When I first saw trailers for Alone in the Dark I was confused because I had heard that it was based on the classic video game series of the same name yet the footage being shown didn’t look anything like the games I remembered.
In the game you played as a Victorian-era private eye named Edward Carnby who is investigating a series of disappearances and odd deaths that eventually leads you into confronting supernatural horrors inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. This was the game that launched the genre which would later provide us with classics such as the Resident Evil and Silent Hill series of survival horror games. For a game that was released in 1992 it still holds up pretty well today despite the dated 3D graphics and it’s considered a true classic by fans of the genre.
Last Friday the movie was released to a rousing chorus of amazingly negative reviews—it’s currently holding a 2% freshness rating at RottenTomatoes.com—and if you take a look at the screen shot in the upper right here you can probably figure out why. Granted, I’m no authority, but that doesn’t look all that Victorian-era to me. Christian Slater’s character is named Edward Carnby, but that’s about all that this movie and the original video game have in common. What the hell happened? Uwe Boll is what. Probably the most inept director ever to be allowed to make a movie. The folks over at Something Awful have an article from one of the original scriptwriters that was hired to translate the game to the big screen:
We knew we were in a terrible situation, and had written a script that was only going to confuse this poor guy. He kept asking us why the character in our script “Alone in the Dark,” Edward Carnby, didn’t have any special powers to battle monsters. We explained that the story revolved around suspense and a believable detective, based off the game. He replied by telling us he wanted to blatantly rip-off characters, as well as the tone of the films “Blade” and “The Crow.” Here are some actual quotes from e-mails directly from the cinematic mastermind Uwe Boll himself in 2002:
Edward 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!!!
What isn’t much use are grave things: the dialogue, Edward’s Character and the story per se. IT IS GOOD THAT H IS NOT A SUPERNATURAL SUPERHERO – BUT HE CANNOT BE ALSO TOO NORMAL – HE IS A LONELY HERO.
You don’t have big screenplay experience and after my bad experience on House Of Dead, I need a Top Script now. Your first script wasn’t that. I want to be scared, intelligent, not boring, packed and surprising at the end.
He wanted us to add “big gun battles” and “car chases.” You know, all the things that make horror movies scary, particularly movies that revolve around suspense. We kept arguing with him about how to actually tell a scary story, as it became apparent he had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. A big point of contention was the monsters; he wanted tons of big, slimy, dog-looking CG monsters all over the story, while we kept repeating it was far scarier to keep them in the dark – hey, what do you know, kinda like the title – and build suspense. We tried to use the (at the time) recent film “Signs” to explain this to him, but everything seemed to bounce right off the guy. Boll then went off on a rant that should rank as one of the most confusing arguments ever in history.
Go read the rant. It’ll leave you scratching your head and wondering how the hell this man was allowed to film anything with a budget bigger than his niece’s birthday party. Movies made from video games already have a hard enough time being semi-decent without an idiot like this at the helm, but sadly he’s set to do even more damage as he’s just finished filming on the movie adaptation of Bloodrayne and is set to film Hunter: The Reckoning and Far Cry unless someone comes to their senses and kills him before he can get behind the camera again.