Alone in the Dark – Videogames are bad for you week

Well I hated to see last week’s ‘Don’t Get on That Boat week’ end but it’s time to move to a new topic. This week is ‘Videogames are bad for you week’. All of the movies will be about videogames or are based on videgames. Alone in the Dark is currently available on instant Netflix.

Alone in the Dark

AVOID: Alone in the Dark (2004) – Rated R for violence and language

“Private sleuth Edward Carnby (Christian Slater) specializes in weird supernatural phenomena, and he’ll be forced to work with his archaeologist ex-girlfriend (Tara Reid) to defeat the demonic ancient Abskani tribe, which is set to wreak havoc on Earth. But Carnby already has experience with the evil beings, which also attempt to infiltrate his mind. Stephen Dorff co-stars in this sci-fi thriller based on the popular video game series.”

Ha ha ha – I hardly know where to start. Let’s begin by revising Netflix’ information. All of the above is wrong. The Alone in the Dark they have on instant play is Alone in the Dark II not the film listed above even though that’s the information they have for it. The corrected listing is below.

Alone in the Dark 2

AVOID: Alone in the Dark II (labeled Alone in the Dark) – Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, and brief drug content.

“When a 100-year-old witch (Allison Lange) hatches a horrid plot to sacrifice a young girl with a mystical dagger, a team of witch hunters led by Edward Carnby (Rick Yune) set out to stop the killing and retrieve the terrible blade. But soon they discover that anyone who touches the knife falls under the power of the witch’s vengeful bloodlust. Michael Roesch and Peter Scheerer direct this horror film that co-stars Lance Henriksen.”

“This is radioactive solution…makes you invisible to the other side. It cancels out the aura.”

I’m not sure whether to be pleased or disappointed that I won’t have to watch Uwe Boll’s original film. This direct to video sequel replaces Christian Slater with Rick Yune as Edward Carnby. It is written and directed by Michael Roesch and Peter Scheerer.

First off I have to say that I’m glad this wasn’t a theatrical release. The combination of shaky cam, jump cuts, shifting camera angles and out of focus photography would probably have made me very ill. It is still almost headache-inducing to watch.

It really has no connection to the first film except that one character is called Edward Carnby. The film revolves around a group of hapless Ghosthunter-wannabes. They might as well be wearing red shirts or bullseyes.

The film is ridiculously heavy-handed. You see everyone hiding in an electrified cage so you know the power is going to go out. It does so almost immediately. You see a device with a large spike so you know someone will get impaled on it. Lo and behold, moments later someone is impaled on it.

Hilariously there is a door that opens partway up from the ground. Clearly Carnby can crawl through but Natalie (Rachel Specter) declares only she can squeeze through. Later on the door closes and the heroes spike it to keep it from closing completely. When it opens to about the same height as before, Carnby removes the block (even though he could go through and leave it there) and crawls through. The door promptly tries to shut on his foot. Then another character says that they’ll go get the car jack – something that would have made the whole sequence moot.

It is a shame that this movie isn’t any good. They assembled a genre fan’s dream cast which is surprising for a direct to video feature. It is not surprising that these people would be in a DTV movie – it is just surprising that so many of them are in the same one.

In addition to the always wonderful Lance Henriksen, Michael Pare (Bad Moon, Gargoyles) pops up briefly as Willson. Danny Trejo (Grindhouse, From Dusk til Dawn) and Ralf Moeller (best known as the giant German from Gladiator). Also putting in appearances are Zack Ward (Freddy vs. Jason, Transformers), Bill Moseley (Grindhouse, The Devil’s Rejects), Natassia Malthe (DOA, Elektra) and Jason Connery (son of Sean).

In spite of the ineptitude the film almost ends well and then we have a cheap cop-out. After the cheap cop-out, we have an obligatory second cheap cop-out which makes absolutely no sense given what went on throughout the entire film. Sorry to keep that vague but I hate spoiling even the bad films.

People Watch: Who should pop up as Lance Henriksen’s wife but P.J. (Carrie, Halloween) Soles.

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