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Overall Rating
1.36

Awesome: 1.15%
Worth A Look: 1.15%
Average: 11.49%
Pretty Bad: 4.6%
Total Crap81.61%

5 reviews, 57 user ratings


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Alone in the Dark (2005)
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Tara Reid as an archaeologist/museum curator-what more do you need?"
1 stars

For bad-movie fanatics–the hardy souls who can quote every line of dialogue from “Manos: The Hands of Fate,” purchased the DVD of “Can’t Stop the Music” the moment it hit stores and proudly display a talking John Travolta “Battlefield Earth” doll on the mantle, the month of January usually serves as a sort of cinematic High Holy Days. Not only is it the time when the studios tend to dump their lousiest product in order to minimize the embarrassment, the last weekend of the month is when the annual B-Fest occurs at Northwestern University, a 24-hour extravaganza in which the dumbest films (this year’s selections include “The Swarm,” “The Apple” and the legendary “Plan 9 From Outer Space”) ever produced unspool before a disbelieving crowd. By an amazing coincidence, the weekend also heralds the release of what could well be the centerpiece film of next year’s festival, “Alone in the Dark.” In fact, there are probably more bad laughs, lousy dialogue, lousier special effects and questionable casting decisions to behold in its mere 95 minutes than in all of the festival selections combined.

As just such a fanatic, I admit to entering the screening of “Alone in the Dark” literally giddy with anticipation. First of all, it is based on a video game (though one old enough that anyone who played it when it first appeared is now probably out of the target demographic for the film), a genre which, “Resident Evil” aside, has hardly proven to be a fertile ground for cinematic adaptation. Additionally, it was directed by Uwe Boll, whose previous video-game movie, “House of the Dead” (which you may remember as the one that strangely attempted to include actual game footage into the film itself, right down to the PLAYER ONE/PLAYER TWO designations) led to comparisons with the immortal Ed Wood–comparisons which inevitably found Boll on the losing end. Finally, it features Tara Reid in the role of a brilliant archeologist/museum curator in perhaps the most unlikely casting decision since Denise Richards played a nuclear scientist in a James Bond film. Amazingly, “Alone in the Dark” not only manages to live up to expectations for such a combination, but it actually exceeds them.<

In fact, Boll manages to botch things right from the start with the inexplicable decision to open his film with what seems like five minutes of scrolling text (though read aloud for slower viewers) that attempts to explain the entire story in ponderous detail. That would be fine (hey, it worked for “Star Wars”) except that this scroll is twice as long, half as interesting and somehow manages to simultaneously give away every single plot point while still remaining absolutely impenetrable to even the geekiest of geeks. What it boils down to is that an evil scientist discovered an ancient alien race on Earth and has been working endlessly to find artifacts that will allow them to run free and do something wildly evil. For his part, he tries to help out by working on a mysterious government program that utilized a group of orphans that were genetically fused, I think, with alien stuff in their spines–all except for one, who was cured by electrocuting himself and growing up into Christian Slater. A world-renowned paranormal investigator/adventurer (or something), he learns that his fellow orphans have mysteriously disappeared. With the aid of his archaeologist girlfriend (Reid) and government-issue paranormal investigators led by Stephen Dorff, he tries to stop the monsters before they can break free and do whatever it is that they plan to do. (It has been less than 90 minutes since I emerged from the screening and I still couldn’t tell you what their plan entailed.)

Enough about the plot, let’s get to the good stuff. There is a car chase and a shootout where Boll inexplicably cuts to slow-motion for absolutely no explainable reason beyond the fact that he thought it might look cool. There is the explanation that the monsters hate the light, perhaps because it would allow us to better see the cheesy CGI effects. There is every single moment where Tara Reid does archaeological stuff, such as put on glasses to let us know that she is Really Smart (though I wish that someone could have explained to her how to pronounce “Newfoundland” properly.) There is Slater’s brilliant explanation of why he hasn’t spoken to her in six months. There is the out-of-nowhere sex scene that, alas, spares us a look at the infamous breast augmentation that might have generated the one true moment of horror to be had here. There is the big action centerpiece where everyone is unloading their weapons (including the crack-shot museum curator) that is put together in such a confusing way that, based on the visual evidence that is seen, every person should have been killed by stray bullets. There is the scene in which Dorff and Slater (who both look embarrassed beyond belief) have a toe-to-toe yelling match that looks more like a game of Duelling Nicholsons. Whoops, almost forgot the final shot, where Boll can’t quite decide if he is ripping off “Resident Evil” or “The Evil Dead” and so gives us a reprise of the finales of both.

For reasonable moviegoers, there is no reason on Earth why you should waste your valuable time and money on the likes of “Alone in the Dark,” a film whose only obvious distinction is that it has been put together with slightly more competence than “House of the Dead” (which says more about “House of the Dead” than anything else). And yet, for the vast numbers of unreasonable moviegoers out there, the sheer stupidity of the film could provide more inadvertent entertainment than most of the other films they are likely to encounter this year. As a fairly unreasonable moviegoer myself, I must admit that while it doesn’t hit the highs/lows of trash classics such as “Congo” or “Resident Evil,” it is never boring and and frequently hilarious. Because it fails at its intended goals, I am giving the film one star. If you are an unreasonable moviegoer, feel free to add two or three more; if you are reasonable, you might want to subtract one instead.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11468&reviewer=389
originally posted: 01/28/05 17:18:40
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User Comments

4/24/17 David H. Tara Reid as a scientist; that's should have been the first clue of a truly bad movie. 1 stars
8/07/15 ThommyMac I'm a bad movie afficiando since the early 70s. Kids, this is 'so bad its bad' 2 stars
9/25/13 David Hollingsworth giving this 1 star is too good for it. 1 stars
7/24/12 Quigley Ungodly stupid. 1 stars
4/01/12 CR a decent movie with good effects, ok story, and some scares. 3 stars
4/02/11 JW The perfect so-bad-it's-good film. I can't trash a movie that's given me so much laughter. 3 stars
6/30/10 Mr X I watched this entire shitty movie for nothing! FOR FUCKING NOTHING! GODDAMN IT! 1 stars
1/14/09 blah blah how the fuck does boll keep working he's complete dog shit 1 stars
9/12/08 PAUL SHORTT THERE IS A REASON TO FEAR BEING ALONE IN THE DARK: IT'S THIS FILM 1 stars
8/05/08 Bnorm I would rather watch a 4 day marathon of bollywood music videos. Fucking atrocious 1 stars
11/20/07 B Short without a doubt, the worst movie...ever 1 stars
10/03/07 wall avoid 1 stars
6/13/07 Lewis Hamilton Honestly, the greatest comedy movie ever made! 5 stars
5/01/07 Uwe Boll I'll beat up anyone who thinks this isn't shit. 1 stars
4/18/07 Tracey Chambers bad movie. great game. 1 stars
3/26/07 Nick One of the worst 'horror' movies Ive ever saw, and thats saying a lot 1 stars
8/20/06 Ryan_A Worse than you've heard. Reid's uniquely horrible. 1 stars
7/21/06 Sugarfoot A song called 7 Seconds is played during Reid/Slater's sex scene. That is hilarious. 1 stars
7/15/06 Anthony G I cannot put into words how bad this film is,instead im going to say something random. "pp" 1 stars
7/10/06 Steve Michaud And Uwe Boll continues to pollute the cinematic landscape like so much toxic waste... 1 stars
6/05/06 Jon Why do they even let Boll make movies? 1 stars
3/14/06 tatum I was lost from the opening scene...Reid is this country's worst actress 1 stars
3/01/06 davey madden awful 1 stars
1/04/06 WISEMAN This movie must have been so bad, I didnt even know a movie was made about this... 1 stars
11/27/05 Indrid Cold Laughable mishmash of "Aliens" and other good films. I'll be nice and give it a 2. 2 stars
11/10/05 jingy I expected HOUSE OF THE DEAD bad and only got LEONARD PART 6 bad. Either way, still shit. 1 stars
10/27/05 mad_zombie_killer Tara Reid's best work 1 stars
8/23/05 Nick Miscast ,fake hollywood Scientist girlfriend. Bad acting, Bad story,Bad everything! 1 stars
8/18/05 ES they're right its terrible 1 stars
8/05/05 Sucks the suckiest of suckitude Man, why do Slater and Dorff have to be whoring in this kind of shit? 1 stars
7/29/05 E The most torturous 90 minutes I've ever experienced 1 stars
7/19/05 Brandy Harrington This is horrible, even for Christian Slater... 1 stars
7/17/05 Eduardo I'm having the laugh of my life! This review and comments its the best of this movie 1 stars
7/13/05 C.E. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz............ 1 stars
7/09/05 Moctezuma Wow! What a borefest! 1 stars
6/20/05 ALBERT AN INCREDIBLE PIECE OF SHIT. 1 stars
6/16/05 Chesterfield This movie sucks geriatric ass!!!!, and it's bad too.....=S 1 stars
6/09/05 Vince SERIOUSLY, I can't think of any movie worse than this one. 1 stars
6/07/05 ELI Hehehehehehe. This was DUMB to the 9,000,000,000th degree...er something. 1 stars
5/26/05 BB Alone in the Dark, Great! Then I watched it. My dog humping a teletubbie is scarier. 1 stars
3/12/05 Mc Mr. Dr. Phd. I didn't even see it but I know I can't be wrong giving it the lowest possible rating :) 1 stars
3/05/05 Leesha Worst film I've ever seen in a theater. 1 stars
2/20/05 Naka It's UWE BOLL, folks. What the hell did you EXPECT?!? 1 stars
2/10/05 Uncle Salty Tara Reid? Christian Slater? COULD ANYONE HAVE ANTICIPATED THE AMAZING AMOUNT OF SUCK??? 1 stars
2/09/05 Al Guy Sad. Actually worse than House of the Dead. 1 stars
2/08/05 tsuikin Very good 4 stars
2/06/05 http://www.goat.cx Which no standard cunt keeps voting this pile if shite as average? 1 stars
2/04/05 Roy L. Cain The most dumbest movie this year so far ! 1 stars
2/03/05 Dewey This isn't "laugh at it" bad, like Gigli, this is "sleep through it" bad. AVOID IT. 1 stars
2/03/05 Die, Rodney Stephens, you scumbag. This will be the worst film of the century, unless Boll makes another one. 1 stars
2/03/05 Paul 1 star is too generous; truly heinous in every way 1 stars
2/02/05 mott the drupal where are the bugs? the game had many glitches! 2 stars
2/02/05 Rodney Stephens GOOD MOVIE 3 stars
2/02/05 whatevr yet another awful video game movie 1 stars
2/01/05 John tara reid is hot, i just wore ear plugs throughout the movie 3 stars
1/30/05 bongeezer Not one believable chaarctor in this steaming pile. 1 stars
1/30/05 Marilyn a waste of time 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  28-Jan-2005 (R)
  DVD: 10-May-2005

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