Alone in the Dark

Starring: Christian Slater Tara Reid and Stephen Dorff
Momentum Pictures
RRP: 15.99
Certificate: 15
Available 24 October 2005

Edward Carnby is a private investigator specialising in supernatural phenomena. His cases delve into the dark corners of the world, searching for truth in occult remnants of ancient civilisations. When he investigates the mystery surrounding the recent death of his friend, he's brought face to face with bizarre horrors that prove both psychologically disturbing and lethally dangerous. With the help of ex-girlfriend Aline Cedrac, and bitter rival Richard Burke, Edward embarks on a journey where he's confronted by forces of darkness, that eat away at his very sanity...

Alone in the Dark doesn't really bring anything new or original to the party. In fact it's really an amalgamation of half baked ideas and elements from other, much better movies. There's the Egyptian artefact side of Stargate, the effects of The Matrix, the monsters from Aliens and any one of a hundred zombie flicks, the parasitic bugs from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn and the sandworms from Tremors/Dune.

Throwing together elements from other movies does not make for good viewing. It's a bit like releasing a book with the opening of a Mills and Boon novel, the middle like a Sherlock Holmes tale and the conclusion of a Mr Men book (Hmmm now that's an idea...) It just doesn't work. While the individual elements work well, throwing them together and hoping for the best is a little like sticking your starter, main course and dessert in one large bowl, mixing it up, sticking it in the oven and believing that in an hour you'll be sitting down to a sumptuous meal.

The movie doesn't seem to be sure what genre it wants to be in. Part zombie flick, part mass alien battle (ALA Starship Troopers) part good, dark guy does good, dark deeds (Punisher) this is a terrible mix of half-baked ideas which just don't work when carelessly thrown together.

And what on earth is the ending about? I'm not really going to spoil anything here. But in the end our heroes are walking through a deserted city. Cars are abandoned, as are buildings. Why? The alien battle, which took place at night, seemed to take place on the very outskirts of the city (the aliens are seen running through a wood before they are attacked by the army). And while some of the sequences take place in a deserted mall, we never really get the impression that people have actually fled the city (or maybe I fell asleep through that bit). And as for the very last scene... aren't the aliens supposed to be killed by light? Hmmm. That wasn't thought through very well was it.

In his audio commentary, the director mentions that he had to fight to keep this ending - the studio, apparantly wanted something different altogether. While I'm not usually one to champion the studio heads when it comes to wise decision making... the director really should have listen to them on this one.

In summing up, this is a total disaster of a movie. Even the special effects are pretty average. There are probably two standout moments (the bullet effect and the scene with the aliens running through the wood) and the rest look pretty poor.

If you invite some friends to watch this you may end up turning on the lights when the movie's finished to discover that you are alone in the dark. Sorry, poor joke for a poor film.

Nick Smithson

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