Alone in the Dark: Unrated Directors Cut – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Lionsgate presents Alone In The Dark: Unrated Director’s Cut. Written by Elan Mastai & Michael Roesch and Peter Scheerer. Based on the video game. 99 minutes. Unrated. Originally rated R for language and violence.

Directed By:

Uwe Boll

Cast:

Christian Slater. Edward Carnby
Tara Reid. Aline Cedrac
Stephen Dorff. Cmdr. Richard Burke

The Film:

Uwe Boll (pronounced u:ve) had become one of the most infamous filmmakers today. His persona outshines any of his films, what with him challenging film critics to boxing matches. Now he delivers a director’s cut of his second movie based on a video game. But will changes actually make it a better film?

In a video game it’s okay to have a really complex, convoluted plot because you’ve got hours and hours to let it unfold. So boiling that down to an hour and a half is not an easy task. In the case of Alone in the Dark the plot is so convoluted that it has an opening scroll to explain the back story that is over a minute long. Then on top of that we have a really bad Christian Slater voice over sporadically throughout the film to fill in the other holes, never to great success.

So what is this film about? Well 713 is a super secret government agency that deals with the supernatural. Carnby (Slater) is an ex-agent who has gone freelance. Eventually, these evil alien beasties show up and start killing a bunch of people. They also seem to have gone all Invasion of the Body Snatchers on a group of orphans who are not super powered zombie types also on a rampage. So Carnby must team up with his former 713 people, including Richard Burke (Dorff), to defeat the evil alien beasties and save the world.

With a story like that I could have been entertained. But Boll doesn’t seem to have a basic understanding of what it takes to make a decent action movie. Alone in the Dark trudges along never quite picking up in the action department and when it does it’s very flat and uneventful. Boll is mostly interested in visual gimmicks than actually storytelling.

The other big problem with the film is the acting. Slater is decent, and he’s able to pull something out of his poorly written character to deliver a passable action hero. But Tara Reid is not a good actress and can do nothing with what she’s given. Her scenes are so painful it distracts from any enjoyment one might be getting from other parts of the film.

About the nicest thing that can be said is that CGI-alien beasties look pretty good. I think it helps that they are only ever seen in the dark and move really quickly so you don’t get a close look of them. But, still, they are the most entertaining part of the film.

In the commentary Boll says that they added in more gore and violence, including a soldier who gets his spine ripped out, and took out some of the slower parts that didn’t add to the story – this included the love scene between Reid and Slater. I don’t know if it makes the film any better, I’m not sure that’s possible, but if this is more like Boll wanted it in the first place then, well, good for him.

I guess.

The DVD:

This film is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1 and 6.1 DTS-ES Digital Audio. English and Spanish Subtitles.

Extras:

Newly recorded commentary with Uwe Boll: It really is a shame his films are so bad because he seems like a nice guy. He’s well spoken and actually enjoyable to listen to. He points out the flaws of the film and admits that on the first day of shooting he wanted to fire Tara Reid but couldn’t afford it and still regrets not doing to this day.

Raging Boll: The Stuff Of Legends: This piece focuses on how much the critics hate his films and how he boxed them to prove his point. He also defends his films. This is almost kind of pathetic. It’s like he’s saying “Look, I’m really not as bad as everyone thinks I am, really!”

Into The Dark: This is a run of the mill puff piece talking about the making of and everyone talks about how great the project is.

Shedding A Light:This focuses on the special effects of the film. Like I said the beasties were the most interesting part of the film, so this extra is kind of worth your time. It also talks about some of the super gimmicky shots that were unnecessary.

Storyboard-to-Scene Comparisons:You get three of these. Frankly I’ve never found these all that interesting. If you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all.

Trailer

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for
Alone in the Dark: Unrated Director’s Cut
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

3.5
THE VIDEO

8
THE AUDIO

7
THE EXTRAS

6
REPLAY VALUE

0
OVERALL
3
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

The Inside Pulse
I really can’t recommend this film to anyone. From the extras, it seems that Boll is a nice guy and I’d really like to see him make a good film. Sadly, though, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

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