Believe it or not, we’re talking about Uwe Boll again. Why? I mean…isn’t it obvious? I genuinely enjoy torturing myself watching his video game adaptations! Sarcasm aside, this is one of his worst films along the lines of Bloodrayne. The Alone in the Dark games revolve around a private investigator named Edward Carnby as you explore a haunted mansion and later town that are infested with monsters. Alone in the Dark was so successful that many consider it the grandfather of survival horror games. While I haven’t played the Alone in the Dark games, I wouldn’t be surprised if they are much more entertaining than the films. Yes, I said films, as this movie, like Bloodrayne, got a sequel. Why? I really don’t know.
The film opens up with a really long opening crawl narrated by Christian Slater. Slater plays Edward Carnby, a paranormal investigator who was a former member of Research Agency Bureau 713. Carnby is investigating a lost fictional Native American civilization known as the Abkani Tribe. He’s attacked by a dude who looks like he just got off the set of The Matrix and the two duke it out, ending when Edward impales the guy in the chest with a pole. Edward finds an artifact related to the Abkani and meets up with his ex-girlfriend, Aline Cedrac (played by Tara Reid), who’s an assistant curator at a museum. Meanwhile, Professor Lionel Hudgens (played by Matthew Walker) discovers a gold coffin found at the bottom of the ocean and releases a monster that kills the ships entire crew before taking a small gold artifact. As Edward and Aline edge closer to the truth, Bureau 713 led by Commander Richard Burke (played by Stephen Dorff) begins to crack down on their trail.
All I have to say is this movie looks really cheap while on a budget of $20 million. The CGI used to bring the monsters to life looks fake as hell and makes them look like they’re made of rubber. Meanwhile, the rest of the props and general cinematography looks rather lackluster, with the costumes looking as if they were bought from Party City! Edward himself looks like a reject from The Matrix, with his duster coat and sunglasses, something I wouldn’t be surprised since this movie came out three years after The Matrix did.
Besides the poor CGI and costumes, the acting is absolutely abysmal. Christian Slater as Edward Carnby sounds bored a good 99% of the time, and it certainly doesn’t help that he narrates a large chunk of the film. If you thought that Slater was bad, Tara Reid as Aline in this film is not even trying! Her delivery is beyond flat and she and Slater have no chemistry together. It doesn’t help that there is some history between the two characters. When Aline meets Edward after many years, she sounds like she couldn’t give a care in the world when greeting him. Are you sure these two used to date, Boll?
I waited this long to talk about the actual plot elements. First off, the kids of the Catholic Orphanage were experimented on by Bureau 713, which made them immune to almost all physical damage. In the fight between Edward and the dude who followed him from the airport, the dude is able to smash through doors and walls like its nothing and even survives several gunshots, yet is killed when Edward throws him onto a random sharpened spike. However, later on in the film, when Edward, Aline and Bureau 713 encounter these infected people again, they are easily able to gun them down with ease. So what is it Uwe Boll? Are the infected nigh invincible or do they share the same weaknesses as mortal people?
When I first saw the cover of the film, I was unnerved to say the least. It had this very abstract yet chilling appeal to it that easily freaked out a 7 year old me. Despite not seeing the film back then, I always imagined that the film would be pretty scary. However, when I finally watched it about eleven years later, I almost fell asleep at how boring the film is. There is almost no tension, we don’t get to relate to the main character and despite some moments of gore and violence, it’s completely undercut with the shoddy visual effects and poor acting. Compared to Boll’s other video game adaptations like House of the Dead and Bloodrayne, Alone in the Dark is pretty boring. Outside of Christian Slater’s hilariously bland narrating, the film doesn’t have much going for it, making it truly feel alone in the dark.