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My wife (aka SHE) and I recently joined Blockbuster, for the express purpose of trading in some of the least worthy of our DVDs, and, by using the credit gained, to vet the multitude of interesting titles which seem to sprout from the cinematic ether every week.
In the past, whenever a new title came out that looked even remotely promising, we had a tendency to rush headlong into buying it. This policy has lead to the purchase of some excellent, little-known movies (Thought Crimes, Confidence etc), along with a reasonably small number of absolute turkeys (Dogville, Dark City etc).
Naturally, all these turkeys were chosen be me, and me alone (according to SHE) whilst all the good titles were picked by SHE.
So when, whilst browsing the shelves in our local rental store, SHE came across 'Alone in the Dark', it was obvious that it would be a true masterpiece of the cinematographer's art. And, in truth, reading the synopsis on the back of the box, it actually sounded quite interesting.
So, using £3.95 of our credit, we hired it out, bought ourselves a bag of Maltesers each, and headed home for a night of paranormal chills and excitement. And this review is the result of the experience we had, so let's start with the cast.
THE CAST (see, I told you) Christian Slater as Edward Carnby. Stephen Dorff as Richard Burke. Tara Reid as Aline Cedrac. Various other bit-part players who end up dead.
THE PLOT From what I can tell, director Uwe Boll took a bold and unusual step with this movie and decided to film it without a plot or storyline. Well actually, that's not altogether fair. There is the vaguest semblance of a plot, but it is so thin that Victoria Beckham has, allegedly, phoned the screen-writers for diet tips.
Let me try to give a brief synopsis.
Twenty years prior to the 'present day', Dr. Hudgens, the mad scientist, carried out experiments on twenty orphans, in an attempt to better understand an ancient Native American tribe called the Abskani, who seem to have been demon worshippers, wiped out when some of the demons escaped from an alternate dimension. The experiments 'took' in nineteen of the children.
Shoot forward some twenty years, and we find Edward Carnby returning from his latest relic hunting trip, with a priceless Abskani artefact. Having survived an attempted robbery, Carnby manages to take his artefact to his occasional girlfriend, Aline Cedrac, who just happens to be the unfeasibly young assistant curator at the city museum.
By some incredible coincidence, she is organising an exhibition of Abskani relics for Dr. Hudgens, and is trying to help Carnby decipher the writing on the artefact when they are attacked by a demon creature. Fortunately, however, their actions are being monitored by the super-secret government agency 713, who monitor paranormal activity in this dimension, and who arrive just in time to save the day.
But the creatures are not finished yet, and , aided by the nineteen 'infected' orphans, attempt to reach the portal to the hell dimension, which is situated in an old, abandoned mine behind the orphanage.
Needless to say, a confrontation ensues between Agency 713 and the creatures, leaving practically everybody dead, before Carnby, Burke (713 leader) and Cedrac manage to blow up the portal.
But is it really over…………..
Having just written a brief synopsis, the film sounds quite interesting. In much the same way, the film sounded quite interesting when I read the back of the DVD box. However, for any of you out there who may be considering looking at the film when they are next up for a DVD rental, when you read the back of the box, you will notice that the storyline doesn't bear any relevance to what I have just written above.
Where they got their storyline for the DVD box from, I just could not say. At a rough estimate, about 70% of what they write does not appear / is not mentioned in the film. It is merely a shrewd marketing ploy to tempt the unsuspecting buyer.
Do not fall for it !!!!!!!!!
ACTING This film features a lot of action, which is important, because I got the feeling that if Dorff or Reid had stood in one place for too long, they would have either taken root or been felled for timber, so wooden was their acting.
Obviously, the lack of plot, abysmal script and dire directing offered no assistance to these relatively young actors, and the failure of the film to impart any personality to the characters must have marred their ability to fit comfortably within their on-screen persona, but I have seen more animation in a primary school nativity play.
Slater performed almost adequately, but came over as not really caring about his character. As an accomplished actor of many good films, I had expected more from such a seasoned pro.
EXTRAS As I have already stated, I watched this film on a DVD that I rented from Blockbusters. However, the more observant of you will notice that I am reviewing this as a film, not a DVD.
The reason for this is simple.
Having suffered through 95 minutes of this film, I would rather chew off my own leg and use the knee bone to scoop out my eyeballs than watch the numerous special features that the DVD holds.
CONCLUSION 'Alone in the Dark' is a truly awful film. It has absolutely NO redeeming qualities. The story is non-existent. The acting is appalling. The direction is disastrous.
I really enjoyed this film but then I love Christian Slater. I suppose I would enjoy 95 minutes of him just stood there looking at the camera! I thought it was a great cheesy movie!