Alone In The Dark

on January 28, 2005 by Matt Caracappa
Christian Slater and Stephen Dorff conspire to give each of their career timelines a definitive marking point where all hope was lost in "Alone in the Dark," a horror/thriller based on the wildly popular series of video games you've never heard of. Slater plays Edward Carnby, a paranormal investigator haunted by the memories of the orphanage he fled as a child, a haven for seedy scientific experiments on children from which he barely escaped with his life. His former bunkmates have apparently returned as ugly monsters that eat people. Carnby's ex-flame, Aline Cedrac, just happens to be the one anthropologist capable of connecting the various puzzle pieces and putting an end to the mounting terrors. That this genius scientist specializing in the arcane is played by red carpet oops-gal Tara Reid should be of some concern to all involved.

German director Uwe Boll goes the MTV route, that being a series of "hip" jump cuts, "stylishly" vague camera angles and a whole bunch of other crud that makes what would've just been a boring, flaccid affair actually painful to sit through. Of course, anyone still in the theatre after the epic opening "Star Wars"-like text crawl deserves what they get. You'd think Boll, or someone close to him, or even a craft services lackey who could have slipped an anonymous note in his pocket, might have realized how passé and derivative this form of exposition has become in the many, many years since 1977. Instead, the crawl goes on seemingly for hours, and it's accompanied by a voiceover. It's the kind of opening that promises that no good movie can follow, and sure enough...

The unfortunate cast and crew connected to "Alone in the Dark" may bank on the "hey, it's based on a VIDEO GAME" excuse while dodging tomatoes, but that's no free pass. Believe it or not, it is possible to inspire decent cinema from the roots of Nintendo or Playstation. But you can't do it with Pong-caliber talent. Starring Christian Slater, Tara Reid and Stephen Dorff. Written by Elan Mastai and Michael Roesch. Directed by Uwe Boll. A Lions Gate release. Horror/Thriller. Rated R for violence and language. Running time: 96 min

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