Alone In The Dark (2005)

DVD Cover (Lions Gate)
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Overall Rating 23%
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Ranked #2,537
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Connections: Alone In The Dark

Edward Carnby is a private investigator specializing in unexplainable supernatural phenomena. His cases delve into the dark corners of the world, searching for truth in the occult remnants of ancient civilizations. Now, the greatest mystery of his past is about to become the most dangerous case he has ever faced. --TMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: May 14, 2005
Before the movie begins, we're treated to a 1:30 scrolling text screen that attempts to spell out the back story to set up the movie that we're about to witness. It seems that thousands of years ago, a tribe of people known as the Akbani, who were very civilized and ahead of their time, discovered some sort of gateway between the good (Earth) and evil (demons). After opening this gateway, they quickly realized the error of their ways and shut it, but it was too late... some demons had escaped, and soon afterwards, the Akbani tribe was no more. Or something. Fast-forward to present time, and we catch up with Edward Carnby (Christian Slater), a former member of the paranormal investigators known as Bureau 713, who is trying to unravel the mysteries of the gateway and figure out where his former orphanage buddies have disappeared to. You see, Carnby lived in a orphanage as a child, and while in this orphanage, the head nun sold the kids off to be used in some sort of experiments, but Carnby managed to escape. Now, all of the kids that Carnby grew up with in the orphanage have suddenly turned into Sleepers, human slaves destined to serve their demon lords. Or something. Meanwhile, Professor Hudgens (Matthew Walker), the head of Bureau 713, has found the key that will unlock the gateway that the Akbani tribe opened thousands of years ago, and plans to once again open it up for unknown reasons. Oh yeah, and there's lots of monsters running around now. It's up to our hero Carnby and his scientist girlfriend Aline Cedrac (Tara Reid) to... well, kill the monsters and investigate stuff. Or something.

You may have noticed my repeated usage of the "or something" line in the above paragraph. That's because this movie has no type of direction, and throws out pieces of storyline for the sole purpose of furthering the next action sequence. It seriously seems as though chunks of the movie were made up on the fly with the sole intention being to set up the next action sequence, with no explanations given and no conclusions reached. The fine folks over at Dread Central really hit the nail on the head when the reviewer known as The Foywonder said:

"I guess the best analogy to describe how I felt walking out of the theater afterwards would be to say it's like waking up the next morning with a massive hangover and then trying to remember what all went on the night before even though it's all a massive blur. You can remember bits and pieces but the big picture is completely lost on you."

Truer words have never been spoken, and I couldn't have put it better myself. See, the problem isn't so much that there's one or two loose ends here; while that's never a good thing, it's to be expected from this type of movie and especially from director Uwe Boll. The problem is that nearly every scene, every bit of storyline, and every piece of back-story winds up in a loose end with no explanation or reasoning given. I could fill up the rest of this page and two more pointing out the chunks of the movie that make no sense or have no explanation provided, but it would be much easier to sum up what I did get out of the movie. That would turn out to be this: Carnby wants to find out the secrets of the gateway. Hudgens wants to find out the secrets of the gateway. The monsters (who came from out of nowhere) want to kill everybody. And that would be the grand sum of what I got from this movie; everything else kinda sorta makes sense, and bits and pieces of it can be lined up if you try hard enough... but what it all boils down to is the fact that this is one clusterfuck of a movie.

Casting Tara Reid in this movie as a highly-intelligent scientist had to be someone's idea of a sick joke. While the humor of this move certainly didn't escape me, watching this young lady destroy scene after scene with her pathetic line-delivery was no laughing matter. For those who may not be familiar with Reid, she's best known for hanging out with Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and the rest of the "stupid spoiled whore" crowd. Like Paris and the gang, Tara is attractive and all, but also like Paris, I wouldn't give her any sort of major role in a horror film that was meant to be taken seriously... oh, wait... nevermind. Then, we have Matthew Walker in the role of Hudgens. While I wouldn't quite go so far as to label him a bad actor, he was certainly over the top in this role. I suppose that if I was locked into a contract to do this film, I would have been screwing around and hamming it up as well, so I really can't blame the guy... but trying to take someone this silly performance seriously was quite difficult. The strongest part of the movie when it comes to the acting, surprisingly enough, is Christian Slater. The man is by no means an A-List actor, but he's always been decent enough in my book... however, his performance in this movie made him look like actor of the year when compared to his fellow cast-mates. It's pretty apparent in more than a few scenes that he's just trying to get through the current scene and get his paycheck, but honestly, I can't blame him.

Finally, we have the action sequences. We've got some damned fine creatures served up courtesy of CGI graphics, but the visuals for the creatures themselves is where the goodness ends. As was the case in his last film (House Of The Dead), director Uwe Boll decides to throw out any sort of suspense-building, adrenaline-pumping action sequences in favor of a more MTV video approach. Each action sequence consists of heavy metal music fighting the sound effects for sole usage of the speakers (with the music usually winning), choppy editing, fast-forward or slow-motion techniques, and crazy lighting of the scenes. Had Snoop Dogg shown up or had a few pimped-out rides been displayed in the background, these action sequences would have made me think that a music video had somehow been inserted into the film itself. Fans of that sort of thing may enjoy these action sequences more than I did, but personally, I prefer to watch a movie, not a flashy mish-mash of imagery and god-awful music.

If you enjoyed Boll's previous film (the aforementioned House Of The Dead), you'll certainly enjoy this one as well. If, however, you're among the ninety-five percent that thought House was a steaming pile of feces, you'd be well-advised to skip this one as well. 1/10.
BuryMeAlive #1: BuryMeAlive - added June 24, 2007 at 3:10am
I'm gonna be honest, I sat down a watched this one with "House of the Dead" in mind, I expected a terrible so-bad-it's-funny laughfest. And what I got was a really bad movie, but not as silly-stupid as "House of the Dead" was. This is a step up for Uwe Boll, but the movie is still bad. Just saying that it is really a step up from his previous videogame movie.
danimigra #2: danimigra - added March 15, 2008 at 6:24pm
if you have nothing to do.. watch it.. is not really good movie... 5/10 for sure.
Lucid Dreams #3: Lucid Dreams - added January 11, 2010 at 1:55am
Why do people let Uwe Boll make movies? He is just awful at what he does.
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