As a film writer and fan, I get criticized often that I “like everything.” My friends famously comment, “yeah but you like bad things” when I champion fun movies. To be clear, I don’t like everything. In fact, I don’t like a ton of things. But I do believe that you can find redeeming qualities to most, if not all, films, even if it is only a single shot, moment, or line. Now again, this is not a proven fact, just a way I try to view films without a jaded mindset. However, there are some films that are so hilariously bad, that they are worth a watch. Some of these even gain cult status (see Tommy Wiseau’s The Room). Some of these are forgotten to the annals of history. And some, like the movie I am covering today, are taught in a German horror film class as an example of the lowest recorded point of the German horror catalog. So, dear readers, I give you the worst movie I have ever seen in my life, by a director that is the least likable person in film: Uwe Boll’s Alone In The Dark(2005).
It’s rare you come across something this horrible. As a fan of video games growing up, I have watched numerous times as Uwe Boll has secured the license to a good franchise and then abysmally murdered that franchise on screen. Bloodrayne, Far Cry, Postal, House of the Dead, In The Name of the King, and so on. However, Alone in the Dark is a whole new low point for this director. Introducing us to Edward Carnby (Christian Slater), a private investigator who “specializes in the supernatural and occult”, we learn that he was experimented on as a child and left him with heightened awareness. He also used to work for Bureau 713, which is the paranormal X files unit that keeps the world safe. He investigates the Abkani civilization, a Central American-like civilization of people that worshiped demonic entities and disappeared off the face of the earth. His girlfriend(Tara Reid) also is a specialist on Abkani artifacts, as she works at the museum as a curator.
They each find some artifacts, and suddenly, the invasion of these creatures is in full force, with Carnby investigating the same man who conducted experiments on he and all the other kids at his orphanage. Oh, and all those kids are now slaves for these demonic creatures. I forgot to mention they have symbiotic worms on their spines, but Carnby’s died because he was electrocuted. Anyways, he, along with the help of 713, murders all the kids he was orphaned with and set off to close the portal to the underground cave that is full of these things. They blow it up and save the day, only to realize this underground cave and child lab was under the orphanage the entire time. Who knew?! The best scene is when it gets all-dark and Ghost by Mnemic starts blasting as they slow motion start blind firing weapons at these things. It’s truly the worst thing I have ever seen.
This movie is another shining example of why Uwe Boll is bad at his craft. He takes established franchises, and tricks their fans into thinking what he has done will be a service to the community. But it rarely ever is. There is no themes in this movie. Sure, I could make some up, like Carnby wanting to reconcile with the past, but it is not explored like one would expect thematic elements to be, instead just kind of glossed over. The creatures are straight Xenomorph rip offs. The action is so stylized in all the wrong ways that it looks awful. The dialogue is so bad. It’s an honest to god dumpster fire.
Noel Caroll rationalizes all sides of the horror spectrum, through how he perceives a film. His ideas are all based around the fact that the genre of horror is trying to elicit an emotional response from the participant, and I believe that it is one hundred percent true. Just what kind of response is up to the director, and Carroll discusses that too. Is it existential? Is it supposed to shock you? Is it something far beyond our control? All of these movies and modes continue to press these envelopes 25 years after Carroll initially made the same claims.
Even Boll’s films fit these ideas. Except Boll’s only intent is to prove that everyone else is below him. He makes awful movies, with little to no message. He financially funds or crowdfunds his own films, and secures intellectual properties that don’t cost very much in the first place, but have an avid fan base. And then he wrecks these films from every standpoint. Even though I don’t live by Rotten Tomatoes metric, his highest directed film is a 25% and his lowest film is a 0%. His average RT score is a 6.87% with many of his 33 directed films reporting no score at all. IMDB gave AitD a 2.3/10 with over 40,000 reviews.
As for how the film can be understood in a larger societal context, I am interested to hear someone explain to me what that context is. Just like with Rampage, there is an opportunity to discuss real life issues and Boll would rather use them as a stepping stone to more violence or action. A past civilizations mistakes in worship led to their disappearance. Pretty easy line to draw there in the storytelling department, but Boll is too concerned with his gunfights to do that.
I mean, if you want to watch something that takes 0 effort, and come out the other side upset that you did it, go for it. It’s on Amazon Prime and Tubi TV right now.
Film: – Alone In The Dark (Boll, 2005)
Texts: The Philospohy Of Horror – Noel Carroll