Thursday, October 21, 2010

Reader Recommendation: Alone In the Dark

Alone in the Dark (2005) five words... "Tara Reid plays an anthropologist." That is all.”--Lis
Why would I NOT watch this movie?

Quick Plot: What feels like a 20 minute voiceover laid out in exciting scrolling text tells us something about the ancient Abkani people’s toying with alternate dimensions and orphan children used for experimentzzzzzzz

Oh. Excuse me. How embarrassing. I don’t normally fall asleep 90 seconds into a movie.
Okay. So. Christian Slater is Ed Canby, a former orphan/paranormal investigator forever confused by a lapse in memory from something bad that happened once. I care about orphans, really, I do. I just can’t pay attention to their plight when I’m bored during their introduction.
Anyway. Canby. Slater. Tank top and used Heathers duster. Back on track this review shall be.

So. Canby is transporting an artifact (looks like a lizard skull but is only ever referred to as “the artifact,” so I’m going with that) to his ex-girlfriend/archaeologist girlfriend Tara Reid. I’m sure her character had a name, but since, for the entire 90 minutes of this film, we only ever think of her as Tara Reid, that’s really all I shall call her.
If you need further proof, allow me to explain:
-Tara Reid wears lipgloss so pink, even Barbie finds it a bit much
-Tara Reid’s mouth hangs open in every scene. Maybe she was congested and just couldn’t breathe through her nose
-Tara Reid naturally wears glasses and a bun when in archaeologist mode, going so far as to wind her hair back into a bun after a roll in the sack when reading from a computer. Blonds can, if you didn’t know, only read when wearing buns. And glasses.

-Tara Reid, playing a “promising archaeologist” (although her boss and mentor only calls her “Miss,” leading us to wonder what the educational credentials of a professional working at an elite museum actually are), mentions a few locations, including, I kid you not, New-found-land.

New. Found. Land. 
Those are the sounds that come out of her glossy pink mouth.
But wait, what was the movie about?
In all honesty, Alone In the Dark isn’t nearly as bad as I was expecting. Keep in mind, the person that just wrote those words has survived the following:
It’s Alive!, starring “grad student” Bijou Philips
The first 2/3rds of The Twilight Saga
Sunburst, aka Slashed Dreams

(in which this was the big special effect)
and a whole lot more that cannot BE contained on a Mill Creek pack
But seriously, it’s not THAT bad. Not Godzilla 2000 or The Happening bad. It is, however, incredibly boring.
Take, for example, the two most action-filled sequences. An early fight between commandos (led by the always needs-a-punch-in-the-face Steven Dorff) and zombified former orphans (I just like that angle) is...okay. I guess. It’s darkly lit and annoyingly scored. But you know...stuff happens. Similarly, a big gunfight with CGI monsters has just about no weight whatsoever. We don’t know a single character that dies. We barely see how they die. They just die. And we don’t care.

Much like the rest of the movie.
High Points
A love scene between Slater and Tara Reid is hilariously scored to cheesy Cinemax style sexy music. That amused me.
Low Points
Gah. I can’t just say Tara Reid, because thought she’s the worst thing onscreen, she’s also the most fun to make fun of

Lessons Learned
Kepler’s first law of fruit stands in film: they will be run over by cars during exciting high speed chases

Commandos entrusted to fix generators are slow-working and incredibly sensitive
If you want to make your characters seem like smart and educated people, be sure to have them say a lot of big words, like “photons,” “luminescent,” and (giggles giggles giggles) New Found Land
Getting electrocuted as a child is a life experience that can occasionally be extremely useful

Screenwriters, take note: never name a character “Marko” if a) he will be called for repeatedly and b) you don’t want your probably drunk/bored audience to retort “Polo!”
Alone In the Dark comes nowhere near being the worst studio film ever made, but that actually makes it much less interesting to recommend. Yes, true bad movie fans owe it to themselves to see Tara Reid look confused in every single one of her scenes, but at the same time, this just isn’t as much bad fun as something worthier of beer, like The Room or Showgirls (which is actually a masterpiece, but nevermind). Anyway, the DVD does have a few featurettes and a Uwe Boll commentary, so--

Oh. Shit.
I mean, Alone In the Dark is a delightful romp into terrifying and dark territory, the likes of which have rarely seen the screen with such pristine intensity. I love everything about it, particularly its directing and producing.


  1. That last picture reminds me that I need to change my name and go into hiding. I have a book coming out in which I say unkind things about a couple of Uwe Boll's movies.

    Or maybe I'll get lucky... he'll go beat some OTHER Steve Miller, like the guy who writes sci-fi novels!

  2. OR he'll assume you front some sort of laid back band. I mean, if Uwe googles "Steve Miller," I'm sure he'll get easily distracted by space cowboys and decide to make a movie about them, then forget to continue his search for yet another naysayer.

    Excited to hear about your book! And I LOVE the play on the title!

  3. Brilliant thought by Uwe Boll: "Put some glasses on Tara Reid, and she'll look like a scientist!"

  4. Tara Reid always has her mouthole agape in films. Its like her face has a permanent case of lockjaw.

  5. Andrew, the glasses are only half. Without a bun, Tara Reid still can't find her way out of a bathroom stall.

    And oh Cortez, I'd hate to imagine where that lockjaw came from.

  6. Hey now! Y'all need to stop picking on Tara Reid! (I imagine she's so down in the dredges, she'd even consider a date with moi. I will NOT have this screwed up! ;) )

    I think I've mentioned this before with Uwe Boll: I do not hate him as a director. Some of his movies I outright dislike, but there are others with such weird charm, I can't help but enjoy them. "Alone in the Dark" falls in the, "I'm bored", catagory. I agree so little happens that it's really hard to maintain focus on the film.

    Also, giving this a bit of a GoF connection: Who makes a more convincing "scientist" woman: Tara Reid from this, or Denise Richards from "Tomorrow Never Dies"?

  7. See, I don't mind Uwe Boll when he's making something interesting. Alone In the Dark is just dull beyond words.

    I brought this up a little bit on the feedback show for GoF. You know how I feel about Denise Richards, but in all honesty, Tara Reid makes her look like Milla Jovovovovovvovich in terms of acting ability.