Ginger Nuts of Horror
You will probably groan and wish death on yourself when you hear the line ‘I’ve got a feeling this is just the beginning’, because you’ve been praying for the end of the film since the first second of it
A quick refresher for those of you who are new to this page – I’m Kayleigh and I once boasted that I love horror more than anyone else. I claimed that I love it so much that I can find merit in any horror film, no matter how terrible it might seem. So this is how it works – you suggest a film and I review it for you. If I can’t find good things to say, then you win and I’ll send you presents. As of yet, I am undefeated, mwahaha! Ahem, on with the review…
Thank you for this one, Adrian Shotbolt. Alone in the Dark (directed by Uwe Boll, 2005), is a movie adaptation of the game series of the same name. However, despite featuring a couple of the same characters, the movie serves as neither a sequel to the games, nor a ‘film version’. It bears very little resemblance at all actually, which might be why, in 2008, the Guinness World Records immortalised it with the title of “Lowest-Grossing Game Based Movie”. Ouch.
Sure, on first glance, this film appears to be a colossal piece of cinematic trash. You might watch it and think ‘well those are huge plot holes’. You will probably groan and wish death on yourself when you hear the line ‘I’ve got a feeling this is just the beginning’, because you’ve been praying for the end of the film since the first second of it. But you’re failing to recognise this film, this utterly genius film, for what it really is – the longest advertisement for everything cool you’ve forgotten about.
Now, a lot of people described this film is a huge rip-off of a thousand other things, but it isn’t a rip-off at all. It’s definitely not. Not even when there’s a shot in it that’s totally identical to when the fully-grown Xenomorph first appears in Alien. No, fellow horror nutters, what Uwe Boll has so cleverly made is the world’s longest advert. This film hits us with reminder after reminder of awesome things we probably haven’t enjoyed in a while, things we might have totally forgotten about. Boll clearly wants us to remember these awesome horror creations so that we might re-immerse ourselves in them, thus adding to the enjoyment of our lives. Gee, thanks Uwe!
In no particular order (because I’m reading my notes in quite the higgledy-piggledy fashion), this gigantic advert to awesomeness goes as follows:
Advert 1) Christian Slater, Tara Reid, and Stephen Dorff. We haven’t seen these folk for a while, so we should be grateful that Boll has lumped them all together for us. Their very presence reminds us of other cool horror films they’ve all been in. Slater featured in Interview with the Vampire - a vampire film that actually doesn’t suck. Stephen Dorff played Frost in Blade, possibly one of the coolest villains in one of the coolest films ever. And Tara Reid… erm… come on, think! Ah! Yes, of course, she was in Urban Legend, one of the more fun slasher flicks of the 90’s.
And on that topic, Stephen Dorff. I effing love the Dorff, mmm-mmm. That’s a fine slice of gorgeous pie right there.
Advert 2) Alone in the Dark – the game series, and other survival horrors. Crowned the “First Ever 3D Survival Horror Game” by Guinness World Records, we can basically thank the original game for paving the way for things like Resident Evil and Silent Hill. A film adaptation of the game, this movie clearly serves as a suggestion to backtrack through our retro consoles and rediscover our love of games that make us crap ourselves, particularly Alone in the Dark.
The film combines the survival horror aspect of the first game with the more action-based aspects of the second one. The amount of gunfire in this film makes you feel like you’re in a constant boss battle, particularly in the scene that’s actually shot in the dark like a scary-as-shit game sequence. Sort of like when one of those dogs is after you in Res. Evil. It’s nighttime so you can’t really see anything but you can hear the little f***er coming.
This film actually made me want to plug my PlayStation 1 in and dig out all those games that I’m still too scared to play alone.
Advert 3) The Alien film franchise. You just can’t help but think of it. Firstly, Dorff’s character is called Richard Burke, a clear nod to Aliens’ Carter Burke (though Dorff’s Burke is much less of a... well.. burke). Additionally, the creature design is influenced by the work of H. R. Giger, whose most famous creation is, in fact, the Xenomorph. Though the monster effects in this film are most definitely inferior to the sheer triumph of the monster effects in the Alien franchise, the resemblance is an obvious homage. I’ve read many reviews that cited the monsters in this film as total rip-offs of the Xenomorph, and that ignorance is actually a little irritating. Giger’s influence on the creature design goes as far back as the Alone game series does, and in the film, serves as a nod to those shit-scary aliens, rather than being a bunch of wailing copycats.
Advert 4) Star Wars. The film begins with text scroll explaining the back-story. Of course, if you see scrolling text, you’re going to think ‘Star Wars’ (hopefully the original trio, if you have any sense). Boll’s use of the force (of advertising) worked on me here, because I paused the film and immediately ordered the Star Wars box set.
Advert 5) Bruce Lee. Near the start of the film, Slater engages in a huge, elaborate fight scene with a seemingly invincible bald dude wearing shades. There are martial arts. There’s a conveyer belt with fish in a bucket at the end, situated in an inexplicable oriental market. They use chains to fight and everything. Clearly, this scene is a message for us to immediately watch every film that Bruce Lee was in. I think Uwe Boll even wants us to go one further and spread the word of the Lee legend to the younger generations who aren’t fully aware of how awesome he was. Also, Kung Fu Panda.
Advert 6) The Conjuring, which, if you haven’t seen it, is actually a really decent modern ghost movie. Boll directs us to The Conjuring when Slater mentions that he’s a paranormal investigator. In The Conjuring, there are paranormal investigators. The link is clear as day.
Advert 7) Light Bulbs. There are lots of scenes featuring the lights flickering. In the film, this indicates that the monsters are near, and Boll uses this trick a lot. Some, in other reviews, said he used it too much, excessively even. I can’t believe how ungrateful people are – Boll was obviously just trying to remind us all to pay the electric bill and ensure we have a plentiful stash of light bulbs available.
Advert 8) Tomb Raider. Because everyone in this film is obsessed with ancient artifacts… duh.
Advert 9) Any film featuring parasites, or mind control. Because there are these weird, spinal chord-hugging parasite things controlling the minds and nervous systems of those infected. Hello The Faculty, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and Sex and the City’s Mr. Big.
Advert 10) Twilight. Slater does several seemingly pointless, monotone voice-overs talking us through what we can see on our screens, much like Bella Swan does. I’ll admit that it’s unclear to me why Boll would want to remind us of Twilight though.
Advert 11) ZOMBIES! Remember the people controlled by parasites I mentioned a few paragraphs back? Well, at first they just look like regular people, but later on, they actually look like zombies. If you haven’t realised that Alone in the Dark is a feature-length commercial, this won’t make any sense at all. Why are they pale and bitey all of a sudden, you might ask? However, clearly, Boll just wants you to go ahead and watch every zombie film ever made. Because zombies are the best.
Advert 12) Safe sex. In what appears to be a totally pointless sex scene, we see Slater and Reid roll around, all passionate and that. But wait! They don’t use a condom! It’s reasonable to assume that Boll knew full well that a load of girls would want to make all the love after viewing this film, because as I mentioned earlier, Dorff’s in it. He puts thoughts into the mind, you see. I’d imagine he’s probably the result of plenty of unintentional pregnancies. Not that women ever get turned on by, and think about, anyone who isn’t their current partner during giggidy time. Anyway, Boll obviously knew that the sight of Dorff would lead to a ‘Netflix and Chill’ moment, so he threw in this careless scene between Reid and Slater to remind us all to not be fools, and wrap our tools.
Advert 13) Tremors. There’s a little worm-alien-creature with super sharp teeth that kills a woman to death. It looks just like a baby version of a graboid! If you haven’t seen Tremors, go watch it this instant, just as Boll intended.
Advert 14) Parasite Eve 2. In a scene near the end of the film, this cute, snazzy little soundtrack kicks in, and it’s totally reminiscent of the creepy music in Parasite Eve 2 when you go into the underground research facility. That game is awesome, and Boll wants you to dig it out of that box in your attic and share the joy of it with your children, who are too young to have ever heard of it.
Advert 15) The Descent. There’s a huge underground cave full of monsters so the reference is obvious. If you haven’t seen The Descent, please do, you’ll dig it.
So there you have it! I know that a review usually includes an overview of the plot, so just to be clear – there isn’t one. That’s why I haven’t followed the usual format. Like I said, this film is an extended advert for other cool things.
I’ll leave you now so that you can rush out to watch and play all those blasts from the pasts. I’m going to continue building my Stephen Dorff shrine.
Shotbolt, this was way too easy!
Happy horror..ing. Until next time!
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