The spirit of Ed Wood is alive and well and living at the core of Alone in the Dark
, a ridiculously inept thriller that ties together paranormal investigation, evil creatures from another world, government conspiracies and Tara Reid
as a brilliant scientist in one clunky package.
That would be all very well if you were dealing with something along the lines of a satire or spoof or affectionate homage, but the fact that none of those words appear in the press notes suggests that those giggles being generated are purely unintentional.
Based on the Atari game, Alone in the Dark
is the handiwork of German director Uwe Boll
, whose 2003 effort, the marginally less bad The House of the Dead
, also took its cue from a video game.
Although the promise of terrible dialogue and cheese-ball visual effects might hold a certain allure, Alone in the Dark
should sum up the feeling experienced by those who take the bait. Then again, a cult afterlife on home video isn't completely out of the question.
The prevailing tone is established pretty much right away with a very lengthy opening crawl being simultaneously spoken by a guy doing a lame Rod Serling
impression. In a nutshell, it's got something to do with an abandoned gold mine and a door that was opened between good and evil.
Cut to Christian Slater
as a paranormal investigator who looks like he has watched The Matrix
too many times. A man with a distinct fondness for voice-overs, Slater's Edward Carnby has his hands full looking into the disappearance of 19 people who all happen to have been raised in the same shady orphanage.
Carnby also grew up in that orphanage, so why hasn't he vanished?
For answers he turns to Aline Cedrac (Reid), an accomplished (she has the brainy glasses to prove it) anthropologist who also happens to be Carnby's ex-girlfriend and one of the few people he can really trust.
Eventually joining forces with Stephen Dorff
's tough-guy government agent Richard Burke, they solve the mystery of an ancient artifact, fend off nasty, superimposed CGI creatures and keep the world (or at least Vancouver) safe from evil.
That's a piece of cake compared to the treacherous, insurmountable dialogue awaiting them, courtesy of screenwriters Elan Mastai
, Michael Roesch and Peter Scheerer
As video game adaptations go, even Pong: The Movie
would have a lot more personality.
Alone in the Dark
Lions Gate Films
Director: Uwe Boll
Screenwriters: Elan Mastai
, Michael Roesch, Peter Scheerer
Producers: Uwe Boll
, Shawn Williamson
Director of photography: Mathias Neumann
Production designer: Tink
Editor: Richard Schwadel
Costume designer: Maria Livingstone
Edward Carnby: Christian Slater
Aline Cedrac: Tara Reid
Agent Richard Burke: Stephen Dorff
Agent Miles: Will Sanderson
James Pinkerton: Ed Anders
Crewman Barnes: Robert Bruce
MPAA rating R
Running time -- 96 minutes