Alone in the Dark
2005
A private sleuth who specializes in weird supernatural phenomena is forced to work with his archaeologist ex-girlfriend to defeat the demonic ancient Abskani tribe, which is set to wreak havoc on Earth.

Scott Hardie: “It sucked.”

[Spoilers ahead.]

To paraphrase "Ghost World," this movie is so bad, it's beyond good and back to bad again. It's the kind of film for which the utter destruction of humankind at the end, including the tearing-to-pieces of the two protagonists, counts as a redeeming virtue. To say that this movie is designed to appeal to the intellectually bankrupt would mean that it's meant for human consumption at all, which may be the scariest thing about it. It might possibly hold some entertainment value for people just coming out of a five-year coma, but then again, it might hit too close to home, because it feels like a five-year coma.

For me, the most depressing thing about it was that I rented it in hopes of discovering the worst film of 2005, but it still wasn't bad enough. (Who honestly rents a movie like this expecting it to be good? Never mind; I don't want to know.) These days, when most directors slip into slow-motion action sequences, it's because they want to show off their cool photography or bring you into the action, but in this case the film has neither anything interesting to look at nor any sense of blocking or direction to the action. It's like the film has the faintest glimmer of an understanding of how to be entertaining, but not why. Whole sequences go on aimlessly for minutes at a time: At a moment when nameless extras were wandering around silently in the dark with nothing happening, I dozed off for five minutes, but when I awoke, nameless extras were still wandering around silently in the dark with nothing happening. Is the premise of the entertainment value that a vaguely-defined, unknown human might theoretically be attacked by some kind of monster, and the endless meandering around is hypothetically intended to mount tension of some sort? I won't call the film boring, but I will call it an invitation to clip your toenails and maybe start a load of laundry.

I will give the film credit for the most perfect casting since "Mystic River": Christian Slater plays a man who's been shut out of a profession he was never very good at but who keeps hanging around hoping for a break, Tara Reid plays a ridiculously unqualified pretty face way too young for her job, and Stephen Dorff plays someone we don't like well enough to want to learn anything about.

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