Some movies make watching movies feel like homework. About twenty minutes in, you start promising yourself special treats if you actually stick with it all the way to the end. Your mind drifts. The minutes tick away. You may even start to think in terms of “If I died right now, would this be the way I wanted my last moments to go?”
In the case of this movie, the answer is – absolutely not.
Alone in the Dark II tells the story of a knife – yes, a knife – that has something or other in the handle and if you’re stabbed by it, somehow or another, it attracts some kind of evil from a cave that you see in your dreams where an old man with a poker is. People call this cave a ‘lab’ for some reason. Then you’ll get these veins all over you that are obviously pasted on. A veterinarian (Lance Henricksen) will show up and inject you with radiation so the people in the cave can’t see you. There will be a lot of people around spouting nonsense most of the time. You, in this case, are a man named Edward Carnby (Rick Yune) a paranormal investigator who, from the looks of it, is a former model. And who also went from Caucasian to full on Asian since the last movie (where you were played by Christian Slater.)
You might suspect Edward is the main character of this tale, but really, he’s asleep on a bed most of the time, having things done to him. You might think big name Lance Henricksen is the main character, but he doesn’t show up until somewhere in the middle. The truth is – there is no main character. The only constant in the story is the aforementioned knife of maliciously vague abilities. This is a movie in first draft form.
Alone in the Dark II is a Uwe Boll-produced movie. While I don’t have the grudge against Boll that most do, it’s apparent that he can bring name actors into his movies (Ben Kingsley, for instance) and has the Lucas-like ability to destroy any performance that might come out of them. This is true of Alone, where Henricksen does his gravelly voiced thing, brings as much gravitas to the movie has he can, but always feels like he’s on his own. This is a movie with two directors – and no one seems to be giving direction aside from maybe “what would the knife do in this situation?”
Early in the film, there’s a big warning about what kind of territory you’re headed for. A Group of Heavily Armed People We Don’t Know (GHAPWDK for short) are in Central Park in some kind of crisis and something is coming. They head for a public bathroom for shelter, where another guy (Zack Ward) already is. The GHAPWDK enter and one man with a shotgun begins kicking in the stall doors, to see if anyone else is there. Our man Zack is in the last one, of course. Kick – kick – kick go the doors. Then, instead of kicking in the last door, the man with the shotgun just… doesn’t and goes about his business. I watched this twice to figure out what happened. It seemed as if he decided that because of the light coming in the window there just couldn’t be anyone in that last stall, else they’d cast a shadow under the door. That’s as close as I can come to explaining it.
But don’t worry – these things won’t trouble you, dear reader. Because you won’t be watching it. You have other, better homework to attend to.
The film is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen and is professionally shot. The audio is presented in Dolby Digital.
Audio Commentary with Michael Roesch, Peter Scheerer, and Bill Moseley – The necessity of audio commentary is stretched pretty thin here. I mean – there’s no commentary on Jaws, but this we have audio commentary for? Scheerer: “So now we try to explain a little bit about the making of the movie… or whatever.” Yeesh.
Behind the Scenes – The usual cast and crew love fest, as evidenced in Henricksen’s quote – “I’m working with two directors. Together, then make one great director.” Oy. (14:21)
Cast Interviews – A series of separate clips, between 1:00 and 5:00 long, from each of the cast. The love fest continues. Another doozy from Henricksen – “It’s a gift to be able to do a movie like this.” followed by “I never saw Alone in the Dark 1.” You don’t say.
Alone in the Dark II is a poor movie without even the over-the-top badness to make it fun.
Event Film presents Alone in the Dark II. Directed by: Peter Scheerer and Michael Roesch. Starring: Rick Yune, Bill Moseley, Danny Trejo, Lance Henricksen. Written by: Peter Scheerer and Michael Roesch. Running time: 91min. Rating: PG-13. Released on DVD: January 26, 2010. Available at Amazon.com.