The film was a critical and commercial failure, and is widely considered one of the worst films ever made. Despite this, a sequel was released in 2008.
Edward Carnby (Slater) is a detective who specializes in the occult and other paranormal subjects. He was apparently the subject of strange experiments when he was a child, leaving him with heightened abilities as well as a "sixth sense" that allows him to sense the paranormal. Throughout the film, we also learn that Carnby used to work for Bureau 713, a secret government organization that seeks to protect the world from paranormal dangers.
In his spare time, Carnby investigates the disappearance of the Abkani, an ancient Mayan-like civilization that worshipped demonic creatures from another dimension. Central to the plot are several artifacts un-earthed in 1967 and now on display at the city's Museum of Natural History, at which Carnby's girlfriend Aline (Reid) is the assistant curator. Carnby soon finds himself investigating the very scientist who conducted experiments on him as a child, while working with Aline and former protégé (now rival) Commander Burke, his replacement at Bureau 713, to stop an invasion of the Alien-like demonic creatures who are pouring through a portal opened by the Abkani artifacts.Christian Slater as Edward Carnby: Raised at an orphanage under Sister Clara, Carnby lost his memory when he was ten years old. At twenty, he was recruited by Bureau 713, gaining knowledge on the paranormal soon after. His current assignment is investigating his past along with researching the disappearance of the Abkani. Due to the experiments conducted on him as a child, he has the ability to sense paranormal activity and has increased strength and speed, which allow him to perform acrobatic moves that a normal human could not do.
Dustyn Arthurs as Young Edward
Tara Reid as Aline Cedrac, an archaeologist and museum curator; Edward's girlfriend who knows about the Abkani and their culture.
Stephen Dorff as Commander Richard Burke, the Commander of Bureau 713, formerly worked under Carnby's direction.
Frank C. Turner as Agent Fischer, the head of the medical unit of Bureau 713; he is one of Carnby's few trusted allies and friends.
Matthew Walker as Professor Lionel Hudgens
Will Sanderson as Agent Miles
Mike Dopud as Agent Turner; he is killed by Fischer while working on a power generator
Francoise Yip as Agent Cheung
Mark Acheson as Captain Chernick
Darren Shahlavi as John Dillon
Karin Konoval as Sister Clara, owner of the orphanage which cared for Edward. In the '80s, she was persuaded by Hudgens to allow experiments on the orphans. She keeps this secret from everyone but is inwardly guilty for her immoral actions.
Ed Anders as James Pinkerton, a former Agent of Bureau 713 who went missing in action in the 1980s. He and Hudgens were in charge of the investigation of the disappearance of gold-miners at Brutan Goldmine. Pinkerton became an experiment for Hudgens, who attached a Xenos creature to his spine. His abilities included increased awareness, strength, speed and willpower.
Brendan Fletcher as Cab driver
In the film and the games, the lead protagonist is named Edward Carnby.
The game version of Alone in the Dark features an ending that takes place on the morning after and is open-ended, showing a mysterious cab driver pick up Edward Carnby or Emily Hartwood and whose destination is unknown. The film version also offers an ending which takes place in the morning when something mysteriously startles Edward Carnby and Aline Cedrac.
Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare mentions Edward Carnby as part of a paranormal agency known as Bureau 713. The film version goes into greater detail as this is part of the focus of the film.
Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare and the film both feature creatures that thrive in the darkness, have invisibility and can be harmed by light and electricity. In the film, these creatures are known as Xenos.
The film version features a storyline with elements found in the games. The kidnapping of the orphaned children in the film is similar to the kidnapping of Grace Saunders from Alone in the Dark 2. The disappearance of the orphans is similar to the disappearance of Detective Ted Striker from Alone in the Dark II. The closing of the gateway of darkness storyline from the film is similar to Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare which requires the protagonists to close a gateway of darkness. The film version also features a scientist doing experiments on people which is similar to Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare.
The movie, though, has almost no connections to the original three games, which never featured aliens but mystical ghostly threats and mostly took place in abandoned mansions or towns. Also in contrast to the games which were more about suspension horror and required the player to run away or hide from the monsters, fight being only last resort, here the creatures and possessed humans can easily be killed, and the movie has long action sequences.
Blair Erickson came up with the first drafts of the script for Alone in the Dark. According to Erickson, Uwe Boll changed the script to be more action packed than a thriller. Erickson stated his disgust and his working relationship towards Boll on Somethingawful.com.
The original script took the Alone In the Dark premise and depicted it as if it were actually based on a true story of a private investigator in the northeastern U.S. whose missing persons cases begin to uncover a disturbing paranormal secret. It was told through the eyes of a writer following Edward Carnby and his co-worker for a novel, and depicted them as real-life blue-collar folks who never expected to find hideous beings waiting for them in the dark. We tried to stick close to the H. P. Lovecraft style and the low-tech nature of the original game, always keeping the horror in the shadows so you never saw what was coming for them.
Thankfully Dr. Boll was able to hire his loyal team of hacks to crank out something much better than our crappy story and add in all sorts of terrifying horror movie essentials like opening gateways to alternate dimensions, bimbo blonde archaeologists, sex scenes, mad scientists, slimy dog monsters, special army forces designed to battle slimy CG dog monsters, Tara Reid, "Matrix" slow-motion gun battles, and car chases. Oh yeah, and a ten-minute opening back story scroll read aloud to the illiterate audience, the only people able to successfully miss all the negative reviews. I mean hell, Boll knows that's where the real scares lie.
The film was released on DVD on May 10, 2005. An Unrated Director's Cut was released in Germany, France, and Australia and was #1 on the German DVD market for three weeks. It was released on DVD in North America on 25 September 2007. In the newest version of the film, the sex scene between Carnby and Aline has been removed.
Originally, the film version of Alone in the Dark was to be released with Alone in the Dark 5, the fifth title in the series; however, the creators of Alone in the Dark, Eden Games, delayed the game and reworked it entirely from scratch. This appears to be one of the causes for the public backlash from gamers on how the film version of Alone in the Dark appeared to deviate from the Alone in the Dark game franchise save for the fact that the film was in some ways a sequel to Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare. Uwe Boll stated his disappointment on the region 1 DVD commentary but also said that Atari had face shots of Christian Slater for the newest game - Alone in the Dark 5, which was released on June 26, 2008.
Alone in the Dark grossed $2,834,421 in its opening weekend, ranking at #12; by the end of its run, the film had grossed $10,442,808 and was a box office bomb, considering its $20 million budget.
Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a rating of 1% based on 117 reviews, and the site's Critical Consensus reads, "Inept on almost every level, Alone in the Dark may not work as a thriller, but it's good for some head-slapping, incredulous laughter." At Metacritic, it has a score of 9/100. Many reviewers harshly criticized the awful acting, several plot holes, a near complete lack of connection to the video games, and the poor quality of the special effects. Numerous editing mistakes were also highlighted, such as a scene showing a female soldier killed, only for her to lift her head once the camera crew moves away. Several also slammed the long introduction text. Scott Brown of Entertainment Weekly gave the film an F grade, commenting that the film was "so bad it's postmodern."
In one of the film's only positive reviews, Michelle Alexandria of Eclipse Magazine wrote "Alone in the Dark isn't going to set the world on fire, but it largely succeeds with what it has to work with. Just don't take it seriously and you'll have a fun time."
The 2-disc soundtrack was released by Nuclear Blast, with Wolfgang Herold as executive producer. The German band Solution Coma's contribution was the title song. Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish had a music video of "Wish I Had an Angel" directed by Uwe Boll, with clips from the film.Disc 1
- Dimmu Borgir - Vredesbyrd
- Shadows Fall - What Drives the Weak
- Fear Factory - Cyberwaste
- In Flames - Touch of Red
- Strapping Young Lad - Devour
- Agnostic Front - Peace
- God Forbid - Gone Forever
- Chimaira - Down Again
- Dark Tranquillity - Lost to Apathy
- Exodus - Blacklist
- Machine Head - Imperium
- Soilwork - Stabbing the Drama
- Lacuna Coil - Daylight Dancer
- The Dillinger Escape Plan - Panasonic Youth
- Meshuggah - Rational Gaze
- Nightwish - Wish I Had an Angel
- Cradle of Filth - Mother of Abominations
- Powerman 5000 - The End Of Everything
- Ministry - The Light Pours Out Of Me
- Arch Enemy - Dead Eyes See No Future
- Death Angel - The Devil Incarnate
- Diecast - Medieval
- Fireball Ministry - Daughter of the Damned
- Heaven Shall Burn - The Weapon They Fear
- Hypocrisy - Eraser
- Mastodon - Blood and Thunder
- Misery Index - The Great Depression
- Mnemic - Ghost
- Dew-Scented - Slaughtervain
- Suffocation - Souls to Deny
- Raunchy - Watch Out
- Kataklysm - As I Slither
- Bloodbath - Outnumbering the Day
- All Shall Perish - Deconstruction
- Bleed the Sky - Minion
- Samael - On Earth
- Dying Fetus - One Shot, One Kill
- The Haunted - 99
- Deathstars - Synthetic Generation