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Case Number 06837: Small Claims Court

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Alone In The Dark (2005)

Lionsgate // 2005 // 96 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // May 20th, 2005

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All Rise...

Judge Patrick Naugle thought he was alone...until a hand on his thigh signaled the presence of schlock director Uwe Boll.

Editor's Note

Our reviews of Alone In The Dark (1982) (published January 12th, 2006) and Alone In The Dark: Unrated Director's Cut (published November 16th, 2007) are also available.

The Charge

Evil awakens…and its name is Uwe Boll.

The Case

I'm starting this review without a plot description of the movie. Why? Because I don't have a clue what is going on in Alone In The Dark. There are monsters, to be sure. There is a lot of gunfire and men dressed up in riot gear. There is Tara Reid as an intelligent scientist / archeologist / forensic expert, or something up that alley (we know this because she does such intellectual things as pulling her hair into a ponytail and wearing smart looking glasses). There's also Christian Slater in a long leather jacket, scenes so dimly lit they could pass as Paris Hilton's sex video, and a Star Wars-like opening text crawl that gives the viewer so much information I almost felt the need to take notes.

Alone In The Dark is not the worst film ever made, as many may want you to believe, though it is one of the sloppiest and stupidest around. Uwe Boll is not the worst director to helm a film, though he's certainly somewhere at the bottom of the list. I don't understand how this movie ended up being released theatrically—everything in this film screams "straight-to-DVD." Most moviegoers agreed, as they stayed away in droves; the film was a total flop upon its theatrical release.

If you'll indulge me, I'd like to make a few observations. If I'm lucky, Uwe Boll will be reading this and taking notes.

First, using video games as the source material for a movie is a bad idea. Bad, bad, bad. I cannot stress that enough. I can't think of one instance—not a single one—where a film based on a video game was any good. At best, there are mediocre ones (Resident Evil), then bad ones (Super Mario Bros.), and then there are Uwe Boll movies. Boll made what many consider to be the worst video game adaptation, House of the Dead. Now here's Alone In The Dark, and if you can believe it, he's made the single most horrifically bad video game adaptation ever.

Second, if you are going to make a video game movie, do something—anything—that makes it feel like more than a video game movie. In Alone In The Dark we're treated to paper-thin characters (Tara Reid, I'm talking directly to you), poorly rendered bad guys (the monsters in this film look like 78% finished rejects from Alien), and a plot so incoherent that it makes Plan 9 From Outer Space look like The Godfather in comparison. If I wanted to play the damn game, I'd pull out my Atari or X-box system.

Third, and most important, make a movie that interests people. Was there really a clamoring for Alone In The Dark? This is the equivalent of Boll making Baby Pac-Man: The Movie. Who gives a shit? I can understand something like Resident Evil being made into a movie, since the game is currently popular. The last Alone In The Dark game was released in 2001, which is a lifetime ago in the world of video game technology. Regardless, it brings us back to my first point: Considering the limited past success in the theaters, why even produce a movie based on a video game?

The sad part is that Dr. Uwe Boll (yes, he actually goes by that title even while making a movie like Alone In The Dark) is either completely oblivious to the fact that he's making crap, or just doesn't care (or, maybe it's a bit of both). His next film, an adaptation of the game "Blood Rayne," is due out sometime this year. I'd like to say we should all give that film a fair chance and hold off on our judgment, but after watching House of the Dead and now Alone In The Dark, I think it's safe to assume Blood Rayne will complete Boll's cinematic turd trifecta.

Alone In The Dark is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The movie sucks, but the transfer is actually pretty good. Aside from the badly lit action scenes (the fault of the filmmakers, not the people who did this transfer), the picture appears to be in very good shape. The colors (what there are of them) and the black levels (a lot of them) are all in good shape without any major defects in the transfer. Overall, fans of the film (fan = mentally challenged man-child living in central Utah) will like how good this picture looks.

The soundtrack is presented in, bafflingly, DTS 6.1 Surround as well as Dolby Digital 5.1 EX Surround, both in English. Well, if nothing else Uwe Boll can always boast that his movies are very, very loud. Both the front and rear speakers are put to good use on this disc, though the DTS track edges out the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix slightly. Overall, both will do the trick, and by "trick" I mean it will allow you to hear the cheeseball dialogue more clearly than is needed. Also included are English and Spanish subtitles.

Well, if you just can't get enough of Alone In The Dark, check out the DVD's extra features! Viewers get a commentary track by Dr. Boll himself (often defending his work, which is like trying to defend why you crammed a rodent up a part of your body where rodents should not go), a trivia track from the film (example: "Alone in the Dark was made by a man who some believe is either criminally insane or mildly retarded"), a short making-of documentary titled "Into The Dark: The Making of Alone in the Dark," a short featurette on the visual effects in the film, a few bland music videos, theatrical trailers for this film and other Lions Gate movies, and storyboard-to-film comparisons.

FYI: make sure to visit www.uweboll.com to read a personal message from one of Dr. Boll's biggest fans!

FYI Part 2: If you're angry about Dr. Boll's movies, visit the Stop Dr. Uwe Boll Petition site instead.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 40

Perp Profile

Studio: Lionsgate
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• DTS 6.1 ES (English)
• Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (English)
• English
• Spanish
Running Time: 96 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Action
• Bad
• Horror

Distinguishing Marks

• Audio Commentary Track Featuring Director Uwe Boll
• Visual Effects Featurette
• Featurette: "Into The Dark: The Making of Alone in the Dark"
• Storyboard-To-Film Comparisons
• Trivia Track
• Music Videos
• Theatrical Trailer
• Bonus Trailers

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