Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Episode 13

Boogeyman - As a child Tim (played by Skeet Ulrich look alike Barry Watson) lived in fear that there was something in his bedroom closet that was going to get him. Then one night Tim's father went into the closet to prove that there was nothing inside, and it got him instead. With the general populace convinced that Tim's father had just run off, abandoning his wife and son, Tim lived a life of fear and uncertainty with no one to turn to. Years later, when Tim's mother dies, he is forced to go back to the house he grew up in to retrieve her belongings, and at the behest of his childhood psychologist, decides to spend a night in the house to put his fears to rest. It isn't long before he begins hearing strange noises and everyone he cares about begins disappearing. Boogeyman. How many people told me that this movie was terrible? A few. Was it because of these low expectations I then had that I didn't hate Boogeyman? Possibly. Yes, it's true. I didn't think Boogeyman was terribly bad. I'm sure I lost a lot of people's respect by admitting that, but it's true. The special effects were quite bad and it fell victim to all of the problems that horror movies tend to have, but in my eyes Boogeyman, like many other films, was saved by a good premise. How good could the concept behind a movie called Boogeyman be, you ask? Well everyone has heard the clich.. idea of monsters hiding under the bed and in the closet, but what if someone based a story on these concepts that wasn't supposed to be silly and stereotypical, but instead realistic and frightening? That's what Boogeyman had going for it. Within the hour and a half that the movie Boogeyman takes place, a dark closet left open just a crack becomes a feasible source of fear. Taking the tired notion that evil lurks in dark corners of the very place that you feel most safe and tweaking it to turn it into a higher concept is exactly what made the movie Monsters, Inc. work so well, and that's exactly what Boogeyman does, just in the opposite direction. However, it didn't help the movie that the title character looks more than a little like this guy. Also of note is that Lucy Lawless is in the movie, but she looks like a scrawny wuss, which is why I didn't even realize it was her until the end credits. I guess I'm used to seeing her in her Xena garb. Don't take that the wrong way, though. I've never seen a single episode of Xena: Warrior Princess. Honest.

Alone In The Dark - When Edward Carnby (Christian Slater) was a child he lived a small orphanage. Unfortunately for the twenty orphans at this particular orphanage, a crazy old archaeologist who worked for a secret government agency was performing experiments on them and implanting strange creatures in them which fused with their spines giving them dormant monstrous instincts. Unlike the other children though, Edward ran away one night and hid in an electric generator, accidentally electrocuting himself, which succeeded in killing the creature attached to his spine, making him harmless. All grown up, Carnby joined the same secret government agency that he was unknowingly experimented upon by. However, he soon got kicked out of the agency because of his failure to follow protocol, and instead went on to become a freelance paranormal investigator (for those paying attention, that's what the Ghostbusters referred to themselves as). After years of searching for clues to his past (having lost his memory at some point...presumably when he was electrocuted?), Edward has discovered the last piece of an ancient Abskani (a fictional extinct tribe of indians) artifact that could lead to the answers he's been searching for. But does he really want to know the answers to the questions he's had for so long? Okay...give me a minute here...okay, I'm ready. Alone In The Dark didn't make a damn bit of sense. I tried my best to follow the plot, but by the end I just gave up and watched the sub-par CGI monsters kill people. The movie opens with some text and a voice telling the viewer about some indians who let loose an ancient evil or something, and because of this they all disappeared. Then we get tossed almost immediately into a fight scene with bullet time and a guy who seemingly can't be killed no matter how many times Christian Slater kicks him in the chest. As it turns out, Slater was protecting a piece of an ancient artifact which I (along with everyone else who saw the movie, most likely) immediately guessed was going to turn out to be a key of some kind. He hooks up with his museum curator girlfriend Tara Reid, and they use a computer to study the artifact. Before long, very fake-looking monsters (called "xeno's" for some reason) who can turn invisible (probably so they could save some money by not showing them all the time, even when they're attacking people) show up, which leads Christian Slater to a reunion with his old rival from Bureau 713, Stephen Dorff. Now, allow me a quick aside here. Everyone seen Hellboy? Good. The BPRD (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense)? Same damn thing as Bureau 713. The difference being that the "Bureau" in Hellboy is followed by "for Paranormal Research and Defense", and the one from Alone In The Dark is followed by "713". Oh, and the BPRD was created more than ten years ago. Now that I think about it, take away the red skin, horns, tail, giant hand, and everything else cool about Hellboy, and you're left with Christian Slater's character from Alone In The Dark. Anyway, where was I? Alone In The Dark felt like one of those shitty made for TV movies that the Sci-Fi Channel likes to play in between reruns of Stargate SG-1. The effects (as I mentioned earlier) are sad, the plot is at the same time "cookie cutter" and heinously confusing, and the acting is atrocious. Now, it can be argued that Tara Reid has never acted well (which is an argument that I won't oppose), but I've seen Christian Slater and Stephen Dorff both give good performances before. However, not a single person came off as remotely sincere or believable in Alone In The Dark. My reasoning for this is that acting must be like a car wash. The more money you pay at the car wash, the nicer your car is going to look when it's done. The same must be so for acting, because if the rest of this movie is any indication, whoever was handing out the checks on set didn't have much to work with. I mean, watch Tara Reid's reaction during any scene in which there is an inhuman creature or violent death involved and you'll be convinced that there just wasn't a whole lot of motivation for any of the actors to put any effort into their roles. There was a moment of worth toward the beginning of Alone In The Dark during the previously mentioned bullet time scene, but aside from that, this managed to be one of those movies during which I was counting the minutes until the end. What else should we expect from director Uwe Boll, though? You know, the guy who brought us House Of The Dead and BloodRayne, and is currently working on Bloodrayne II: Deliverance and Alone In The Dark II. Hey, making movies based on video games that weren't necessarily the best source material to begin with is a dirty job, but someone's got to do it. And that someone is Uwe Boll.

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