A Review by Noah Antwiler
I do not want to be here.
Alone in the Dark has been sitting at the top of my review pile for a year, and every time I look at it, I find an excuse not to watch it. Ooh, there's that Steven Seagal movie; that'd be way funnier. Look, Fred Savage and the Power Glove; that movie defined a generation! Even I'm humiliated at my cowardice in avoiding this particular Uwe Boll movie. I mean, even I have to admit that it's ridiculous that I've given this movie a complete pass up until now. I'm supposed to be running a website where I systematically beat the everlasting shit out of the worst movies in existence, and there's a Uwe Boll movie that I haven't savaged? Hell, even if you look at my review of Bloodrayne you'll notice it wasn't my usual movie recap; it was a stupid one-two punch of a review punctuated by stolen Photoshop images that were probably funnier than my prose. Not my best hour. I think after my review of House of the Dead I'd managed to convince myself that I'd pretty well bitchslapped Uwe Boll and that reviewing his other movies would be...I don't know. Redundant? Bullshit aside, I was scared.
I even thought about scrapping this review to go watch Bloodrayne and re-review it as a full recap. Oh, I still might, but I was so desperate to avoid Alone in the Dark that I was willing to go to almost any length and any movie to stop from writing this review. The reason? It is, hands down, the worst Uwe Boll movie currently in circulation (at least until Postal comes out). Sure, I thoroughly raped his other two movies, but you know what? They actually are watchable. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more hilarious movie than House of the Dead to do an MST3K-style riffing with your friends. Even alone, the movie is great for chuckles in the same way that you'd pop in Plan 9 From Outer Space for a good guffaw at how kitschy cute it is. I know the comparisons with Ed Wood are easy, but that's only because they're so accurate. Even Bloodrayne has redeeming qualities aside from its unintentional hilarity. If you need, clinically need to jerk off to Kristanna Loken, Bloodrayne will get you there. Hey, I'm not judging. I watched Alexander solely to see Rosario Dawson's funbags. Men will do weird things to glimpse nipples. Just mute the fucking movie so you don't have to listen to the intensely irritating clanging sex noises.
They're all horrible, but Alone in the Dark is fucking thumbscrews. It lacks anything amusing or unintentionally funny you might find in guilty-pleasure viewings of his other films. It offers nothing more than Uwe Boll's limitless incompetence as a director and B-actors who, despite being native English speakers appear to be reciting their lines phonetically. Christian Slater seems ashamed that this is the only way he can con his way into a major theatrical release anymore, and already resigned to his fate appearing in Hollow Man. Oh, and let's not forget the cherry on top of this shit sundae, the woman who lost her cherry long, long ago: co-star Tara Reid.
So I'm sitting in front of my computer holding two DVDs, allowing the shame that I actually paid real money for both of them to wash over me for a prickly, nauseating moment. Every instinct in my body is screaming for me to pitch Alone in the Dark into a microwave and giggle like a schoolgirl who just discovered masturbation as I watch it burn. It's heavier than it looks in my hand, whispering dark promises of madness and filth like a digital Necronomicon. I really, really don't want to watch this movie, guys. Don't make me do it. This movie hurts worse than a urinary tract infection in the middle of a herpes simplex outbreak. It's the fucking shit-brick you take after being constipated for four days-- a turd so stiff and wide that it feels like you're giving birth and once it's gone you feel dizzy and you greatly suspect you might have torn your o-ring. It's that packet of rotten hot dogs you forgot in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for three months and even though you know they're more rotten than Tara Reid's moldy cooter, for some reason you open the bag anyway just to take a whiff.
It's bad. It's not gloriously bad, or hilariously bad, or MST3K bad. Everything, everything about this movie is an example of stupidity and wrongness on a Biblical scale. It is, quite simply, the anti-goodness. This movie strangles puppies while finger-banging dead altar boys in the asshole. I have never witnessed a movie so evil, so foul, so mishandled on every conceivable level from concept to completion. There are movies that are cool to slam like Gigli and then there are the unspoken abominations against good taste that are Alone in the Dark that quietly, without name stars or media derision that epitomize the horror of a truly bad film. It's not hip to slam Uwe Boll. This isn't some kind of bandwagon that movie critics ride to legitimize their opinion. He's not some flavor-of-the-month news story that people will forget. He truly is the most inept, schnitzel-sucking son of a bitch to ever stand behind a camera.
And ordinarily that wouldn't hold him back! Brett Ratner makes relatively successful (but still shitty) movies. That thumb-nugget Oliver Stone keeps making movies and he rakes in the dough. Being a complete failure was never much of a handicap in Hollywood, I mean just look at Tim Burton. I think it's Boll's complete, blind conviction that he's breaking new ground, a pioneer of film, a master artist unappreciated in his time. You think I'm joking. I'm not. He really does believe that he's been targeted by a vast conspiracy of jealous movie critics and that the failure of his movies in the box office can be attributed to poor advertising, a total panning in the national press, and that other more popular films released at the same time stole his thunder. You know what? Just listen to this asshole for a little while. (IGN Interview with Uwe Boll about the release of Bloodrayne: Part 1, Part 2) What really slays me about this one is that these two shills from IGN actually do appear to be hardcore fans. Even funnier is that they're having a candlelight dinner of take-out Thai food. It's like watching Dinner For Five with two shitheads and a German retard.
It's so hard to list off everything that's hilarious and sad about Dr. Uwe Boll. Do I even bother mentioning his open challenge to fight his most vocal critics in a boxing ring? No, I think it's much better to let Uwe dig his own grave. How, you ask? Easy. Check out the DVDs. He does a commentary for each one, and I promise you they're the funniest shit you will ever hear. The man's insanity knows no limit, and these commentaries really allow you to get an in-depth look at his thought process when directing a film. Which is why I now present to you a brief snapshot of some of the wit, the genius of the man they call Dr. Uwe Boll with...
The Quoteable Uwe Bowl (Part One)
"I like the look on Ona's eyes, shows humanity... also she has nice body."
"We make history with 8,000 cuts in 12 minutes."
"I really like this scene, its like Gone with the Wind."
"They are in the house... they will have to come out. I mean, its a house of the dead."
"With the younger actors I talk about the game, with Burt Reynolds I don’t talk about the game. He likes his part in Dungeon Siege and doesn’t give a shit about the video game."
"I love the idea and we did good with sperm zombie."
"We have more flashbacks, but we cut it so you know, we can get to more action."
"Jurgen Pronchow is a great actor, look as he lifts the crate and acts like it is really heavy. It really isn't."
"Nudity is very important for horror, it tells you we are not safe.""I like the red light."
The dude admits that he made up over half of the dialogue on House of the Dead up on-set, on the fly! He blames the failure of Alone in the Dark on Atari's unwillingness to produce a movie tie-in game to accompany the film. Good call. He says that his movies tanked because he had to compete against Hide & Seek and Boogeyman. Yeah, that's what sank it. News flash: nobody went to see those movies either unless they had some weird Dakota Fanning thing. Although I suppose those pederasts do greatly outnumber the Uwe Boll fans of the world.
After reading that, do I really even need to watch Alone in the Dark? Yes?
Get this: test audiences said the movie sucked. Can you believe it?
More specifically, they said the plot was a load of yak balls and they had no idea what was going on. So as a rare concession to the viewer in an effort to make the movie more watchable and understandable, Boll added the following expository text to the beginning of the movie. Allow me to interject my own running commentary to this introduction, as it is quite lengthy and warrants some clarification. There's also a gravelly-voiced Movie Trailer Guy reading all this for you, because audiences are too stupid to read. On the other hand, can you imagine reading this much crawling text in complete silence?
IN 1967, MINE WORKERS DISCOVERED THE FIRST REMNANTS OF A LONG LOST
NATIVE AMERICAN CIVILIZATION - THE ABKANI.
(We called them the Abkani because Tara Reid couldn't pronounce "Anasazi.")
THE ABKANI BELIEVED THERE ARE TWO WORLDS ON THIS PLANET -
A WORLD OF LIGHT AND A WORLD OF DARKNESS.
("Worlds on this planet?" What does that even mean?)
10,000 YEARS AGO, THE ABKANI OPENED A GATE BETWEEN THESE WORLDS.
BEFORE THEY COULD CLOSE IT, SOMETHING EVIL SLIPPED THROUGH.
THE ABKANI MYSTERIOUSLY VANISHED FROM THE EARTH.
(And nobody really missed them. They were profoundly stupid Indians.)
ONLY A FEW ARTIFACTS REMAINED, HIDDEN IN THE WORLD'S MOST REMOTE PLACES.
(Like North America? That's where they lived, right?)
THESE ARTIFACTS SPEAK OF TERRIFYING CREATURES THAT THRIVE IN THE DARKNESS,
WAITING FOR THE DAY WHEN THE GATE CAN BE OPENED AGAIN.(Waiting for the night it's opened again, you mean.)
And that's it.
Just kidding! There's LOTS, LOTS more! Can you fucking believe this?
BUREAU 713, THE GOVERNMENT'S PARANORMAL RESEARCH AGENCY,
WAS ESTABLISHED TO UNCOVER THE DARK SECRETS OF THIS LOST CIVIIZATION.
(Where does the Cigarette-Smoking Man fit into all this?)
UNDER THE DIRECTION OF ARCHAEOLOGIST LIONEL HUDGENS,
BUREAU 713 BEGAN COLLECTING ABKANI ARTIFACTS.
(And on the ice planet Hoth, Han Solo and Princess Leia...)
WHEN THE GOVERNMENT SHUT DOWN HIS CONTROVERSIAL RESEARCH,
HUDGENS BUILT A LABORATORY HIDDEN WITHIN AN ABANDONED GOLD MINE.
(It was there that Hudgens discovered Live Action Role Play.)
THERE, HE CONDUCTED SAVAGE EXPERIMENTS ON ORPHANED CHILDREN
IN AN ATTEMPT TO MERGE MAN WITH CREATURE.
(Where is he getting access to all these children? Who is this guy, Michael Jackson?)
HUDGENS' VICTIMS SURVIVED AS "SLEEPERS" -
LOST SOULS AWAITING THE MOMENT OF THEIR CALLING.
And then I blacked out somewhere in the middle of it. That's a HUNDRED SECONDS of crawl, guys. More than a minute and a half. Don't think that's a long time? Stare at a wall for two minutes. Then imagine someone's spending those two minutes jamming reeds under your fingernails, and you've basically simulated the screaming idiocy of this movie's introduction. That is, if you're actually trying to focus on the story. If not, you've probably been lulled into a coma staring at a black screen and listening to a funky jungle beat. But if you were, you'd think with this much backstory spoonfed to us we'd be able to follow what's about to happen.
You know, come to think of it, when I saw this movie in the theater, I really was alone in the dark.
The opening shots of the film are of a young boy running through the woods at night in his pajamas, intercut with the title cards that tell us that yes, this movie is called Alone in the Dark and yes, Uwe Boll is seriously taking responsibility for this shit biscuit of a film. The boy is in quite a hurry as we can hear him being chased by snarling wolf creatures (or German investors who would desperately like their money back). We can also see a number of rescue workers standing around in the woods shining their flashlights around commenting "I can't see anything." These workers aren't in as much of a hurry, presumably because they don't know about the evil wolf creatures.
A friendly subtitle tells us with a Tom Clancy-esque "bleepity-bleepity blip!" sound that this is 22 years ago. Now we're in an orphanage. A nun looks troubled and says to a man in the background, "It's just...these children are my responsibility."
"We've been through this before!" says the man behind her, a man who looks disturbingly like James Lipton. "If my work is a success, thousands of lives can be saved." Come on, lady! Hand over the kids so I can merge man with creature! It's vital for the success of the human race! I just want to implant them with a few tentacle monsters, what is your problem?!
Not James Lipton tells her that it's too late to change her mind now, just tell the cops the kids have vanished and everything will be fine. I wonder if they're going to explain how exactly illegally experimenting on orphans to merge man with creature will save humanity. Personally I think James Lipton is on the eternal mad scientist quest to create, as Bela Lugosi would put it, " a rice of pipples."
One of his aides comes into the room and reports there's a problem. The test subjects were loaded and ready to go, but there's one missing from the initial head count of twenty.
"SHIT!!" bellows Not James Lipton. That nearly made me spray my drink all over the monitor.
We can see Young Christian Slater huddled in a power transformer station. He's watching some of the evil growling wolf creatures fight each other, but the real horror of this scene is his massive tower of hair that would make Cosmo Kramer shrink in awe.
The flashback ends with Christian Slater waking up on an airplane, wondering what the hell happened to his previously promising career. He's got that two-day facial hair growth and battered leather coat that screams "rugged adventurer with a mysterious past." A kid asks if he had a nightmare and says "My mommy says there's nothing to be afraid of in the dark."
This is such an obviously scripted line that it defies all verisimilitude. Even a kid wouldn't be so stupid to make any reference to being afraid of the dark when you're sitting on an airplane in broad daylight. There's not a dark corner on this airplane. Ugh, the line's sole purpose was so set up a wry retort. Fuck, I can even tell you what it is before Christian says a word.
"Your mother's wrong, kid. Being afraid of the dark is what keeps most of us alive." I bet he spends the rest of the flight telling the kid about how he interviewed a vampire once. Finish off the story by telling him there's no Santa Claus and that ought to destroy his innocence quite nicely.
Next we go to a transport ship. Older Not James Lipton Anymore is on a cell phone (remarkably good cell coverage in the middle of the ocean) explaining to someone named Pinkerton (heh!) that "Carnby" is flying in from Buenos Aires, and he's got the artifact. He tells Pinkerton to "intercept Carnby, get the artifact, and kill him." Kill the artifact? Oh, you mean kill Carnby! I didn't think the Pinkertons were still around. I certainly didn't think you could hire them to assassinate people.
Back at the airport, Christian gets his own angsty private-detective monologue as he searches for a taxi. "So maybe you're thinkin' I'm an asshole scaring that kid for no reason." Maybe? "But I'm just tryin' to protect him. You see, there's a world around you that you've trained yourself not to see." Reality television? I hear ya!
"Call it paranormal, supernatural, occult, whatever." I call it Boll-shit.
"But inside all of us is an uncontrollable fear of the dark." Oh man, here we go. Strap in folks...
"Kids are told it's irrational, but it's not. Fear is what protects you from the things you don't believe in." Now that's dialogue that would make Ed Wood proud.
"I learned the truth a long time ago: just because you can't see something doesn't mean it can't kill you." Christian finds a taxi and speeds off. Nearby in another taxi, we see an angry man scowl at the departing cab and chase him. This must be Pinkerton! Hey Pinkerton! If you want an idea of what Pinkerton looks like, picture a low-rent John Malkovich in Con Air in a straw hat. Yeah.
"When I was ten, I lost my memory," Christian continues. Oh you've got to be kidding me. "Gone, erased." This is some of the dumbest backstory I've ever heard in or out of a video game. It's just so sudden and hilarious to hear Christian Slater say that. "Oh, and the president has been kidnapped by ninjas. I'm a bad enough dude to rescue him."
"You don't have to believe me. My name is Edward Carnby and I'm here to protect you from the things you don't believe." My name's Carnby. I carry a badge. I was one of the rare gamers to have actually played the original Alone in the Dark games for the PC. I can safely tell you the only thing that Boll preserves from the games is the name Edward Carnby, by far the dumbest part of the game. Oh no, it wouldn't do to use the established storyline from the games or the genuinely scary Lovecraftian Mythos horror elements. We just kept the retarded "Carnby" name. It's a name that just sounds phony, doesn't it?
Carnby pulls out a lump of rock from a hefty leather dicebag that looks like a miniature fossilized head of Audrey 2 and turns it over in his hands to inspect it. The cab driver, a shaggy twenty-something comments that Carnby travels light.
"I carry enough baggage for the both of us," Carnby snarks. Oh for the love of god I hate this guy already. Look, Uwe, I get it already. He's a loner. He walks the Boulevard of Broken Balls and he only finds solace in the bottom of a bottle. You might as well have it stamped on Christian's fucking forehead.
The cabbie asks what he does, and Carnby says "You don't wanna know."
"Sure I do!" the cabbie smiles. Dude, you really don't. I already had to sit through his two-minute spiel about being afraid of the things I don't believe, or whatever the hell he was blathering on about. I don't want to hear it again. I think the cabbie is really just trying to buy some time or maybe run up the meter because they clearly pass by the same building five times during this scene. I can tell because of the building's red sign.
Carnby finally admits that he's a paranormal investigator, and that he tracks down the strange and unusual. Speaking of strange and unusual, he points out that another cab has been following them since they left the airport.
"No shit!" the cabbie laughs. "You want me to lose him?" Awfully helpful cab driver! And he's a native English-speaker! I'm starting not to believe this movie, you guys... Anyway, the cabbie floors it and starts dodging through the streets of Montreal-- I mean, Los Angeles. Pinkerton gives chase and starts ramming them in the ass. The cabbie starts to completely spaz out, screaming that his boss is going to kill him and his insurance won't cover it. Guess you should have thought of that before you offered to engage in a high-speed chase for a greasy man you just met at the airport who claims to be a paranormal investigator.
Pinkerton doesn't dick around, either. He has some kind of super-cab that can repair itself and spontaneously change license plates to confuse the police. Either that or the continuity is so bad that there's no consistency between shots. Carnby orders the cab into an open-air market where they crash into a parked car. The cabbie groans and grabs at his bleeding head, pretty much knocked out. No airbags in a modern taxi? Really? Pinkerton swings into the market and kamikaze's his car into theirs just as Carnby leaps out of the back seat. (And even though Pinkerton is moving forward, the shot immediately before he does this is of him throwing the car into reverse.) As he does this, the cabbie apparently teleports out of the front seat because when the cars smash together there is clearly no one behind the wheel.
Pinkerton runs out of his car and gets to higher ground. Carnby tries to find his mysterious attacker and doesn't expect an attack from the air in the slightest. Pinkerton dives from a rooftop thirty feet up and delivers a Super Macho Man-style double-axe handle right to the back of Carnby's head. Carnby Kirk rolls with the impact and comes up kicking. He delivers a roundhouse superkick straight to Pinkerton's chest that sends him flying twenty feet through a storefront window like he'd just been hit by a truck. Hah! And all of this is punctuated with an egregious amount of Matrix slow-mo time, just in case you were wondering if Uwe Boll was creatively bankrupt enough not to steal that gimmick a thousand times over. Hell, watch House of the Dead sometime and watch him ride the bullet-time phenomenon into the ground like the bomb in Dr. Strangelove.
Pinkerton gets up, and man is he pissed off. He boots the door off its frame and storms out, looking to kick Carnby's snarky ass. Carnby ducks into a Chinese herb store but Pinkerton dives headfirst through the window, spears Carnby to the ground, and cracks his head into the floor twice in a move that probably would have killed most people outright. Pinky roots in Carnby's jacket for the Audrey 2 artifact. Carnby summons up his strength (and apparently a wire team) and performs a somersault crescent kick like Guile from Street Fighter 2 from a prone position and gets back into the fight. Carnby escapes back to the street where he steals the gun from a passing policeman and uses it to shoot Pinkerton right in the heart.
Nobody on the street reacts to the sound of gunfire. I guess this really is L.A..
Hilariously, Pinkerton looks down at his mortal wound, says "ARRRGGGH!!" and Matrix-leaps from a rooftop, Matrix-leaps again off a load of cargo pallets, and chases Carnby into one of those places that chops up giant blocks of ice. Time to rip off a Bruce Lee movie or two, I guess. Carnby sees Pinkerton coming and fires again, only this time we enter the classic CSI "Too Much Information" Camera Mode, where the camera zooms straight down the barrel of the gun, right into the hollow-point bullet. Then we follow the bullets through a block of ice in Matrix super slo-mo, directly into Pinkerton's chest. This again does not deter Pinkerton even for a moment. He runs into the warehouse and takes another round in the leg before managing to knock the gun out of his hand. Hey, and look: Carnby's coat has different water stains on it between shots! Pinkerton bodyslams Carnby onto a conveyor, but gets his momentum reversed and gets impaled on a huge iron spike. Pinky stops moving at last. So being shot three times with .45 caliber rounds merely annoys him, but a two-foot iron rod in the back fucked him up beyond repair. Mmkay.
This is where it gets really, really funny. Bear with me, because this gets so retarded so quickly that this movie becomes surreal. I know, this movie actually manages to get dumber than it already has. Alone in the Dark manages to reach the bottom of the barrel, burrows through it, then tunnels halfway to China. Pfft, halfway, who am I kidding?
The scene changes to a really real museum which is currently featuring 10-foot wooden totems that look like they were carved out by the guy who does wood spirits at the Renaissance Festival, or maybe whoever provides the tiki totems at the local Dos Gringos bar on ASU campus. We see Tara "Frankenboobs" Reid hard at work with a clipboard taking an inventory of the totems. Well I suppose she's taking an inventory. I can hardly guess what she could possibly be writing on a legal pad while examining these "relics."
"Tiki Pole #1: Would look great next to my lava lamp."
"Tiki Pole #2: Looks like the guy on the label of Hawaiian Punch."
But the stupid tiki pole thingies aren't what's really goofy. I'm just dancing around the issue. We're supposed to believe that Tara Reid -- make sure you're sitting now -- is an anthropologist.
Tara Reid. With a doctorate.
Strike that. Tara Reid with a G.E.D.. Come back when you've finished laughing.
This seemed like good casting to Uwe Boll: a woman who I doubt could barely add fractions as the intellectual of the film. A woman I wouldn't trust to hand out tender strip samples in front of a Chick-fil-a, and I'm supposed to suspend my disbelief just because you put her hair up and threw nerd glasses on her. That's the least of her problems, Uwe. I don't care about the glasses, I care more about the fact that this woman looks like she'd have trouble solving the junior jumble on the kiddie place mat at a Shoney's. It's a marvel she's off-book for this movie, although I have a sinking suspicion she's written her lines on the legal pad for quick-reference.
A chubby delivery guy delivers a crate marked "FRAGILE" to her. Tara immediately sets a new standard for poor line readings. You can almost hear the punctuation marks written into the script when she talks. "Hmm (comma) I don't have anything scheduled for today (period). What museum was it...transferred from?" She even mangles her second line by stumbling over the word 'transferred.' Good lord, Tara Reid is a terrible actress. She asks who the delivery is for, and the delivery guy says it's for Dr. Hudgens, from Dr. Hudgens. Tara guesses that it must be for the new Abkani exhibit.
The delivery guy asks what an Abkani is. He might as well have said "explain to me, a proxy for the clueless audience what the fuck this movie is about."
I almost fall out of my chair when instead of Tara, the nearby security guard answers. "It's an ancient Native American civilization! They're like this super advanced culture until 10,000 years ago they just vanished." Can you imagine what would have happened of Tara actually tried to spit those lines out? I know it's a relatively easy line, but do you really think she can handle the words 'Native American civilization?' There's a five-syllable word in there. It would have prolonged shooting for a month!
Tara starts to crowbar open the crate. The delivery guy looks worried and says that only Dr. Hudgens was supposed to open it. Hey, look FedEx, postmen should be seen and not heard. In fact, nobody wants to see them either. Fuck off, butthead. In fact, the delivery guy's presumption really puts a burr up the security guard's butt too. "This is Aline Cedrac," he reprimands the guy as if she were the queen of England, "she's the assistant curator?" He ends the second part of that sentence with an upswing in his tone, as if even he can't believe it.
"We have artifacts coming in from all around the world," Tara says, trying to act prickly and only looking like she's having real troubles remembering her lines. "Until Hudgens gets back I will be doing all his cataloguing for him." Then she barely stops herself from reciting the stage direction "Cedrac scribbles on her clipboard."
"So he stuck you with all the work," says the security guard. "Well at least it takes your mind off your boyfriend, right?" Oh for Christ's sake...that was about as subtle as a Mongol attack. I know Tara Reid is a huge whore and all, but even that line was about as sad and desperate as the phrase "a/s/l plz?" in a porn chat room. You might as well have just whipped out your cock and hoped that sheer reflex would seize her and you'd be balls-deep in her mouth before she realized what she was doing.
She gives him a bland "fuck off" look and says "I'll be in my office if you need me." The security guard gawks at her flat ass, mouth making little suckling motions as if to say "I do. Dear god I need you now."
We cut to a long, very long fly-over shot that's meant to establish that this is really Los Angeles. Swear to god. This isn't Montreal. Let's see how long he spends on this establishing shot...Five-mississippi...six-mississippi...okay Uwe, Jesus CHRIST, I believe you already! MOVE ON! Carnby strides in an alley that looks sort of like where Keith David and Rowdy Roddy Piper had their prolonged brawl in They Live. He seems to sense that something is watching him, but it turns out to be nothing and he steps into his apartment: a huge room strewn with priceless works of art with a king-size bed dominating the center of the room. Dang, being a paranormal investigator must really pay well. I wonder how I can break into that racket.
Carnby checks his messages. There's only one from someone named John who says that his nightmares have started up again, so he'd better call soon. I guess Carnby is a part-time therapist, too. He sits down at a table and dismantles the Audrey 2 artifact, revealing a cheap-looking prop hidden inside that looks like the lens to a kaleidoscope.
Meanwhile, Hudgens is on his ship inspecting some kind of large rectangular box they've hauled out of the water with a miniature submarine. The captain spouts off some sailor crap about all shipwrecks being graveyards, best left alone. (This is Uwe's idea of foreshadowing.) Hudgens tells him to shut his sewer hole because he's been looking for this thing for thirty years. So the Abkani were an ancient seafaring race of American Indians who routinely constructed giant sarcophagi out of gold, sailed them twenty miles off the California coastline, and pushed them in the water?
The captain, a greasy long-haired man who looks like Chad Kroeger from Nickelback gives out a piratey "Yar!" and asks if he wants to open it. Hudgens says that he can only open it when the conditions are perfect, else there will be "consequences." Ooh, like melting Nazis? Please oh please...
The captain scrapes aside some of the muck on the box and notices that it's made of solid gold. Yeah, right. The mini-sub hauled up a 10x3x3 brick of gold from the bottom of the ocean floor. Hudgens nods and says that the Abkani were the first people to use gold to store their treasures, something I'm almost certain wouldn't be true even if the Abkani actually existed. Egyptians, anyone? He keeps going on about how they believed gold had the power to contain evil spirits, but the captain is too busy dry-humping the giant brick of gold making "homina homina" noises to listen to him. Hudgens tells him to load it onto the truck, and the captain takes a second to mentally evaluate the cost-benefit ratio of losing a huge gold brick vs. the cost of hacking Hudgens apart with a machete and using him as shark chum.
Back in his palatial flat, Carnby cleans up the Mystic Kaleidoscope and notices that it forms a little telescope like a miniature pirate spyglass! Yar! Then he runs it through his handy Ancient Language Deciphering Computer to decode the runes engraved all over it. It's a good thing Windows Vista comes complete with a universal translator. You know how hard it is to translate Abkani on Babelfish?
Back to the ship. Pirate Chad Kroeger says "Yar matey! If the chest be made of solid gold, then whatever be inside must be worth a fortune! Arr! Ta Davy Jones Locker with ye!" He nails Hudgens in the gut with a sledgehammer. Hudgens gasps that he's making a terrible mistake in opening the chest, and Pirate Chad Kroger says (no shit) "The only mistake I be makin' is lettin' you walk with whatever's inside!" I was just making up the pirate lingo before. Now he really is talking like a buccaneer! He seals Hudgens in the cargo hold and throws open the box (awfully light for a ten-foot slab of gold) and hears something rumbling inside it.
Simultaneously, Carnby grabs at his head and collapses with an acute migraine. We can also see shots of a few other people spontaneously stop what they're doing and walk out their front doors like zombies. One of them gets up from bed, another woman stops doing the dishes and leaves her house. This isn't really that unusual; I've observed similar pack behavior whenever The Amazing Race is about to start.
Hudgens barricades the door and grabs up a wood ax while he listens to the crew being slaughtered by whatever horrible beastie was sleeping inside the gold box. After a while he gets bored (I guess) and opens the door, only to find the crew has been splattered all over the place. He walks over to the sarcophagus (rather boldly, I might add, given the situation) and opens up a secret compartment inside, taking out some ancient doohickey concealed within. I guess this is MacGuffin #2.
Then we go to a cheaply-constructed set that's supposed to resemble a NORAD-like command center, but just looks like a hastily-assembled set of tables in a room with bad lighting. A friendly bleepity-bleeping Tom Clancy subtitle tells us that this is the headquarters of Bureau 713 - the agency for paranormal investigations. A single big-screen TV and a dozen flat-panel monitors do not a super-secret alien investigation agency make, Uwe. You mean to tell me that Bureau 713's intelligence nexus is a room full of monitors-- no computers, just monitors-- with a bare concrete floor?
Stephen Dorff (somehow managing to find a role less-dignified than Deacon Frost in Blade) strolls up to a pair of idiots fake-typing on their completely unconnected keyboards. They're both dressed in the official Bureau 713 uniform which consists of a black t-shirt, black cargo pants, and a stupid black baseball cap. They're dressed like FMV characters for an early PC CD-ROM game. Dorff asks for a status report, so the female desk-jockey (daringly defying Bureau 713 protocol by wearing her hat backwards) reports that their electromagnetic pulse readings are off the scale. I'd really like to know who spends their time monitoring nationwide electromagnetic pulse readings and why their scale isn't able to handle it. We need better scales if we're ever going to be an effective intelligence agency, guys. I'm sick of this "off the scale" shit.
Dorff replies by grinding his teeth and taking the Lord's name in vain. You can almost hear his molars exploding.
Back at the museum, Tara's late night studies (*snicker*) are interrupted by a phone call from Hudgens. He asks if a crate arrived for him, and she says she's been up all night documenting it. Hudgens tells her to get the hell away from his artifact; wimminfolk don't belong in archaeology! Now go to the kitchen and make him a sandwich for when he gets there. Tara stares at the phone like a valleygirl who just got a rude phone call from Myra Hodgkin's boyfriend. Her idea of looking confused is an expression that says "like, totally gag me with a spoon."
Carnby wakes up some time later, and picks himself off the floor. I get the feeling Carnby spends a lot of weekends this way. He gets a call from a hysterical woman, more specifically the wife of the man who left a message on his answering machine a while ago. She tells him that he just vanished from the house last night without a word. Carnby promises to be there just as soon as he gets another snarky narration in.
"According to Abkani legend, when they opened the gate between our world and the world of darkness, a few people survived by joining forces with the creatures from the other side. They gained supernatural power, but lost their humanity. That would explain the man who tried to kill me this morning. I have this bad feeling that's what's happening to John and the others."
So...what, Pinkerton was 10,000 years old? If he had supernatural powers, I guess that means he had to be there when the Abkani opened the dimensional gate, right? It's really not much of a supernatural power if Christian Slater can still kick your ass in a street fight. I get the feeling the world can handle this invasion.
Carnby goes to John's house and promises his wife that he'll find him. Wow. That was a pivotal scene. This couldn't possibly have been resolved over the fucking phone. Way to blow two minutes of footage just so you could crowbar in another expository monologue, Uwe, you fucking cum-guzzling kraut. Ugh. Carnby hits the road again and calls someone named Fish.
"Carnby! I haven't heard from you since you left 713!" Fish says. Um, I think he knows that, Fish. This dialogue is so ham-fisted and awkward I almost expect him to say "I myself am still a part of Bureau 713, the agency of paranormal investigations of which you were formerly a member as well! Have you managed to uncover any more of your mysterious past? You lost your memory when you were ten years old, you know."
Carnby tells Fish to look into his missing friend's past for him and meet later that day.
He heads down to his old orphanage and meets with the nun, who doesn't look a day older than she did in the flashback 22 years ago except for comically obvious silver hair streaks brushed in under her habit. He asks her for the files on the other orphans who were involved in that mysterious incident, and surprisingly, she just hands them over. Huh.
Carnby goes back home and browses a missing persons website. He's not really doing anything, just looking perturbed and tapping his pen while Christian works in another monologue. "I was recruited into Bureau 713 when I was twenty. I learned everything I could about the paranormal. I was a good agent, but it didn't get me any closer to the truth. Every time I uncovered a new Abkani artifact, it immediately got classified. I realized I was never gonna get the answers I needed with 713 calling the shots."
Dude, what makes you think the Abkani were involved in your mysterious past at all? You said yourself that you have amnesia. You have no idea what happened to you. Isn't it more likely that you fell and hit your head? And why did Bureau 713 recruit you? High SAT scores? Would they really want someone with a history of mental illness? Would they really want the guy who played the emo bomber in Heathers? And why exactly do they make being in Bureau 713 sound like such a frigging dangerous assignment? The way Carnby talks about it sounds like he was the fucking Tomb Raider or something. As far as I can tell they just dig up artifacts.
I think we need to consult the master himself to figure out what's going on here. Maybe if we go to the source, he can shine a little light on this plot. So without further adieu, I present once again...
The Quoteable Uwe Bowl (Part Two)
"I think this is a creepy scene... looks like a theatrical play. But it is not."
"80% of the people writing what assholes I am never saw Alone in the Dark, they never saw my movies from before like what I did before - I did 8 movies before I did my first video game based movie."
"We kill people, Loken is sucking blood out of people, she fucks people and is naked, and the entertainment is very sexy and violent."
"Postal could be a movie that's like Falling Down but more as a satire, more as a thing where you can actually laugh about it also."
"Like, there are some hardcore fans who you never can satisfy because they played that game over and over again and they have their own movie in their head, so no matter what you do, they don't like it."
“The world is in need of a film that is tougher in it’s humorous mockery of the globe than South Park. The audience is ready to approach this type of satire with live actors rather than cartoons. Postal will not accept any form of censorship.”"In the Middle East, we started at the same weekend as War of the Worlds and we were number one and War of the Worlds was two."
Wow, his movie beat War of the Worlds in the Middle East. Victory!!
I wonder if you can draw any connection between liking Uwe Boll's movies and terrorism...after all, War of the Worlds was directed by a Jew. Gotta be significant, right?
Fish hands Carnby a file and says that he tracked down the three people he asked about. Neat, except in the scene we just saw he only asked about one person. And the file contains about a dozen people, not three. Fish says he did a "cross-reference," whatever the hell that's supposed to mean. I think whoever wrote the script just used it because the words "cross-reference" sound analytical and cool. Anyway, this mysterious cross-reference reveals that all nineteen missing people came from Carnby's orphanage. Fish leans in close and says "what's going on here, Carnby?" Somehow the name 'Carnby' turns this ordinarily straightforward question into a ridiculously stupid-sounding one. He's just so earnest and intense, and then he caps off the question with the giggle-worthy 'Carnby.' You try saying it. "I want the truth, Carnby!"
Later, Carnby swings by the museum to visit Tara. She hops to her feet and gives a perky valleygirl "Edward!" She gives him a hug and then jacks him in the face, as if a punch to the jaw from Tara Reid would actually do anything more than shatter her fist. "I thought you were dead, you asshole!" she whines. "Give me one reason why I should even speak to you." She manages to barely get through the line without flubbing it, but she's so focused on her enunciation that she forgets to act. I'm not kidding, she literally cannot walk and chew bubblegum at the same time. The sheer force of will it takes to recall her lines makes it impossible for her to emote at the same time. Once she's done with the line, her acting kicks in and she gives an impudent foot stomp. Her idea of "long-suffering heartache" is imitating a pouting child who wants candy.
Carnby shows her the magic spyglass and goes on for about a minute explaining that he was in the Amazon tracking poachers across their transport lines (why??) when he fell in with some ex-Chilean military who were selling artifacts on the black market. Oh yeah, I believe that. Carnby talks like this is no big deal. Yeah, I believe Carnby can speak Chilean Spanish. Not.
Tara grabs the widget and scans it into her computer. Finally she holds it up and pronounces "It's Abkani." Duh. I think he knows that, seeing as how he's been tracking them down since he was 20. Tara starts to whine about how he could have called or written, anything to let her know he was alive. Maybe he realized you're a dirty, dirty tramp and he wanted to get away from you in case the crabs that infest your filthy nether-regions ever learned how to jump. Carnby asks if the inscriptions make any sense to her.
"I'm not sure," she replies. Shocker.
"These artifacts are from all over: Venezuela, New-found-land, Alaska..." She pronounces it New-FOUND-land. Our assistant curator can't pronounce Newfoundland properly. It's "newfn-laand," you dumb bitch. Carnby says that hiding these artifacts in such strange locations 10,000 years ago was like burying them at the ends of the earth. Dude, we're talking about a race of Indians who apparently spanned the entire American landmass, both continents. Your trinkets are not the weirdest thing about these people.
"Yeah, but why?" Tara asks. "If you want people to assemble your puzzle, why spread the pieces so far apart?" I think Tara just figured out one of the plot holes, because this question is never answered.
Suddenly the lights go out and all the monitors shut down in the security office. Rob the Security Guard wanders around the museum with a flashlight in an attempt to investigate the problem. I guess the EMP wave didn't affect Rob's flashlight, eh? We watch Rob stumble around for about two minutes calling out "hello? Anybody there? Miss Cedrac? Mr. Carnby?" while growling shadows shoot in front of the camera. It all plays out way too long; you and I both know where this is headed with the chubby sexist security guard. I'm actually typing this in real-time as we're heading into our third minute of watching Rob poke around calling people's names while the lights flicker ominously. This doesn't seem to bother Rob all that much, even though there's no natural phenomenon that could possibly cause the lights to do this. What is it about evil creatures that agitates nearby light fixtures?
Finally some kind of shadowy spiky creature sneaks up and skullfucks Rob. It's one of the most blatant knockoffs of the H.R. Giger creatures from the movie Alien that I've ever seen, so much so that I wonder how Uwe got away with such obvious plagiarism. Carnby and Tara find Rob's body soon after and get chased through the halls by the creature. Well they don't actually get chased, so much as they run down the corridor while we hear lots of growling and don't see anything. Conveniently the monster can turn invisible whenever it wants so it's rarely in the same shot as other actors. They duck into a closet and struggle to get the door locked, but the monster just rips through it like aluminum foil. Tara sustains a scratch to her arm and Carnby drives it off with his handgun. What a wuss monster.
The skylights of the museum shatter and the elite attack force of Bureau 713 rappels down to battle the monster. Okay, it's not so much an elite force as three guys in molded-foam paintball armor. Surely these pads made by Whammo will stop the 600 lbs. demon with vorpal claws. They spend most of their time shooting at something off-camera, most of the time each person is shooting in a different direction even though there's only one creature. Their bullets seem to annoy the monster slightly, but instead of tearing their faces off it just leaves.
Dorff climbs out of his Humvee (official vehicle of Bureau 713) and starts barking orders to his second-in-command Miles to arrange for a security sweep and to send Fish and his researchers out here to comb the area. Dorff immediately starts breaking Carnby's balls about what he's doing here. Oh, I'm sorry, it's totally my fault that fucking monsters stolen from a Ridley Scott film just happened to attack me. I should have been more considerate. Dorff all but challenges Carnby to an on-the-spot pissing contest to assert his alpha-male status, saying stuff like "this is my unit now" and "wassamatter Carnby? You used to be able to take care of yourself. Getting soft?" This guy's got a serious attitude problem.
Finally Carnby has enough of this abuse and takes a swing at him, but they're quickly separated by some 713 boys. Dorff reminds us all for the third time in a minute that Carnby isn't 713 anymore. The usual "need to know basis, and you don't need to know" line that almost every movie involving a government agency has ever used. As security escorts Carnby away, he twirls a pass card in his hand that he stole from Dorff during the fisticuffs. Oh, that tricky Carnby! And he knew exactly where he kept that card, too!
He uses the card to sneak into a 713 installation and finds Fish performing an autopsy on Pinkerton. Fish tells him that they've matched up his dental records and discovered that Pinkerton is a former 713 agent. Dental records? You've got fingerprints right there. Does 713 really keep extensive dental records of every agent on file? Fish digs out something "fused to his spinal cord" that looks like a big metal millipede. Fish's Star Trek scanner starts to crackle near Carnby, and they discover that he's got an evil millipede stuck inside him, too. Only this one hasn't been fully bonded to him. Carnby guesses that it might be because he was electrocuted at a young age, something that might have killed it. Oh, and when he was ten he lost his memory. Does electrocution cause amnesia, or just bad screenwriting?
How did he live to the age of 32 and never figure out that he had a two-foot metal millipede up his ass? Did he never have a single solitary x-ray in his life? The guy must have set off every airport metal detector he ever passed through. He never thought it strange when he'd hold the line up for ten minutes while the TSA agent swept the wand over him and found something metal lodged on his tailbone? They must have thought he was smuggling a pipe bomb in his colon!
Back in the museum. Without preamble, Hudgens launches into a monologue about how cool the Abkani were before apologizing to Tara for being a jerk on the phone. He grows rather insistent that Tara go home so he can study the artifacts by himself, but Tara is obsessed with doing it herself. Rather than cause a scene and act suspiciously around the bodyguard 713 assigned to her, he goes off to his private lab elsewhere in the museum. There we can see that Hudgens has somehow manage to imprison one of the alien creatures behind a heavy iron door. He reaches a syringe through the bars and pokes the thing, then rolls up his sleeve and injects its blood into his arm. Judging from the track marks on his arm, it's implied he's been doing this for quite some time. This guy really is trying to be like Bela Lugosi, heroin addiction and all.
Just in case you're wondering, no, this plot point does not have any significance whatsoever. He's just addicted to monster blood.
Back in the lab Fish shows Carnby the files they have on the monster in the museum. "We call 'em Xenos!" he says. Ah, so you're not even attempting to hide the fact that you stole the xenomorph concept from Alien. So it's okay to steal ideas from other movies if you just admit that you've stolen them? Fisher says they've been 713's top priority ever since they showed up two years ago. (No, there is no significance to this date either. They just spontaneously appeared for no reason.) The Xenos are vulnerable to elements 76-79: osmium, iridium, platinum, and gold; it negates their ability to disrupt electricity. What about boron? Can we use boron? I've got a whole bucket full of it in my garage.
Carnby asks why his flashlight still worked if they disrupt electricity. Uhhhhh...good question! Blah blah blah, small circuits, less disruption...stop asking things! The plot is flimsy enough as it is!
Fish then says that the creatures live almost exclusively in the dark because sunlight is lethal to them "in large doses." Small doses just leave minor redness and irritation. Fish proceeds to hand over a ton of equipment to Carnby, including a scanner that tracks the creatures' EMP field, a flashlight set to a light spectrum that will hurt the monsters, and a free assault rifle loaded with bullets coated with a "photon-accelerated luminescent resin" for "maximum damage." Yeah, I saw those little yellow bullets in action at the museum, Fish. They did two things: jack and shit. Oh, and these bullets in no way rip off the Sundog rounds used in Blade Trinity last year. Nuh uh. Totally original concept.
"I'm gonna need a lot of these!" Carnby says. The cheesiness of this line reminds me of Vin Diesel in xXx: "I want alla that...in here."
Sure enough, Carnby heads home with a suitcase full of gadgets, weapons and ammo. Fish just handed a civilian thousands of dollars in equipment and government weaponry. None of this makes a damn bit of sense. How did Carnby sneak into a 713 installation dressed like the Sundance Kid and walk out hauling a huge metal suitcase without being seen? How does 713 know so much about Xenos, and why did they decide the most effective armor for their commandos was molded foam chest pads made by Nerf? I think we need to take a step back from the movie for a moment and see what wisdom Dr. Boll can offer us in...
The Quoteable Uwe Bowl (Part Three)
"So, this whole opening dialogue here was heavily cut because it was completely boring bullshit."
"I think in 10 or 20 years, this scene will be remembered not only by horror-fans but by audiences in general as something you can watch again and again and where people say ‘Holy shit, I’ve never seen anything like that’."
"Let’s be honest: a massacre this big has never been done before in this genre in the history of film."
"Alone is a much better film than House of the Dead and better than most horror movies out today. Today, I looked out at the word of mouth on Alone in the Dark and there seems to be a lot of medium, okay and good reviews coming out. This movie isn’t shit and whoever says it’s shit doesn’t like horror movies."
"I really liked the game [Bloodrayne] because the characters are so great. It has really kick-ass characters and it has that thing, that she’s not the Lara Croft, [where] you never see really the breast."
“We’re doing a big epic with big emotion. If people liked Dances With Wolves or Braveheart, they’ll like this movie.”"I think the only weak part in Alone in the Dark is maybe Tara Reid's acting."
The only weak part? *Sigh* I don't think these little breaks are helping me understand the movie at all.
If you guys are wondering why this review doesn't have many screen captures, it's because Alone in the Dark's cinematography is so dark and murky it's rare to see a single image on the screen that isn't 80% shrouded in shadow. You might think this is to Uwe Boll's credit (if you were fucking deranged), but realize that when you're shooting a movie, "dark" is the one thing anybody can do. Actually being able to see your actors takes a surprising amount of coordination and talent between your camera crew, gaffers, and DP.On the other hand, the darkness is the only thing that somewhat salvages the awful CG monsters so we're in a Catch-22.
Carnby takes out his Game Boy Advance that tracks EMP fields and starts scanning his private castle. More Snarky Monologue: "The man who attacked me in the street was after the Abkani artifact." Brilliant. Thanks for cluing me in, fucknugget. I only guessed that when he beat the shit out of you and rifled your pockets for the artifact.
Carnby crashes out on his bed, still mentally yammering on about how he's certain whoever controlled the monsters was bound to send more after him and the artifacts. Tara drives up in her Volkswagen Beetle and opens the door with her spare key. So Tara thought he was dead but kept his house key? She didn't even think to loot the place once he was gone? Plus, he'd been away for years and there was only one message on his machine, none from his long-time girlfriend? She didn't even call! Not a visit, nothing! Doesn't seem like she looked that hard for him when she realized he'd vanished. He carries a cell phone, you dumb cunt. CALL IT. The scene ends with her sifting through his stuff.
Back at 713 HQ (conveniently located in Los Angeles where all the rest of the action is taking place), Dorff drags Fish up to the command center and grills him about his "secret" meeting with Carnby. Fish says it's no big deal; he trusts him. Dorff grinds his teeth some more and says maybe, but how can he trust Fish now? Whose side is he on? Maybe Fish would just like the week off to go hang out with Carnby all he wants, maybe pick up something to eat, see a movie, play some SOCOM 2, finish up with a nice mutual blowjob... Fish asks what the hell Dorff wants from him. Dorff tells him to gather up all the info on Carnby he can find and to keep his mouth shut from now on. In case you weren't taking notes, Dorff is the resident officious douchebag of the movie. It was subtle, I know. Uwe Boll is known for his multi-layered character motivations.
Back at Chez Carnby some ear-clawingly inappropriate song starts up as Tara spontaneously starts ripping off her clothes and proceeds to mount the sleeping Christian Slater. I barely know where to start with this. The music is some kind of horrible German New Age dreck sung partially in German, partially in badly-composed English. And it just comes out of nowhere, as if suddenly Carnby's sound system kicked in with his satellite radio woefully mis-tuned to some eastern-european top 20 pop station. I think I'll try to document the lyrics for you, because according to Boll he paid a lot of money for this music to accompany his gratuitous sex scene. The subtitles on the DVD don't even try to keep up, so I'm winging it here:
"Seven Seconds" by Angelzoom
Woona musae! Woonga gees monkey nay!
Nuh fug me-o. Cchamy mum, leek gay summa num me zoom!
And when a child is born into this world
it has no concept of the tone of skin it's livin' in.
It's not a second, a seven seconds away.
Just as long as I stay
I'll be waiting.
It's not a second, a seven seconds away.
Just as long as I stay
I'll be waiting.
I'll be waiting.
I'll be waiting.
I'll be waiting.
What in the name of Satan's chapped asshole does this have to do with anything???
What is this song about?! Sex? Love? Racism? Time travel? What?!?! It uses the word "waiting" a lot so I guess it has something to do with waiting. Not only are the lyrics an incoherent jumble of phrases, I have no idea what's supposed to be seven seconds away or what the singer is waiting for. And what kind of circular reasoning is the phrase "Just as long as I stay, I'll be waiting?" As long as I'm waiting, I'll be waiting. Yeah, that's deep. Can you picture anyone actually getting laid to this drivel? I never thought I'd long for a Moby track. Can you think of music less sexy than smelly sausage-smelling German New Age?
Okay, I grant you Jane's Addiction is worse. And A.F.I. And Good Charlotte. And Green Day. Come to think of it most popular music sucks balls. I think I'm just in a bad mood.
Where was I? Right, Tara's spontaneous urge to go to Carnby's apartment, sift through his stuff for a moment, and then just jump his bones. What the hell? Uwe, what I don't know about women you could just about squeeze into the Marianas Trench, but I do know that women do not act like this. Can you even begin to rationalize what goes on in this character's mind? "Hm, he's got a lot of dirty laundry over here. My god, that makes me wet." I mean they were both just chased through a museum by a demon dog, she got her arm slashed open, and the first thing on her mind is to visit her sleeping ex-boyfriend and ride him cowgirl-style?
The utter desperation and stupidity of this scene is displayed on so many levels of this movie that I'm only now beginning to grasp them all. Not only is this a gratuitous sex scene, it's obviously a gratuitous sex scene. No effort was made whatsoever to segue into it, no effort made to earn this scene or justify why these characters share an attraction (especially considering Slater and Reid's utter lack of chemistry), and further, it's obvious that Uwe made it this way intentionally. It illustrates that the only reason Tara Reid's character is even in this movie is to participate in this single scene, and you know what the worst part is? Tara never gets topless. If you're going to brazenly whip a sex scene into your shitty movie for the sole purpose of having a sex scene, you better make it worth watching this movie long enough to get to it. I didn't even want to see Tara Reid's hideous fake frankenboobs anyway, so the scene is actually better without the nudity! I swear, if I actually saw those nasty scarred-up areolas I probably would have lost my lunch.
Anyway, the sex scene sort of peters out after thirty seconds and we go to Fish's house, where he and his wife are blessedly not fucking each other on an air mattress to the strains of German house music. The doorbell rings, so his wife offers to go answer the door. She leaves, so we sit there and watch Fish read. We watch this for fifteen seconds before Fish realizes that his wife hasn't come back yet. He heads to the door and finds her dead on the floor, but he barely has time to react when Hudgens leaps out from the shadows and grabs him by the throat, pinning him to the ground! A guy in his late sixties just sprung out of the darkness and choked another man out without so much as a struggle. That monster blood must give him the strength of a hundred museum curators. SuperHudgens reaches into his pocket and fishes out a squirming wormlike CG monster which he then shoves into Fish's mouth. As if he hasn't already stolen every other aspect of The Matrix in this movie already.
Chez Carnby. After their joyless, disgusting coital encounter Ed and Tara go to the computer to do some actual work. They figure out all the artifacts fit together to form a prehistoric ViewMaster, but they have no idea why. Tara conjectures that perhaps by feeding the inscriptions on the device into the computer, they'll match somehow with a database of constellations. Whatever guys, just do whatever techno-babble you think justified getting you to the third act. Tara says the Abkani were masters of pinpointing geographic locations using constellations, but the data they have will only narrow it down to a general region, say a hundred miles or so. I guess by "pinpoint" she meant "vague, inaccurate guess." The computer spits out an answer and Carnby says that's right in their area. Convenient, isn't it?
The lights flicker and die, so Carnby takes a handgun out of a nearby file cabinet (what?!) and hands it to Tara. Yeah, because assistant curators of natural history know how to target shoot with a semi-automatic. I know that sounds unnecessarily snarky, but you're giving a loaded weapon to Tara fucking Reid, a woman I wouldn't trust not to hurt herself with a stapler. She'll be a bigger menace to you than the demon dogs will. He tells Tara to stay put while he creeps around his own house aimlessly. He takes out his trusty revolver, not seeming to have any particular destination or goal in mind. Hey genius, here's an idea: try the super-duper assault rifle you got.
Some guy steps out to confront him. Carnby recognizes him as John, the missing guy from earlier in the movie. John snarls wordlessly and tries to strangle him. I like John already. Carnby plugs him with his gun, and one bullet in the stomach is apparently enough to put him down for the count. It took four bullets and impalement to stop Pinkerton, and John drops this easily? Weak. Two more zombies rush onto the scene, but Tara runs in and shoots them both. Still more zombies. Carnby dropkicks one and starts duking it out with more when a demon dog plows through the door. Now Carnby decides is a good time to crack out the heavy artillery and dashes to the Suitcase Of Weapons just in time to perforate the monster with his Blade bullets. The corpse cooperatively disintegrates into nothingness.
"I just killed John," Carnby says. The line is meant to carry a lot of personal horror and shock in that "my god, what have I done" way, but Slater gives it the same gravitas as "I just clogged my toilet."
The lights go out entirely now. Suddenly the movie kicks into an uncalled-for EXTREME ACTION MUSICAL MONTAGE!! We see dozens of unrelated shots of Christian, Tara, and various 713 agents firing every which way against their unseen attackers while a piteously bad Rob Zombie knockoff growls out something about the end of the world. It's impossible to tell how many there are on either side or who's winning, and even more impossible to care. The monsters can turn invisible at will, but for some reason they choose not to, allowing the agents to shoot them with impunity. When it's all over, the agents bring the lights back up and take stock of their dead and wounded. 713 HQ demands a body count, so one of them checks the bodies. He kneels down near one man and checks his pulse with his gloves on and moves on, obviously not detecting one. You wouldn't be able to find your own pulse wearing gloves like that, fuck turkey. I guess that paintball armor didn't work, eh?
Dorff comes in, desperately looking for someone to yell at. "God fucking damn it! Fuckballs and shit! Fucking fuckity fuck, I hate everything! Where the fuck is fucking Carnby?!" He draws a gun on Carnby and tells him to throw his weapon down; he knows Carnby is infected and he's going to take him in.
Carnby would be wise to obey the trigger-happy man with a gun, but instead he asks "C'mon, you really think I'm one of these creatures? What's the first thing they teach you at Bureau 713?" Um...if it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down?
"Trust your instincts!" Oh. But Dorff is having none of it. He repeats his ultimatum when suddenly more zombies attack. Carnby shoots one of the zombies just as it's about to tear Dorff's head off so they can share one of those manly across-the-battlefield nods that says "I don't like you, but damn it I respect you." Dorff and Carnby oddly eschew their firearms and wield antique spears which they use to impale the zombies. Why would they do that when not only do they have guns, they have guns specifically made to combat the monsters? God this is dumb.
I don't know why, but we cut to another squad of 713 agents traipsing around upstairs and not encountering a damn thing. The woman in command looks spooked at something off-camera and says "Where the hell's our backup?!" Who the fuck are you, lady? And why do you need backup? There's nothing, literally nothing up there! Go downstairs and help the guys who are actively under attack! You are the backup. Why would Uwe cut in the middle of a pitched battle to show us another group of people that's in no danger at all?? The incompetence here is just shocking. The characters say they're on the upper level when this is clearly a basement. The Miles character stops everything to tap the woman on the shoulder, points at his eyes, then gives a SWAT "let's go over there" motion with his hand. It's the only path through the room, you donut-puncher!! God DAMN it this movie makes we want to climb up in a bell tower with a rifle and take as many innocent people down to hell with me as I can.
Maybe I'm just not getting this movie. I think I need some more insight into Uwe Boll's vision and his filmmaking method. I think it's time for another exploration of...
The Quoteable Uwe Bowl (Part Four)
"This is a very dark, epic picture in the tradition of the Sergio Leone Westerns that blends the imaginative action of Hero and House of Flying Daggers."
"I always check out the reviews and what the people say and I am open for all kinds of discussions. It’s not like, that I give a shit what the fans say…"
"Edward [in the game] is not mysterious and does business as usual – which destroys his entire heroism – his entire reputation built up by the game, would be DESTROYED by this film. Edward has to be mysterious like in The Crow and Blade, he has to have special abilities and weapons and no normal BACKSTORY!!!"
"Actors don't have real value."
"Interview with a Vampire was lots of sex, so I'm not sure."
“Homer is the nice side of Al Bundy with the same intellect. I really like him and Al Bundy.”
"I think it was good that a woman wrote BloodRayne because it has that erotic lesbian but violent… It's a little like a bisexual touch that a vampire has basically.""Yes, I'm going tomorrow to the theater. Don't tell it to the people, they will chase me and track me down and kill me."
Actually, this does help a little.
Downstairs, several more agents are getting butchered by the hyper-zombies but they're soon brought down by 713's superior numbers and firepower. Miles runs downstairs and announces "Scanner's clear!" even though he was never looking at a scanner in the first place. The woman at HQ reports "all heat signatures motionless, you are clear." Thanks for the heads-up, control. You really helped us out by giving us all that advance warning that fifteen psycho flesh-eaters were about to ambush us.
Command announces that they've picked up "massive readings" in an abandoned gold mine "in your sector." I hate to use "air quotes" all the time but this phony Delta Force lingo is really twisting my balls. Dorff drags them along, telling them he'll brief them in the air. I can understand why you'd bring Carnby, being a former agent and all, but why would you want to bring a huge-breasted bimbo who's only known for being a dirty tramp?
Guess I sort of answered my own question, didn't I?
Dorff seems to be having a grand old time shouting out angry orders to slackers. "Set up a perimeter!" "Get more bodies down here now!" "I don't care what you have to do, just get it done!" "Go go go!" "Move it! Move it!" He asks HQ what kind of readings she's getting.
"Practically off the scale, commander!" she replies. Again with the scale. Reconfigure the scale, or buy a bigger one. And what does "practically off the scale" mean? Is it off the scale or not? It it's not, give me a fucking number.
The ever-trusty Sergeant Miles is waiting for them when they arrive. He's already got an impressive force arrayed at the entrance to the mine, including tanks, supplies, and an ammo dump. I think I even saw a dang catering table there. On such short notice that's impressive, especially considering he somehow beat them there from Carnby's place to do it, and they were riding directly there in a helicopter.
Tara manages to give her worst line reading of the movie (and that's fucking sad) by saying "It looks like we're going to war" with the exact same intonation as a six-year-old pointing at the sky and saying "oooh look at the pretty bird."
Carnby stands at the entrance to the mine and declares "This is where we need to go." Brilliant strategy, Patton. I'm thinking you're right. Dorff tells Miles to defend the perimeter And when you tell Miles to do something, you don't need to worry about it. It's done. That's how Miles rolls. He could have sent Miles in with some men to probe the mine, do a little sweep & clear, but you don't risk a resource as valuable as Miles on a bug hunt. But unfortunately 713 standards are quite low, and Miles is a breed apart from the normal foot soldier. Look at what he has to work with here, for five minutes (no kidding) we watch him struggle to maintain order at the perimeter and yell for status reports on the generator. Another soldier is testing the automatic turrets (not at all stolen from Aliens) using her own body to test the motion sensors. This scene is so long and so pointless it's like a built-in bathroom break. I'm typing this in real-time again, with literally nothing happening of substance on-screen.
Eventually we rejoin Dorff & The Gang, who have managed to get themselves lost in the mine. Bureau 713 is a crack intelligence agency but they forgot to bring a map of the mine. One of the 713 soldiers kneels down on the ground to inspect something when the ground collapses beneath him and he falls screaming into darkness. Everyone gathers around the yawning shaft and calls "Marco! Marco!"
I would piss my self laughing if he called back "Polo!"
Dorff shines his light down there to see that Marco has impaled himself on a half-dozen spikes, and he won't be rejoining us anytime soon. "We've gotta go down there," the Big D says. Um...you first.
Then the shit hits the fan. The monsters come rushing out of the mine to attack the agents. Fish stalks out of the shadows to grab the man fixing the generator and suicide bombs himself with one of his grenades. This knocks out the power and the lights. The monsters charge the perimeter and into the meat grinder Miles has set up. It's really easy given that the monsters have chosen not to be invisible, even though they could do so at any time. The direction here is all over the place, because the agents are firing in all directions. Half of them are wearing tinted visors in the middle of the night, and more of them are shooting at twenty degree angles above the horizon when the creatures are moving at ground level and have displayed no proficiency for flight or leaping. I guess Uwe just told them to shoot wherever the heck they felt like it while he rolled camera.
Dorff & The Gang climb down the shaft. They get about halfway when they activate a falling pillar trap that gives them plenty of time to climb down and get away from it. Had it just dropped four tons of stone on them, they'd all be dead and this movie would be over. But noooo, the Abkani had to design their ancient traps with a sense of fair play. They reach the bottom (where Marco and the spikes are nowhere to be seen) and tend to one of the soldiers who got wounded in the fall. Carnby looks at the walls, noting that they're comprised almost entirely of fossilized skulls and says "I don't think we're supposed to be here."
What gave it away, Ed, the ravenous shadow demons, the spiked pits, the horrible crushing stonework traps, or the walls made of human skulls? I can see you were a crack 713 agent. Must have set back the cause twenty years when you left.
Tara finds a large inscription on a stone and reads it aloud for them. "You guys, check it out!" Like, totally, you guys! She can sight-read Abkani from memory, guys. She's that good. "It's a warning. It says once you make it down here alive, you're already dead."
Oh come on. There is no way it says that. I have to believe the Abkani could come up with more meaningful threats than that. Why would they even bother putting up warnings in this place? It's a good thing we brought her along on this combat mission. We needed someone to hold the flashlight.
They're interrupted when the injured soldier on the ground screams in agony. A black wormy thing lashes up from the sand and bites her in the leg. More of them start to leap out and attack, but Carnby and the others manage to repel them by firing wildly into the ground. Dorff checks on the woman and pronounces her dead. She was killed from a bite to the leg? How did she manage to pass the physical?
Things are taking a turn for the worse back at the perimeter. Despite the masterful coordination by Miles, the perimeter collapses and they lose all communications. Gee, you'd think after spending two years fighting an enemy that can disrupt electronics they'd have figured this stuff out by now. Guess not. When we rejoin them there aren't many left except a chubby 713 agent who looks like the Maytag repairman (and he gets torn in half immediately), Miles, and the red-headed chick from House of the Dead. You know, the "master swordsman?" She tells Miles that everyone else is dead. Miles looks grim and grabs up his rifle. He tells her to seek higher ground while he settles this himself. Yeah! Get 'em, Miles! Show 'em how we do things downtown!
Back in the mine Carnby leads the group through a tunnel when they discover that it's been walled up with cinder blocks. "I don't think we're the first people down here," he speculates.
I am this close to breaking this fucking DVD over my knee this instant, you have no idea. I don't have any sarcasm left for lines this stupid. You guys fill in the blanks.
Miles is standing tall amidst the dark tide, gunning down all comers! Fuck 'em up, Miles! You the MAN! Eventually he defeats them all and goes to join Redheaded Cameo Woman. But when he gets up to her hiding place, he discovers that she's had her head split open like a cantaloupe and she's still spasming helplessly. This is why you should always wear your Whammo paintball helmet when on a combat mission. Run, Miles! Get out of there! Dude, you have a TANK! Climb in the tank and bury this place! He turns around and looks into the toothy maw of one of the monsters! He turns to run and sees another one right behind him! No! Miles! Damn it, nooo!
I need a minute to compose myself. I had really grown attached to Miles. I felt like I had a kinship with him. I'll be right back. In the meantime, please enjoy our final look at the man, the mystery that is...
The Quoteable Uwe Bowl (Part Five)
"We will use all weapons and we have big, very big action sequences. We have also a massacre in a big slaughterhouse with chainsaws."
"Cutting or shooting people in pieces is defiantly one of my strong sides as a director."
"We are doing the biggest massacre in the movie right now, so we have five knights in this monastery in Romania right now and a huge battle with like one shot after another where people get killed or cut and half and stuff."
"If you think that House of the Dead is shit you are right in a way because it is cheesy but you are wrong in a lot of ways."
"Our Zombies here will be even more screwed up."
“Why? I always wanted to f*** Jennifer Aniston. Now is the chance -- hopefully – maybe.”
"The good thing is, in the 1700's, nobody says f***. So the language, we have no problem."
"I like that it's actually not one-dimensional...he has to find out something about himself. Also, [along the way], he battles the creature.""We have a hot sex scene."
Dorff blows up the wall and inside they find a run-down laboratory, the very same place in Carnby's mysterious past where Hudgens stuck a metal millipede up his ass. Carnby says that it was Bureau 713 who was responsible for this, and this shocks Dorff right to the core. This is his big moment to act. "We been trying to stop something that they created!" Yeah, but I don't really see why they created it. Was it some kind of government program to make zombies? How was this experiment supposed to benefit anyone?
For those of you keeping tabs, Tara is helpfully holding the flashlight.
Dorff throws some papers around the room. "My guys are dyin' up there for nothin'!! FOR FUCKING NOTHING!!" He shows how really angry he is by TIPPING OVER A TABLE! Look out! That's some serious acting! "ARRGH! GODDAMN IT!!"
Tara finds another mysterious ancient doorway at the other end of the room and helpfully aims the flashlight while they inspect it. Carnby immediately figures out that the artifact they've been dragging around the whole movie is the key. But Tara stops him from using it. "Some doors are meant to stay shut," she says gravely. Um, what? Shut the fuck up and hold the flashlight, bitch. This is man-talk now.
Dorff asks what Carnby wants to do, so for a moment he struggles with the decision, and then puts away the key. "I say we trust the Abkani!"
So you came all this way to not open the door? What the hell is the point of this whole trip then?
Hudgens rushes into the room with an assault rifle and blows away the only surviving soldier. He tells the others two drop their weapons and gives them the requisite Scooby villain speech about how his plan would have gone off perfectly if it hadn't been for you meddling kids. He takes the key away from them and unlocks the door just as Dorff reaches back and throws a knife underhand into Hudgens' chest. Hudgens starts firing his rifle into the air and is screaming before the knife even hits him and he sags to the ground, rubbing his nipple in an attempt to get to second base with himself as he dies. This is one of the most hilarious things I've seen since I saw Steven Seagal slap a guy across a room.
You just can't top that.
Check out Dorff's face when he chucks that knife. He really sells it. He's got this badass sneer on his face when he zings that blade into the old man's chest that says "Choke on DEEZ nuts!!"
Anyway the super-secret Abkani door opens, revealing a gargantuan cavern swarming with millions of the shadow monsters. Carnby and the others very...slowly...back out...and close the door behind them once Dorff leaves a satchel charge inside. They flee back out of the cave and find a ladder (isn't that convenient), but Dorff notices that his radio detonator won't work. He tells the others to go on; he's going back to finish this once and for all! (Redemptive Sacrifice in 3...2...1...) He goes back and gets the bomb, about twenty kilos of plastic explosive. He sets a five second timer (?!?!) and makes a run for it. Five seconds with that much C4 behind you? Dude, get a grip on yourself. You could have set any time you wanted and run for it. Oh, I don't know...five MINUTES? Well, it turns out that Steven gets a reality check about how fast he can run five seconds later.
Carnby climbs the ladder and runs into a heavy shutter. He shoots it open and opens the hatch. They emerge into broad daylight when we just saw an establishing shot not two minutes ago that showed us it was the dead of night. They're right outside the orphanage, which Carnby seems to think is poignant. I don't really see the irony. Seems kind of contrived to me.
They go inside the orphanage and find the nun prone on the floor in a pool of her own blood, her wrists slashed. They've forgotten to add the gray streaks to her hair, but that's not even considering the ludicrous notion that a nun would commit suicide, a mortal sin. They go back to the city to find it completely abandoned, yet there are no signs of chaos, rioting, or violence of any kind. Most of the cars are still parked neatly on the side of the road! We can even see the inside of 713 HQ, where there are chairs strewn everywhere but certainly no signs of casualties. The Tom Clancy bleeping subtitle explains that this is 8:45 A.M., and the city has been evacuated. In six hours?? Every man, woman, and child removed from LOS ANGELES in four hours with no signs of chaos or unrest.
Oh, and if this is California, there sure are a lot of Canadian public mailboxes around. I also never knew there was a Bank of Montreal building in California.
Thankfully Carnby blesses us with one final narration:
"The gate was closed again. But like the Abkani discovered, there's a price to pay for bringing the darkness into the light. The Abkani people were wiped off the face of the earth. And now...it looks like it's happening all over again."
Uwe manages to rip off a few more movies in rapid fire: wandering around a post-apocalyptic city (28 Days Later) at the end of the movie (Resident Evil) and the last scene is a POV monster rushing up from behind the hero (The Evil Dead). Boll describes this ending as "Lynchian." I'd use one of my vomit pictures, but I promised I wouldn't do that anymore.
I was just about to wrap up my movie coverage when suddenly the credits began and one of the most aggressively bad rock anthems I've ever heard started blasting through my speakers. That makes the third time I've almost fallen out of my chair laughing. How do I best describe this song? It's...it's like Rammstein crossed with Pat Benetar trying to emulate Europe's "The Final Countdown."
You know what? Just listen to it. Trust me, it's worth it. I can think of few better ways to lead out a review of one of the worst movies of all time than listening to Nightwish's "Wish I Had An Angel."
Until next time, gentle readers, tremble in anticipation for my return, because...