Video Game Adaptations: Alone in the Dark

This had to happen eventually, but after Resident Evil aggravated me intensely I thought “Fuck it, I’ll grab the nettle and take on the lowest of the low” and so, with heavy heart, it’s time to address the monster that is Dr. Uwe Boll.

No, love, glasses and a clipboard do not make you a credible scientist

There’s no way of getting round this- Uwe Boll makes consistently awful films. His modus operandi is to find a video game with a reasonable following or brand cachet of some description and then plow over the top of it like a Panzer Division in 1940 France. The movies are actually so awful he makes Paul W. S. Anderson look like a blazing talent. Movies so bad that he manages to take any interest in the film and just crush it to death beneath the caterpillar tracks of sheer incompetence. He is arguably the modern equivalent of Ed Wood, except without the pleasant naiveté and absence of self-awareness. Arguably, his greatest achievement in terms of sheer awfulness is the record-breaking Alone in the Dark. Believe it or not, this did actual break a few records, including “lowest gross ever by a video game adaptation”. Unfortunately, the Germans then showed the predictable lack of taste that made David Hasselhoff their greatest selling recording artist by flocking to buy this terrible film on DVD making it number 1 for 3 weeks straight. Either that, or they were displaying a hitherto unsuspected sense of irony. I go for the former.

The question is regarding Dr. Boll: how the fuck does he get the casts that he does? Alone in the Dark stars Christian Slater, Tara Reid and Stephen Dorff and has nothing on some of the actors appearing in his other films. They must know that these are awful? I mean it is obvious to even a casual observer that these films suck cock. This is, admittedly, a particularly bad example as it is a particularly bad film, but still, if I was a name actor and was approached to star in a Uwe Boll film, I would at least watch some of his other, for wont of a better expression, work before I signed up.

Alone in the Dark opens with an interminable scrolling prelude. This prelude waffles some bollocks about some tribe and the world of darkness. Apparently these Incans/Aztecs/Don’tgiveafucks managed to go extinct because some genius managed to open the door to the world of shadows. I was, actually, already bored by this point. Nevertheless, in the name of writing a rude article intentionally not mentioning the war (which war? Both), I plunged on. I kind of wish I hadn’t.

The film proper opens with an inexplicable car chase. Christian Slater, playing Carnaby, is in the back of a taxi being pursued, like the Hun midfield pursued Geoff Hurst in 1966 (utterly futile), by a big bald geezer wearing sunglasses. This then leads to some fisticuffs of some description before nothing very interesting happens. Tara Reid then pitches up as an extremely unlikely scientist type (as unlikely as Germany apologising for their musical atrocities) examining something or other. Some monsters appear, I think, there’s a lot of gunplay, there’s some nonsense with parasites that possess people turning them into zombie type things, Stephen Dorff pitches up as head of some silly Area 51 type section, the door to the world of shadows is opened again, then it’s closed and the film ends in a really stupid way.

Stephen searches through his litter box looking for his career

This film is bollocks, it’s giant hairy bollocks, and deeply annoying bollocks. The acting in it fluctuates between woeful (Reid), bored (Slater) and “What the fuck am I doing in this shit” (Dorff). Reid’s character in particular is intensely irritating, being a combination of shrew, moron, slag and genius- not that Dr. Boll is capable of recognising that this is completely contradictory. Dorff and Slater’s parts could have been played by anyone, and even any old mug off the street could have put in more effort than they did. I’ve always liked Slater, I love Heathers for example, but I can’t think of a film where he’s put less of a performance in than this one. Dorff, on the other hand, is so deliberately not trying, he’s almost actively attempting to be bad.

The writing is obviously shit. Apparently, Boll knew nothing about the game (I like to think he knows nothing about anything) and when presented with the original script (which was Survival Horror, because Alone in the Dark is, er, Survival Horror) complained that it didn’t have enough car chases. What the fuck? Anyway, that script was thrown out, and instead we’ve got Boll’s vision to admire. Which is wonderful. I actually wonder if he hasn’t seen an awful lot of films, and just decides to cherry pick things he likes from them, without the slightest idea what makes them successful

The standard reaction of anyone that sits through this film

Nevertheless, as bad as the script is, and it’s bad, the worst thing about Alone in the Dark is the way the action is shot. The monsters in this film are shadow creature things that die in direct light. Now to film this successfully would be a challenge for even the most adept film-maker (which undoubtedly Dr. Boll is not), and here, predictably, the ball is dropped. Uwe just jackboots across entertainment by filming ludicrously complicated and flashy scenes, in pitch black, illuminated by frequent muzzle flares. You can’t see a fucking thing that’s going on. However, the real howler is the sex scene between Slater and Reid. Not only is this completely gratuitous, but he again fucks it up by not showing any skin, confusingly shooting everything so you can’t see what’s going on and then copying Boxing fucking Helena in the Soundtrack choice. I know Germans are a bit behind when it comes to music, but, Uwe, Enigma were popular for approximately half an hour back in the mid 90’s- making a film and using a completely overused song (It’s either Sands of Time or Carly’s Song, not sure- if it’s the latter, that’s even worse because that’s from the Sliver soundtrack) by Enigma is the high point of uselessness.

No idea what this is meant to be, frankly.

Overall, this is a shit film that I suggest anyone with eyes and/or ears (actually fuck it, this also applies to Helen Keller) should avoid. It’s fucking dismal toss of the lowest order and the least interesting 90 minutes odd that I’ve endured in a while. I’ve been accused of throwing the Orangutan of Doom around like confetti, but this is such a bloated, hateful incomprehensible bucket of shit that I have no qualms at all about awarding Alone in the Dark my first Orangutan of Doom on this series. Fuck you Uwe, this is dire.

I cannot believe I’ve wasted over 1100 words on this. Seeing as Germans are good with the concept of collective guilt, I suggest that they should dust it down just for Uwe Boll. He’s your fault, Germany.

Until next time,

Jarv.

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About Jarv

Workshy cynic, given to posting reams of nonsense on the internet and watching films that have inexplicably got a piss poor reputation.

27 responses to “Video Game Adaptations: Alone in the Dark”

  1. Droid says :

    The Helen Keller line is a bit harsh and there’s a heck of a lot of references to Germany, but as you point out, Uwe Boll is German and it was German tax laws that allowed him to make his films, so they deserve the shit you give them.

    As for the movie? I got halfway through this and gave up. Complete and utter shit.

  2. just pillow talk says :

    Sounds great!

    Or not.

    I suppose I’ll pass on this one, no matter how tantalizing it sounds.

  3. Droid says :

    Could you maybe give a bit more shit to Uwe on a personal level? Repeatedly call him a cunt or something? I’d like him to show up hurling abuse and threatening to punch your head in. We’re good at attracting nutjobs.

    • Jarv says :

      This is going to build up. There are loads and loads of Boll movements on this list. By the time it comes to Bloodrayne I’m sure I’ll just be calling him a cunt and putting the Orang on the bottom.

      We? They always seem to want to beat me up.

      • just pillow talk says :

        Just have Bronco twitter it, and perhaps with those bread crumbs, The Uwe will show up.

      • Jarv says :

        I haven’t been rude enough here. That will come with the inevitable cunt filled review of Bloodrayne 2.

      • koutchboom says :

        Jesus Boll is too busy I’d say. His out put is fucking crazy. Hows he make so many fucking movies?

      • Jarv says :

        They’re all slapdash bollocks. That’s how.

        Hilariously, he actually blames the games developers for his lack of success. The cunt.

      • koutchboom says :

        Its not even that now. His last couple of films haven’t been based on games. He even did a fucking bio film? Like I wonder if he has writers, or people write stuff FOR him, or he picks scripts?

      • Jarv says :

        His last one was fucking “Auschwitz” because and I’m not joking, as a German Artist it’s his duty to tell the story.

        He writes the scripts.

      • Jarv says :

        Actually, I’m almost tempted to watch that- it’ll be truly atrocious and completely point-missing. He said that Schindler’s List “didn’t speak to the youth” in the way he could.

        I bet it’s almost lascivious in how he films it, and there will be a heroic, but sympathetic, SS Guard.

      • koutchboom says :

        I was looking into that Max Schmeling bio film. He didn’t write that. Its funny some reviews about it on IMDB. Like that guys a german hero and these reviewers are like, wouldn’t the people of Germany try to stop this movie from happeneing?

      • Jarv says :

        I know he’s at minimum “tampered” with a lot of scripts and what I read on Wiki last night described him as having written them.

        Over to you, Uwe, you cunt, how many did you write?

      • Jarv says :

        BTW, if ever there’s a film that Boll SHOULD get right, it’s that one.

        It’s in German, and about Boxing- something that he actually understands. Bet he fucked it up though.

        I’m just gutted that petition didn’t reach 1 million signatures.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah I know it seems like its ONE movie he should’ve nailed. The reviewer does point out the reasons why he’ll never be a competent film maker, no matter how hard I wish nor how much shit he talks.

        I mean I’d love for Boll to make some movie that wins awards, that would be funny as shit. But with these string of films he is showing that it’ll never happen. DAMN!

      • Jarv says :

        Having seen AITD and In the Name of the King, I can probably give you about 5 reasons. I’ve got loads of his oeuvre to go through, so I’ll be able to produce about 50 by the end.

  4. just pillow talk says :

    The Uwe should really just stop trying, and embrace schlock. And by that I mean make enjoyable schlock. And stop asking for money, because you should be working with a shoe string budget. That’ll just add to the kookiness of your ill-advised attemps at filmmaking.

  5. Spud McSpud says :

    I’ve got POSTAL to watch, and that only because the trailer was so offensive, I couldn’t believe there’s actually a movie out there based on that trailer.

    Oh, and RAMPAGE sounds like retarded fun as well. I think Uwe Boll’s function in life is to show us how low, incompetence-wise, movie making can go. Well, he was winning until the cunt that made A SERBIAN FILM showed up.

    Nice review Jarv. I will be avoiding this like a Scotsman avoids the midsummer sun.

  6. LB says :

    Good Lord, I haven’t actually looked to see if if Boll is on Twitter. Starting shit like that, I try not to go there on twitter. I’m trying to be more professional than that 🙂

  7. Continentalop says :

    I can think of only one cure for this movie: watch the 1982 movie Alone in the Dark. It’s not based on the video, but is also not directed by Dr. Uwe Boll. It stars Jack Palance, Martin Landau and Donald Pleasance, and is about for dangerous psychopaths who escape from an asylum. You’ll thank me later.

  8. ThereWolf says :

    The Power Of Uwe Compels You!

    Not seen this and not likely to now. I do enjoy really shit films though. Well, not ‘enjoy’ but it becomes a challenge.

    Boll’s ‘Tunnel Rats’ is nearly decent.

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