Directed by Jack Sholder [Other horror films: A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985), The Hidden (1987), Natural Selection (1994), Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies (1999), Arachnid (2001), 12 Days of Terror (2004)]
This is one of those films that I first saw so long ago that it came across as mostly new with this recent rewatch. I did remember one of the most important scenes near the end, but that didn’t really impact my enjoyment here, and Alone in the Dark is certainly a movie I enjoy quite a bit.
I’ve heard it said by a few people before that Alone in the Dark is slow-moving, and while that might be true (a bulk of the action doesn’t really hit until the finale), I found it engaging and enjoyable the whole way through, much of it likely due to the surprisingly large amount of worthwhile performances here.
You have three maniacs, played by Jack Palance (Without Warning and Man in the Attic), Martin Landau (ditto Without Warning), and Erland van Lidth, Donald Pleasence (Halloween) playing a rather amusing doctor, Carol Levy as a hot babysitter named Bunky, and a family composed of daughter Elizabeth Ward, mother and father Deborah Hedwall and Dwight Schultz, and Schultz’s sister, Lee Taylor-Allan, who was one of the most fun characters here aside from Pleasence, Schultz, and Bunky, not to mention the maniacs.
I love the cast here, so while the action is a bit light at times, and the gore never comes close to what might expect from an early 80’s slasher, it doesn’t matter a bit, because I’m still having a fun time. That said, there can certainly be strong suspense present, such as the scenes in which the family’s trapped in the house by the maniacs. Also, while I did remember the little surprise at the end, that didn’t make it any less effective.
Alone in the Dark isn’t a favorite of mine, but it’s a very solid slasher from a fantastic period of horror. Pretty easy for me to rate highly, as I really find I enjoy this one.
This is one of the film’s covered on Fight Evil’s podcast – listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this movie.