Not Dark Enough
How many times have I complained about movies filled with scenes so dark you barely see what’s happening? A lot! However, while watching Alone in the Dark, the tables were turned. I wish the entire movie had been filmed that way. Even a dark blank screen would be more entertaining than anything included in this incomprehensible horror film.
“We shouldn’t be in here,” Christian Slater’s character declares in one supposedly horrific scene. To which my viewing partner added, “Neither should we.” I agreed, of course. But are we masochists because we stayed for the whole movie? Not at all. We had to remain for those closing credits in order to find out who was responsible for every little detail of our suffering.
The main culprits seem to be director Uwe Boll and his writing team of Elan Mastai, Michael Roesch and Peter Scheerer. It’s the writers’ job to come up with a fairly understandable story, and the director should make sure the movie hangs together -- however loosely. This didn’t happen in either case here. My evidence? See if you can follow this plot:
A renegade paranormal investigator (Slater), who’s one of a group of orphans experimented on twenty years ago, finds a powerful Indian artifact and takes it to a professor’s assistant (Tara Reid). Coincidentally, the evil and ambitious professor (Matthew Walker) has just discovered a mysterious sarcophagus containing a terrifying reptilian-like creature now loosed upon mankind. Soon all the grown-up orphans, except for Slater, go missing and start turning into monsters themselves. (Think Relic meets The Body Snatchers.) For some reason, everyone rushes to a gold mine where the creatures have multiplied and are poised to come through “a gateway” to destroy mankind, just as they did thousand of years ago when an advanced Indian tribe disappeared from the face of the earth.
Even though this movie is inspired by a video game of the same name, that’s no excuse for the sloppy way it’s presented on the big screen. Disjointed sequences and unnecessary scenes appear with no rhyme or reason. The last big battle with the creatures goes on much too long, and the people involved fire their weapons like amateurs at a shooting gallery.
Among the cast members, only Stephen Dorff (Cold Creek Manor) takes his role seriously. As a government agent heading up this particular paranormal case, Dorff projects the kind of authority and concern we expect from someone in that position. Slater (3000 Miles to Graceland) looks great but lacks the dynamic energy needed for an action hero, and Reid (Josie and the Pussycats) represents Hollywood miscasting at its worst here. More than satisfactory in comedies, she acts like a zombie in this movie instead of an intelligent woman who’s assisting a professor and cataloguing valuable artifacts.
It's only January, but I can't imagine any upcoming film replacing Alone in the Dark as my leading candidate for Worst Movie of 2005.
(Released by Lions Gate Films and rated “R” for language and violence.)