All you really need to know about ALONE IN THE DARK is that its based on a computer game and that the people who brought it to the screen aimed very low when it came to fleshing out the premise into a storyline. So low, in fact, that only the most die-hard fans of the game will be able to make it through the flick that bears the same name.
Christian Slater stars as rogue paranormal investigator Edward Carnby. Hes hot on the trail of artifacts left by the Abkani, mysterious and highly sophisticated Native American culture that disappeared 10,000 ago after making a big mistake. That would be opening a portal from the world of light, that would be the one we live in, into the world of darkness, that would be the one that the creepy crawly things with the big teeth live in. Realizing their mistake, they sealed the portal, but were wiped out anyway. Unfortunately, a few of the creepy crawlies remained on our side. And further unfortunately, the Akbani, left a key to re-open the portal because, I suppose, some people never learn from their mistakes. And some people never learn from other peoples mistakes, hence the stupid humans in the present spend the entire flick putting the pieces of the key together (it looks like a collapsible drinking cup spray-painted gold, badly), so that they can wipe themselves out, too.
Confrontations between the secret government paramilitary group, led by Stephen Dorff and peopled by models from the Abercrombie and Fitch catalogue wearing stylishly black, form-fitting body armor and the creepy crawlies, are the only things that seem to interest the screenwriters and it shows. What burns up the running time between bouts is as predictable as watching a bag of microwave popcorn pop and as terrifying as a herd of dust bunnies with a plot that makes slightly less sense than thinking that Tara Reid can actually perform a dramatic role as a scientist beyond pouting in what Im guessing is supposed to be a seductive fashion and wearing low-slung jeans. Mad scientists do stupid things to with onlookers reduced to yelling at them to not be insane. I swear, thats the actual line of dialogue. Theres a lot of dialogue along those lines in this movie. Worse, even though there is a prologue that scrolls across the screen for way to long before the action actually starts, and despite the fact that it includes the entire premise and the backstory, the audience is subjected to endless swaths of expository dialogue that not only repeats what it has already been told, but also has the unmistakable ring of amateur night about the way its injected into conversations all but verbatim from that prologue.
Director Uwe Boll has taken a very bad script and made it even worse. As he splays his artistic vision across the screen, its exactly like listening to an energetic singer who believes that he has perfect pitch but is tragically mistaken. The actors compensate by overacting so much that their attempts to inject any sense of urgency becomes, instead, an exercise in comedy of the saddest type. Only Slater and Reid are exempt. Slater because he is too intrinsically cool to go the histrionic route, and Reid because any acting lessons that she may have taken cant possibly have cost more than $1.98 and even at that price it would have been a rip-off. When she runs in terror from the monsters, the pout becomes just a scooch poutier, and the movement is more of a stiff-kneed shuffle. Perhaps the tight pants hindered her.
ALONE IN THE DARK does have a rousing metal soundtrack. And Slater does look fetching in the tank top. Beyond that, its a low-rent version of a Roger Corman film, and my apologies to Mr. Corman for mentioning him in the context of this review.
Speaking of soundtracks, KMR has three to give away to the first three people who drop us an e-mail asking for them.