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Alone in the Dark

What can you expect from a movie based on a video game? Probably more than this piece of ludicrous Island of Dr. Moreau meets Aliens meets Night of the Living Dead nonsense.


When a movie starts off with a slow screen crawl explaining the convoluted back story that already has the audience in stitches, you know you're in trouble. Let's see if I can get this straight: 10,000 years ago, there was a race of advanced people called the Abkani who foolishly opened the portal to another dimension, letting in some very nasty beasties who liked to lurk in the dark and who eventually destroyed the whole race. Also, 22 years ago, a sketchy mad scientist (is there any other kind?) did terrible experiments on a group of orphans to merge them into animals, and now they are ''sleepers,'' waiting to be reawakened by the return of the monsters. Got that? Oh, and Tara Reid is a an archaeology expert, Christian Slater is a paranormal investigator and Stephen Dorff is a really pissed off commander at some X-Files-like government branch called ''Bureau 713.'' Reid, Slater, and Dorff and a host of disposable good monsters must team up to stop the bad monsters from destroying us like they did the Abkani.


Tara, Christian, Stephen: Your Razzies are waiting for you. The actors' mere appearances in a scene elicits laughter from the audience, especially Miss Reid, whose hair-up-in-a-bun and ''serious'' glasses completely fail to convince us she's a scientist. Thankfully, she soon gives up the pretense and reverts to wearing extremely low hip huggers. Slater tries hard to work his action mojo, but stemming from his relatively good previous efforts, such as Broken Arrow, it's a losing battle. Then, in the ''who asked for this?'' department, he takes off his shirt and engages in an abruptly edited love scene with Reid. Meanwhile, Dorff struts around barking orders ineffectually. If these actors' careers weren't already washed up, this movie would be career suicide.


Alone in the Dark certainly plays like a video game much of the time, with bizarre edits, music video montages and a complete lack of establishing shots to let us even know the geography of certain locations. The obligatory love scene is fortunately brief but scored with some intrusive music with laughably inappropriate lyrics. The CGI creatures are actually passable and not the worst thing in the film. That honor would have to go to the woefully bad script itself and the basic premise, which comes off as a sub-par X-Files episode even the Sci-Fi Channel wouldn't touch.

Bottom Line

Alone in the Dark is only for those who have a sick fascination watching truly bad movies--or perhaps people clamoring to see Christian Slater shirtless. Time and money might be better spent re-renting an old favorite or playing the actual video game itself.