Alone in the Dark

release year: 2005
genre: horror (video game adaption)
viewing setting: home DVD, 5/19/05

synopsis: A secret government agency does battle with various sorts of monsters.

impressions: This movie suffered from a weak plot and bad direction, which is a shame because those flaws weren't total - they just manifested in the second half of the movie. The basic idea involved ancient evil (magic? alien? it wasn't made clear) monsters and the humans who fought them. The problems mostly stemmed from a plot that invented things when it was convenient to set up an action scene. One example was the little worm-things - what was the connection? Where did they come from? If they were implanted into the humans, then why were they dormant in their hosts for twenty years? Who controls them? Do they communicate with each other and with the big hive in the mine? If so, then why didn't they pursue their own agenda, instead of letting humans manipulate everything? Another example: if all the "xeno" monsters are already known to be in the mine at the end, then why did a horde of them come running from elsewhere toward the mine? Come to think of it, what were they doing in the outside world anyway? Hint to scriptwriters: an underground cavern full of monsters isn't a world-ending threat to be dealt with ASAP - not when there are already some of the monsters loose in the outside world! THE PLOT IS A MESS. The directing style didn't help, either - around the 50-minute mark, there's a quiet scene that suddenly changes into a free-for-all with monsters and guns, and loud thrashing music. This, to me, is a trademark of a bad director who hopes to conceal his movie's weakness by putting loud music and lots of action on the screen. I'll say this, at least: the director didn't resort to putting video-game footage onscreen like he did in his last movie.

things to watch for: The fight at the beginning was actually well-done and interesting.

something this movie has that no other movie has: Bullets tipped with "elements 76-79 on the periodic table" (these four elements can hurt the monsters)

bonus link:  the periodic table

acting: Christian Slater (as a paranormal investigator with a strange tie to the monsters) actually takes this seriously, as do Tara Reid as a scientist and Steven Dorff as a troop commander. They do good jobs, with what they're given (which often isn't much.)

final word: Worth seeing once. I don't think it's one of the worst hundred movies of all time, but it could have been so much better, especially given the strong start.

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