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E.C. McMullen Jr.
Head Production Designer
JOSEPH CROSS, BRIANA EVIGAN,
Special Effects Make-Up
A SIERRA NEVADA
(MICHAEL MADSEN & JOHN SAVAGE).
Let's say you meet someone. You get introduced and right away this person does something that annoys the hell out of you. Now if you are a mature individual you may be able to hold off the instant dislike by telling yourself that they had no way of knowing that the thing they did was especially annoying to you. If you're somewhat immature, on the other hand, you might just smack the back of their head and say, "Knock it off you subhuman butt monkey!"
Or something like that.
ALONE IN THE DARK was directed by Uwe Boll (HOUSE OF THE DEAD, BLACKWOODS) and written by Elan Mastai, Michael Roesch and Peter Scheerer. It opens with a lot of text scrolling by, telling us the story of an apparently very ancient Native American culture called the Akbani. These ancients opened a gate between this world and a world of evil, which doesn't seem like an especially good idea but maybe you had to be there.
Almost as annoying as people who leave the evil-world-gate open are movies that open with scrolling text AND having a narrator read that text to you like you're too stupid to read it yourself! That's insulting and I really hate it, over and above the fact that it's just lazy screenwriting. There couldn't be a more blatant violation of screenwriting's most basic rule: Show, don't tell.
The story then makes several jumps in what almost seems a deliberate attempt to confuse the audience. One of the jumps was supposed to be "22 years ago" but then another jump happens and you're not sure if we're still at 22 years ago or back to modern day or what. The gist of it was that something strange happened to a group of orphans 22 years ago and one of them escaped and grew up to be paranormal investigator Edward Carnby (Christian Slater: TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE: THE MOVIE, INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, MINDHUNTERS). It's at this point where Carnby takes over the narration, which is another thing I find really annoying. Narration is usually a mistake anyway but if you're going to do it then stick to one narrator. Having multiple narrators draws attention to the act of narrating rather than what the narrator is saying, which hurts suspension of disbelief.
Carnby is looking for Akbani artifacts, as are several others, including the good and pure Aline Cedrac (Tara Reid: URBAN LEGEND), who works as a curator at a local museum. She and Carnby have a history and an awkward love scene. Also looking for Akbani stuff is the very evil (it said so in the opening text) Professor Hudgens (Mathew Walker). He's off on an expedition to recover a +1 artifact from a shipwreck. That does not go well.
Let's talk about the monsters. The premise here is that there are these creatures from this evil dimension that we can't see. Except that no one really seemed to have any trouble seeing them. These ethereal creatures (that look like a cross between the raptors from JURASSIC PARK and the alien from ALIEN) are pretty tough but apparently can be handled / killed because of their sensitivity to platinum group metals.
Which, of course, brings me to a
It's time to stop dancing around the obvious here. This movie is a mess. It's confusing, you never get to know any character enough to care about them, the acting is awful (for which I blame the director - not the actors) and the action sequences are poorly choreographed. The director just made one bad decision after another. Which is why I've decided to give ALONE IN THE DARK one shriek girl.
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