As paranormal investigator Edward Carnby (Christian Slater) sleeps on an aeroplane, he recalls his childhood of which he has little memory before the age of ten. He was an orphan, and one night the nineteen other orphans in the children's home were taken somewhere while Edward escaped and hid in a power plant. Now he is taking an ancient artefact to a museum, an artefact which has some connection to a long died out race who pushed the boundaries of human knowledge thousands of years ago. But when he gets into the taxi to take him there, he notices that he is being followed - someone wants to get their hands on the museum's property, and badly.
Oh, how badly. Really, really badly. Pretty terrible in fact. There have been a lot of unkind things said about director Uwe Boll, who specialises in big screen adaptation of computer games, of which Alone in the Dark is one. Some are of the opinion he is the modern day, German Edward D. Wood Jr, only with a greater effects budget and lesser entertainment value, others say he is only around to make Paul W.S. Anderson look good, and there are those who go as far as to believe his films are specially designed as tax losses for big Hollywood studios. This film, scripted by Elan Mastai, Michael Roesch and Peter Scheerer, does little to counter those views.
Yes, it actually took three people to write a movie that was based on a computer game, and watching it you might well have preferred to see someone playing the game instead. It opens with a car chase, followed by a fight to the death with a large, bald man in sunglasses who puts Slater through his action paces, but as the story is barely coherent what the homicidal gentleman has to do with the rest of the film is anyone's guess. Edward finally makes it to the museum with his artefact, and hands it over to archaeologist Aline Cedrac (Tara Reid) - we know she's a clever sort because she wears glasses.
And naturally, she takes the glasses off at the earliest opportunity, as you can't have someone who wears spectacles in one of those action scenes, can you? They'd fly off or something. Anyway, Aline's boss is Dr Hudgens (Mathew Walker) who is not all he seems, as it was his idea to do whatever they did to the orphans all those years ago, and presently he is on a ship with a large container (which is ancient as well of course). His cohort double crosses him and opens the box, leading everyone on the ship to be killed by what's inside apart from Hudgens, and the now grown up orphans to abruptly leave their lives behind and turn into murderous zombies.
The reason they do this is due to an old movie favourite: ladies and gentlemen, your applause please for the return of The Tingler! Or something like it. And not only are there zombies but also computer generated monsters roving around the night, which look exactly as scary as a baddie taken from a game, with no weight or presence. Every time Edward and Aline are placed in jeopardy, a heavily armed squad from the mysterious government squad Bureau 713, headed by Commander Burke (Stephen Dorff) arrive and the amount of machine gun fire in this film makes Rambo look like Ghandi. It ends in a straight lift from Resident Evil, and with Slater and Reid looking numb throughout (their extremely perfunctory love scene notably fails to generate any heat) you're left with a film that epitomises the emptiness of the action horror genre of the 2000s.