Alone in the Dark
Alone in the Dark is yet another video game adaptation by infamous director Uwe Boll. I already covered another one of his films, House of the Dead, which also resides in the IMDb Bottom 100. I thought that House of the Dead had a little bit more redeeming value to it than Alone in the Dark though, and I loathe that movie immensely. That alone says a lot about my dark opinions of this film (sorry about that).
I honestly try to be a little charitable when talking about Uwe Boll movies, because I think his personality and unpopularity among critics has colored a lot of reviews of his works. That said, it is pretty hard to deny that his movies are terrible, and I’m certainly not going to be one to deny that here. Regardless, I’ll try to start with some positives about this movie.
The first (and, well, only) positive thing I have to say about this movie is possibly a bit backhanded, because it is also a major complaint. I was impressed with his use of lighting in how he used it to relatively cover up some of his cheap/poor CG effects. That actually felt like a pretty good move, given what I assume were imposed budgetary limitations on the movie. However, the CG monsters were a bit integral to the plot, so the whole movie winds up being incredibly dark with random flashes of light (Uwe Boll bargain bin bullet effects), which makes the whole thing a pretty blinding experience. At times Boll tries to make up for this by substituting the CG monsters on screen with off-screen noises that imply their presence, but it winds up being a bit obvious as to what he is doing. Good try though, I guess?
The movie’s plot is pretty typical if you find yourself watching SyFy Original movies on a regular basis. It isn’t deep, and there certainly isn’t too much though put into it. If I remember correctly, the monsters are underground dwellers (aliens at one point maybe?) that have been around throughout human history, and the characters find evidence of them in mysterious archaeological findings. The lead character (Christian Slater) is a former member of a secret government organization that tries to conceal the existence of these creatures, like a more militaristic version of the Men in Black. He teams up with some archaeologists (including Sharknado‘s Tara Reid) to try to contain (I guess?) the resurrection of these poorly CG’d creatures.
The acting is all pretty sub-par, and there isn’t anyone playing up their roles to add entertainment value. Everyone seems to be taking this movie incredibly seriously, which is really a shame. I feel like this had some potential if any of the actors would have been able to really let go, but I feel like they were equally constrained by the screenplay and the directing.
The biggest problems with this movie all come down to the lighting. I mentioned previously that this was a good way to try to conceal iffy CGI, but the whole movie comes out as too dark as a result of it. Equally, the constant darkness emphasizes another classic Uwe Boll cheap trick: post-production gun flashes. Uwe Boll loves these cheesy, bright gun flashes that are added in after the fact (I mentioned their presence in House of the Dead as well). In his other movie they look bad, but in a film where the characters are constantly immersed in darkness, the jarring flashes constant, and undo all of the work of concealing the flaws of the poorly CG’d monsters. It doesn’t matter much that you can’t see the shitty details of the monster CG when you are using the cheapest gun effects you can get your hands on.
Alone in the Dark is a boring and painful watch. There isn’t any entertainment value to leech out of this thing, and you will almost certainly regret watching it once the headache from the constant flashing sets in. Worse, Boll once again concludes his movie by ripping off a much better, cherished cult classic. This time around, it is Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead: Boll concludes the movie with the first-person camera crashing in on the characters from behind, straight out of the fantastic conclusion to the original Evil Dead. Worse yet, the effect wasn’t necessary. The movie was already essentially over, and it could easily have just cut to black with the monster noises and had the same effect. At this point, I suppose that is just what you can expect from Uwe Boll.