Is Uwe Boll the worst director in history? Only time will tell, but with "House of the Dead," easily one of the worst films ever made, under his belt and a series of more video game adaptations coming our way, we have to ask what idiots in Hollywood are throwing dollars at a man who clearly has no idea what he's doing?
The strangest thing about the phenomenon of Uwe Boll is that he isn't just making bad horror and action movies - he's making bad horror and action movies based on popular video games. Video game adaptations are generally bad anyway, but that doesn't mean that they don't have the potential to be lucrative franchises - why would both Hollywood and video game execs conspire to destroy their own properties?
This discussion leads us to "Alone in the Dark," a movie that is infinitely better than "House of the Dead," but when that movie was infinitely bad that isn't saying much. This time around, there are actually a couple of recognizable actors and a much larger budget, but the results are still about the same. Sure, the plot is nearly non-existent and plenty of things don't make sense, but what is most frustrating is that even with no plot, the movie could have at least been entertaining if not mildly scary. Instead, Boll has extracted all life from the film and the end result is a boring, non-scary action-horror piece. Worse yet, it isn't even funny bad - so you can't laugh at it while hating it.
The movie, based roughly on the popular video game series - which I have never played and probably never will - follows an ex-government agent (Christian Slater) who is now a paranormal investigator, and an anthropologist (Tara Reid, who is about as believable here as Denise Richards was as a nuclear scientist in "The World is Not Enough") as they attempt to stop a bunch of monsters from taking over the world. Throw in a government agency devoted to destroying the monsters, led by Stephen Dorff, and you have what apparently constitutes as a plot, though you may not notice when watching.
The actors bring nothing to the table, but you can't especially blame them - they've all realized their careers have gone nowhere and they are forced to do movies with Uwe Boll (take note that Ben Kingsley will be starring in Boll's next picture). The problem is that Boll is still at that stage where he thinks camera tricks can cover up bad directing - and he doesn't even know how to do camera tricks. Half of the action scenes seem to be in slow motion, which only makes the movie more agonizing as the action scenes are so bad you want them to end as suddenly as they began. There are absolutely no scary moments in the entire movie, even though the whole film is about monsters who like the darkness.
"Alone in the Dark" becomes more incoherent as it goes along, culminating in a large battle scene where the main characters explore a mine and come across a secret laboratory and the lair of the monsters, and where hundreds of governments agents who shoot worse than Helen Keller with a concussion realize that aiming could have paid off as they are killed off in the hordes by more monsters. Then, finally, Boll floors us with an ending that makes absolutely no sense and is never explained. To wrap things up, he starts the closing credits with a terrible song choice, one of many such choices that were used throughout the movie.
The only redeeming elements of the movie are a couple of quick death scenes. One security guard gets a spike through the back of his throat, and an unlucky agent gets her head split in two but doesn't get the opportunity to die right away. But those two moments are the only highlights of the entire film. Seriously. Literally. Take my word for it.
"Alone in the Dark" isn't as bad as "House of the Dead," but this one is bad in a different way. It's so boring and uninteresting you don't even get a chance to laugh at it - which gives absolutely no reason to rent or buy this.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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