Alone in the Dark

  Alone in the Dark
"Wow, your boob was completely exposed. Didn't you feel that?"

© 2005, Lions Gate
All Rights Reserved

Good heavens, they let him direct again.

The "him" is Uwe Boll, who was last seen putting a neutron bomb of awfulness known as "House of the Dead" into theaters back in 2003. A German-born "filmmaker," Boll has demonstrated himself as a man of cloudy judgment, with an eye fiercely focused on hackneyed and outrageously misguided visuals. If anyone were pondering what Ed Wood would be like today if he were armed with foreign financing and computer effects, look no further than Boll. He's the modern-day Wood equivalent, without the angora charm.

"Alone in the Dark" (IMDb listing) is the second video-game-inspired film from Boll (a third, "Bloodrayne," is due this fall), and while it appears to be a genre he likes, he hasn't shown any particular aptitude for it. "Dark" is the same inexcusable mess "House" was, only this time Boll has a little more money and an even more banal video game to work with. "Alone" is designed to be a haunted house film, punctuated by elements of the supernatural and copious amounts of gunfire. Yet, Boll can't even manage to deliver that simple recipe for B-level entertainment. What he accomplishes in 90 life-sucking minutes is far more confusing (I couldn't even begin to explain the ridiculously labyrinthine plot that only Boll has a loose grip on), unforgivable, and amateurish.

Maybe it's because Boll is German, and his desperate and lackluster visual style is aimed at recreating the American MTV movie experience -- which nobody likes anyway. This would explain why Boll is using slo-mo, open-shutter, and bullet-time photography while the rest of cinema is slowly moving on from those camera tricks. It also might shed some light on his frightful selection and direction of actors, which could give the average soap opera the shakes. While Christian Slater plays it safe by completely shutting down any semblance of personality in an attempt to butch up for his action hero role, co-stars Stephen Dorff (as a 'roided up government agent) and Tara Reid (playing, get this, a museum curator) try to inject some much needed life into the tedious proceedings. However, because this is Dorff and Reid we're talking about, their efforts are seriously in vain. But Boll couldn't care less about the performances (or the absurd costuming and set design), for it takes away precious time from nonsensical dramatics and special effects, which are lukewarm at best.

To see that Boll hasn't learned anything from the pummeling "House of the Dead" took is disappointing to observe. "Alone in the Dark" is simply the same garbage action/horror cinema, reheated to cover the taste, and served under a different name to cash in on the recent, artistically crippling horror renaissance. Since Boll has no interest in improving his direction, even in the face of overwhelming proof that he should, there's still no reason to pay attention to his movies.

Filmfodder Grade: F

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