Alone In The Dark – Movie (2005)
While the game series was trapped in limbo for half a decade, Alone in the Dark was taken over by the movie industry. The setting picks up after The New Nightmare, reintroducing the modern Edward Carnby (Christian Slater) as one former victim of strange genetic experiments with orphans, who now in their adulthood get possessed by shadowy creatures. The monsters have a natural ability to create EMP bursts with improbable conditions (your flashlight still works when you’re vaguely close to them). Teaming once again with Aline (Tara Reid), Carnby sets out to do the unthinkable in an action movie – fight them. The whole plot is tied to the Abkani Indian lore from the game, but doesn’t make much sense at all.
Being a video game adaptation, of course it just had to be an Uwe Boll film. Boll bashing aside, though, this was no doubt the better one of his early game adaptations. Yes, that bar hangs low, and yes, Alone in the Darkis far, far away from being a great movie. The dialog is corny and awkwardly delivered (hey, that makes it a perfect adaption to the later games in the series!), half the time the action choreography makes no sense, and in its attempt to ape Hollywood action cinema, it only really captures its worst aspects. So viewers are treated to a pointless bullet time sequence, some pointlessly drawn-out shootouts, a pointless self-sacrifice scene, a pointless sex scene, and a pointless female lead. Actually, the last one is worse than pointless. It’s painfully obvious that Tara Reid brought absolutely no motivation to the set, and every scene she’s in turns out horrendous.
Christian Slater, on the other hand, might have been the best casting choice Boll has ever made, as he appears simply cut out for this kind of trashy genre movie, an he delivers his most ludicrous lines with a sincerity only a real pro of trash can. It also tries its hands at reviving some horror elements Hollywood seems to have forgotten about – like, don’t show the monster in the first couple minutes and try to build up suspense instead. (Not to say that it succeeds…) In the end it’s still an action flick first and foremost, though. Alone in the Dark certainly has its moments, and just like the director’s other video game Adaptations, it can be quite enjoyable when – and only when – watched with the right mindset, as a campy, involuntarily hilarious B-movie.
Uwe Boll also kind of redeemed himself with an R-rated directors cut, which ads more of the silly CGI monsters and proper gore, and disposes of many of the scenes Tara Reid played a central role in. Well, good riddance!
Alone in the Dark 2 – Movie (2008)
The second Alone in the Dark movie was written and directed by Michael Roesch and Peter Scheerer, although Uwe Boll remained on board as a producer. When trying to obtain a mysterious dagger, paranormal investigator Edward Carnby (Rick Yune – yes, Carnby’s Asian now) ends up getting stabbed with the weapon and tainted with a witch curse. This causes gross varices to grow over the body of everyone who touches it (at least until Lance Henriksen as the veteran witch doctor declares: “After all these years I’m immune to witchcraft crap!”) and the witch herself to hunt him down. Carnby gets picked up by a cult of witch hunters, and the fight begins.
There’s not much more to the plot of Alone in the Dark II. There’s a terribly telegraphed and unjustified love subplot between Carnby and the cult leader’s daughter Natalie Dexter (Rachel Specter), who also turns out the real target of the witch, and there’s one major twist thrown in during a few sentences of exposition, but that’s pretty much it. For the first half of the film, Carnby isn’t even much of an agent, as he fights the witches curse. His very existence beyond that point makes no sense at all – it is established very early on that the cult will immediately and cold-bloodedly murder anyone who looks at the witch’s face in the fever dreams caused by the dagger, yet no attempt is made to do the same to him when there’s all the reason to. It’s never even established what Carnby even wants with the dagger in the first place, anyway. After questionably falling in love with Natalie, he resolves: “This isn’t about just me, anymore.” Only it was never really about him.
While the film drops the action focus of its direct predecessor, it doesn’t really replace it with anything resembling suspense – the whole movie contains little more than half a minute of scenes where anyone is in fact alone in the dark, and the witch, sometimes a cloud of crappy CGI nebula, sometimes just a woman in a robe, isn’t scary at all. She also has her lab right in New York City (where she apparently keeps her own heart in a jar) while her hunters are holed up in wooden houses in the forest.
For all the bad rap Uwe Boll gets as a director, the real stinkers tend to be his produced sequels by other directors; it happened as such with Bloodrayne, and Alone in the Dark II is likewise devoid of even the meager redeeming qualities that the first movie had.
Like Prisoner of Ice, Alone in the Dark received the honor of becoming a bande dessinée by Glénat. Written by series author Hubert Chardot himself, it loosely retells the story of Alone in the Dark 3. A new version was included as a softcover edition with a special edition of the trilogy. The colors were very different in this edition, and the pencils made it look like a manga. Unfortunately, that version is very hard to find now.
The New Nightmare was also treated to a comic book tie-in, although not very successfully. A monthly comic published by Semic, written by Lofficier and drawn by Matt Haley and Aleksi Briclot was supposed to be serialized in France, but only the first issue ever came out. In it Carnby and Aline team up once again to fight an ancient evil dwelling in Tibet. The story is titled “Life is a Hideous Thing,” after a quote by H. P. Lovecraft, and Lofficier reintroduces many references to the Cthulhu mythos that had been somewhat toned down throughout the game series.