ALONE IN THE DARK
Alone in the Dark is, like most of Uwe Bolls films, adapted from a computer game. The game in question is Alone in the Dark (1992) from Infrogames. Alone in the Dark was one of the earliest of the survival horror games as popularised by the likes of Resident Evil, Silent Hill and indeed House of the Dead. In the game, one could play the role of paranormal investigator Edward Carnby as he explored a house filled with various supernatural entities. There were five Alone in the Dark game sequels, although some of these veered off into a more light-hearted tone much to the dislike of fans. Alone in the Dark (the film) is nominally a sequel to the fourth game Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare (2001), although makes up its own plot for the most part. The film takes from the game Edward Carnby and Aline Cedrac, the two roles that a player could choose between as the central point-of-view characters; as well as Fiske, the Shadow Creatures and the arsenal of light-producing weaponry that is the only means of killing the creatures. All the background concerning the Abkani has been made up by the film.
Alone in the Dark is a film made up of seemingly random action scenes that often come without rhyme or reason. For no apparent reason, zombies and creatures burst out and attack people, whereupon Uwe Boll leaps off into massive outlays of artillery fire. The silliest of these action sequences is the one that comes in the first few moments with Christian Slater fighting a bald-headed man (Ed Anders) who suddenly attacks him in the street. It is an absurdly showoffy fight on Bolls part with the two men slamming each through windows and doors; a shot where the camera follows a bullet as it goes through a block of ice; Anders running Christian Slater along a conveyor of rollers; and slow-motion Bullet Time jumps and poses. It is a sequence where one gets the impression that Uwe Boll is trying to impress more with visually dazzling shots than he is trying to make dramatically enthralling action sequences.
Much of the script fails to make sense. Or more accurately it leaves loose ends everywhere we never learn why the Sleepers were created as Akbani half-breeds, what Hudgens was trying to create with his experiments or why the Sleeper zombies were activated. Uwe Boll purportedly had to go back and add material like the introductory title card to explain what was going on. The element of Abkani occultism that the film starts out talking about quickly drops by the wayside and Alone in the Dark becomes no more than another variant on Aliens (1986) with soldiers and creatures hunting one another through a complex. The film arrives at a downbeat social apocalypse twist ending that has been copied outright from Resident Evil (2002).
On the other hand, to give Boll his credit, Alone in the Dark is not a truly bad film. Indeed, I am not entirely convinced that Uwe Boll is the abysmal director that people keep insisting. His films have a technical competence and clearly Alone in the Dark is operating on something akin to an A- budget Boll has assembled some reasonably impressive CGI creature effects and a massively-scaled outlay of military firepower and buzzing helicopters, none of which comes cheaply. The film picks up and compensates for its seemingly unplotted first half once it gets down into the goldmine. There it starts to approximate the nature of a videogame with various traps and creatures constantly popping out. There are certainly far worse directors out there than Uwe Boll Michael Bay or Renny Harlin, for instance. You could put Uwe Boll on an equal rung with other B-budget directors in the genre/action field such as Richard Pepin, Philip Roth and John Eyres indeed, Bolls films are a good deal more technically competent and better budgeted than any of these directors films are.
Amidst the cast, Christian Slater seems to be trying to patch together a career that once touted him as a major star name a decade ago. Slater is clearly no longer in A-list territory, nevertheless proves a reliable trooper. On the other hand, Tara Reid is absurdly miscast as an archaeologist, not to mention has an incredibly silly love scene that only draws attention to the fact that she remains clothed throughout. Stephen Dorff at least gets into the show with a good hard-headed performance.
There was a sequel Alone in the Dark II (2008) with Uwe Boll only producing and none of the cast returning. The role of Edward Carnby was recast with Rick Yune. Alone in the Dark should not be confused with the slasher film of the same title, Alone in the Dark (1982).
Uwe Bolls other genre films are:- the serial killer film Sanctimony (2000); the backwoods horror Blackwoods (2002); the high school shooting rampage film Heart of America (2003); the zombie film House of the Dead (2003); the vampire hunting videogame adaptation BloodRayne (2005) and its sequels Bloodrayne: Deliverance (2007) and Bloodrayne: The Third Reich (2011); the fantasy adventure In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007) and its sequels In the Name of the King: Two Worlds (2011) and In the Name of the King 3 (2014); the videogame adaptation Postal (2007), a surreal bad taste satire about a shooting rampage; Seed (2007) about an executed killer returned from the grave; the videogame adaptation Far Cry (2008); Rampage (2009) about a man on a shooting spree and its sequels Rampage: Capital Punishment (2014) and Rampage: President Down (2016); Stoic (2009) about sadism and brutality in a prison; The Final Storm (2010) about an apocalyptic storm and the arrival of a mysterious stranger; the gonzo bad taste comedy Blubberella (2011) about an overweight vampire heroine; Assault on Wall Street/Bailout: The Age of Greed (2013) about a man on a shooting spree against bankers; and a segment of the horror anthology The Profane Exhibit (2013). Boll has also produced the ghost story They Wait (2007), Alone in the Dark II (2008), Zombie Massacre (2012), Legend of the Red Reaper (2013), Prisoners of the Sun (2013), Morning Star (2014), Viy (2014), Anger of the Dead (2015), Zombie Massacre 2: Reich of the Dead (2015) and Jack Goes Home (2016).