Well as I mentioned in my House of the Dead review, the two films I'm reviewing today are special because they both had Director's Cut's which drastically altered my opinion on the original film. While one got exponentially better, one got worse. This is the former of the two.
Alone in the Dark is Uwe Boll's second dive into the world of video game based films. After the horrendous but laughably bad House of the Dead, you'd think he'd improve right? Well not exactly. On top of being based on a video game series whose plot changes with every game (thus making it hard to predict what exactly is going on), Uwe got his hands on the script. Originally it was going to be more of a straight up horror film with little action. Well Uwe didn't want that and he didn't think people would want that either so him and his team changed the script to be more action based and based more on The New Nightmare instead of any of the games in the series. New Nightmare was more action oriented then the other games in the series.
The film follows the story of paranormal investigator Edward Carnby. Edward was an orphan raised at an orphanage. He lost his memory when he was ten and soon afterward joined Bureau 713, getting a job as a paranormal investigator all the while trying to figure out his past. Currently Edward is working on the disappearance of the Abkani tribe, an ancient race which disappeared suddenly but left clues for people to find. He enlists the help of his archaeologist ex-girlfriend Aline to try and find out what happened to them. While all this is happening, Lionel Hudgins, the professor who was the cause behind Edward's memory loss, breaks open an old Abkani tomb which unleashes an evil demon spawn upon the world. On top of that, people who were experimented on by Hudgens as kids (aka the people in Edward's orphanage) are now possessed by the Abkani and sent to kill and destroy those who try to stop the Abkani.
The story could have been a decent action thriller if not for the piss poor pacing, the awkward sex scene, the terrible acting across the board, the lack of gore, the lack of any seeable action (it's all in the dark mostly), the lack of demon showing, the exposition padding, and the giant plot holes. All of that makes this a film SO bad that it deserves to be punted off a cliff. I was never a fan of the video game series but man this film had so much wrong with it.
MY VERDICT: ABOMINATION TO CINEMA
This wasn't any ordinary Director's Cut though. No this was a revamped, unrated Director's Cut. So what's different? Well Tara Reid (Aline) is cut out almost completely and all the excess scenes with her (including the sex scene) are gone. Also most of the pacing issues have been taking care of. And they added some awesome and gory fight scenes with the demons. The acting is still bad but now more tolerable than before, mostly due to a better pacing and Tara's almost absence. I mean Slater and Dorff aren't Academy Award winning actors but you can tell, especially in this version, that they're actually trying...something neither of them have done since. It's almost as if Uwe Boll realized he had made a bad film and fixed what he could with it.
It's still not a great film but this version has better action, better effects, gets rid of a lot of my plot and acting gripes and is definitely a mindless guilty pleasure.
MY VERDICT: RENT IT