Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ten Statements About....ALONE IN THE DARK (2005)

" you thing!"
"My mommy says that there is nothing to be afraid of in the dark."
"Your mother's wrong, kid. Being afraid of the dark is what keeps most of us alive."

1) Not even five minutes in, and there's a definite sense of this world being populated entirely by wooden puppets in the guise of actors--oh, and Christian Slater and Tara Reid, which might not mean much difference, come to think of it.

2) Boy, is this film score's action music, with its bongos and disco beats, really, really goofy.

She's a gifted archeologist, and he's a paranormal
investigator.  No really....
3) Movie, if one of your major plot points revolves around a box made of shouldn't kill a tiny bit of genuine atmosphere later on when a character discovers the after effects of that box being opened by shooting the inside, where we can clearly see that it's a wooden crate spray painted gold.

4) As bad as Slater's psuedo-Chandler posturing is as paranormal investigator Edward, his energy levels just high enough to justify his getting a paycheck for this film, he's thoroughly eclipsed in awfulness by Reid's Aline. With her herky-jerky physical acting, flat line reading and perpetually unbuttoned or belly-baring wardrobe, she's pretty much laughable. She's the most inappropriate archeologist/museum curator ever.

5) I'd be more freaked out by the Xenos, the Alien-like creatures that make up the main threat of the film, if they weren't animated to have this hunched-over with hands together stance that makes me think of them as armored squirrels.

6) One of the fundamental flaws in this film is how it's so intent on trying to share with us this deep mythology of the game that it's based on--you know, the whole Native American Who Discovered A Gateway Into Another World thing, the whole Bureau 713 thing, the whole backstory of Edward--that even the big ol' action sequences of soldiers versus the armored squirrels get bogged down in expository sludge.

One's a cop that doesn't play by the rules.  One's an armored
monster squirrel...they're partners....
(I've just written a better premise than this one)
7) I would really love to know how Uwe Boll justified the frequent cutaways to Catherine Lough Hagquist's Krash, whose whole purpose in the plot is to sit in Bureau 713's HQ in a skullie complaining about how they can't get a signal. Was she doing something for Boll to prompt him to give her so much screentime?

8) Look, I get that the nineteen orphans were experimented on by Bureau 713, and that Edward was the twentieth orphan who escaped...but did we ever get a resolution to what happened to the grown up orphans after they answered the summons of the gold-painted-wood box? Was that whole storyline even necessary, given that the film degenerated in the last twenty five minutes into incoherent punchy-punchy run run?

9) Granted, this makes a little sense now that I know of Boll's proclivity for shooting first drafts...but when you have a character hand another a file saying there is info on three people in it, and the second character proceeds to flip through updates on five people....don't you think it's time to fire your continuity person?

10) Do you think Stephen Dorff curls up in a ball late at night and silently cries himself to sleep in mourning for his career? I mean, at least Slater and Reid had brief windows of success in their career, when Dorff was once touted as the next big thing and can't get work in anything other than direct-to-video films, Tarsem Singh work-for-hire projects...and this, apparently.

Overall...All over the place and messy to the point of incoherence, this does get punctuated by moments of brief hilarity thanks to its gallery of awful performances, awful performers, unbelievable characters (do you think Reid's Aline and Denise Richards' Doctor Christmas Jones meet regularly for Inappropriately Attired Scientist Lunches?) and gobstoppingly bad dialogue. If only that last twenty minutes didn't tip the whole thing into loud nonsense, it might be in the 'unintentionally funny' category.

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