
The movie opens with a "crawl" that runs about nine paragraphs. Yeah, nine. Plus there's a German fellow who recites the whole thing while you read. And after all this...you're still completely lost. There's obviously six or seven different plotlines mooshed together, none of which would make any sense on their own. Combined, it's like the world's biggest bowl of Nonsense Stew. Hope you brought a spoon.
All you need to know is that Christian Slater is the hero guy. We learn this as Chris, who is maybe 5 foot 6 and 170 pounds soaking wet, is laying the super-dude smackdown on a hulking undead brute. Then we go to a museum where Tara Reid (yes, the Tara Reid who is famous for dancing at clubs and baring her knockers for the paparazzi) is the resident science expert / museum curator. Keep in mind that Tara Reid looks, maybe, 18 years old. The third name plastered on the Alone in the Dark poster is Stephen Dorff, and he gets to be the tough-talking commando guy.
These three absolute ciphers then spend the next 50-some minutes wandering "In the Dark" while other characters get killed by unseen creatures. And once you do get to see the astoundingly inept CG work, you'll be fully convinced that said beasties are scarier "unseen."
Some time after you fall asleep (but before you wake up wanting to smash your own skull with a ceramic toilet lid), the movie ends. And you're then cast adrift, back into normal life, only now you're packing a frontal lobe well aware that a movie as awful as Alone in the Dark really does exist.
Aspiring filmmakers must look at Alone in the Dark like aspiring musicians look at Milli Vanilli. It's an absolute INSULT that something this dreadfully inept can be produced and released while so many others are turned away. Throw open any text on filmmaking and just pick a word at random. You'll find something that's wrong with Alone in the Dark.
The film looks as if it were shot with umbrellas instead of cameras.
The acting ranges from "wholly humiliated" to "outright abysmal" to "WTF? Bwahahaaaa!"
The action sequences look like they were filmed in a giant shoe box, only someone forgot to drill a few holes in the sides.
To say the flick was edited in "random order" would be too kind an assessment. Randomly placing things in haphazard order could lead to an offbeat rhythm or bizarre cadence. No, this movie looks like it was edited by a BizarroAvid, which is a machine that puts your movie together in the most psychologically upsetting order possible. There's just no other explanation. Imagine if your neighbor's kid made backyard versions of his favorite scenes from Alien, The Relic, and Resident Evil and then forced you, at gunpoint, to watch his footage.
The sets, the costumes, the makeup, the FX work, the music, the lighting (or lack thereof), the sound work.... There really is nothing here that one could point to as a "saving grace." Alone in the Dark is precisely what people mean when they say "That's the worst movie I've ever seen!" Even if they've never seen it, Alone in the Dark is the film they're they're talking about. That sounds impossible, but the movie is just that bad.And all this is coming from a guy who LIKES bad movies. But there's nothing fun-bad about the sheer and desperate ineptitude on display here. I'm fully convinced that Uwe Boll could not direct shit to stink if he had an unlimited budget and final cut. Or perhaps I'm just laying it on a bit thick in the direction of a filmmaker who may be an easy target. Tell you what: you go watch "Heart of America," "House of the Dead" and "Alone in the Dark" in one sitting. If your fingers still work, feel free to drop me an email and tell me how unfair I'm being.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11468&reviewer=128
originally posted: 02/02/05 11:34:18