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Alone in the Dark

Alone in the Dark (1982)


No Reviews Yet...

Release Date: Jan 1, 1982 Wide



liked it
Average Rating: 2.9/5
User Ratings: 8,441

My Rating

Movie Info

This is a very enjoyable tongue-in-cheek horror film about some homicidal maniacs who break out of an asylum and terrorize a psychiatrist's family on a dark and stormy night. Martin Landau and Jack Palance are particularly funny, but there are some genuine scares as well. One scene, in which a frightened woman is menaced on her bed by a maniac thrusting a butcher-knife up through the mattress, is a clever send-up that will nevertheless linger in the memory. The coda, in which the crazy Palance


Mystery & Suspense, Horror

Sep 13, 2005

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All Critics (11) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (6) | Rotten (2) | DVD (2)

A morbid and utterly mind bending little thriller...

June 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

The movie's tongue-in-bloody-cheek satire of psychobabble sets it apart.

April 9, 2007 Full Review Source:

The premise isn't plausible and Palance, Landau and Pleasence deserve more screen time, but this has enough off-beat and darkly comic moments to make it passable. And the final scene is a hoot.

March 24, 2007

Palance, Pleasance, and Landau ensure that, while it might get a little dry and silly at times, Alone in the Dark sure isn't boring.

November 18, 2005 Full Review Source:

Uneven, but sometimes creepy, sometimes quirky thriller.

March 19, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for Alone in the Dark

Interesting Slasher using the traditional atmosphere and suspense elements to tell the story, Alone in the Dark is really one of those films that separates itself from the pack and offers a true, tense and horrifying viewing experience. The film does have plenty of bloodletting, but is much different because it has a good mix of suspense and actual scares intertwined with the killings. There's a good film here, one that is very underrated and is actually one of the better Slasher films of the early 80's. This is a smart film in the genre, one that doesn't go overboard on the blood or gore. Director Jack Sholder keeps everything together with a fine suspenseful atmosphere, a well written script and a good cast of talented actors. Fans of the genre should check out this somewhat obscured horror gem. If you're looking for a well executed Slasher film, then this film is for you. The standouts of the film are the three main actors, Jack Palance, Martin Landau and Dwight Schultz. They really are menacing and perfect as psychos. This is one of those films that were basically forgotten among the countless Slashers films the 80's. However if you must come across it, give it a shot. The films tense, suspenseful atmosphere really adds something unique to this film. Along with Just Before Dawn, Alone in the Dark goes a different direction in the Slasher genre, one that shows that the genre has more to offer than the standard hack and slash elements. Though far from perfect, this film still is a must see for fans looking an atmospheric Slasher film to watch. This film mixes very well done tense scenes with everything you'd expect from the genre. There's always something going on, on-screen to keep you entertained and even with its flaws, it's one good film, worth watching.
June 28, 2012
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Probably the best movie I've seen during this marathon. 'Alone in the Dark' is trenchant, intelligent and gleefully pulpy with Oscar-winning actors at their scenery-chewing maximum. Martin Landau, with glassy eyes and a Grinch-like smile, quotes scriptures as if he were on high and the simple task of wishing someone "happy trails" is an uproariously strained feat for Jack Palance's powder keg Frank who ladles menace during quiet walks through a mental asylum's courtyard. Sholder, who directed the underrated 'Nightmare on Elm Street 2', is a powerhouse director and writer who deftly explores the wayward perception that people moshing to a band named "The Sick Fucks" is more insane than the tranquil innards of the institution. The best scapegoat for a parody of psychological coddling is Pleasance who labels the inmates' rampage as a "cry for help". Sholder posits that armchair psychiatrists prefer pat, non-threatening rationalizations with the John Locke view that humans are "inherently good". Thought-provoking and flamboyant visceral, 'Alone in the Dark' is a marvelous thriller that shouldn't be as misbegotten as it has been.
October 21, 2011
Cory Taylor

Super Reviewer

It began with potential it ended very dissapointing. What a shame
December 12, 2009
Wahida K

Super Reviewer

*** out of ****

Since it's such an overused concept, I've often found myself wondering whether tongue-in-cheek horror movies are even the best kind; or whether they're good at all. But of course, that last part is silly; there are horror movies that I love - "The Evil Dead", "Night of the Creeps", "The Evil Dead II" - and the thing that all three of those films have in common aside from their genre is a touch of comic inspiration. Each one is lovably goofy due to the equal shares of comedy and scares; creating a delightfully spooky ride. This approach doesn't work every time; but I'll be damned if it doesn't work on the best of days.

"Alone in the Dark" is another one of those 80's horror flicks that embraces the silly side of life; it understands that it doesn't have the best screenplay, or the best characters, or the best, well...anything; but it does know one thing, and that is how to balance two genres while successfully devoting itself to the one that ultimately takes over. It's a creepy, tense film that is, in small doses, kind of clever and endearing. One could certainly classify it as a slasher film, but don't let that label fool you; the film is more interested in creating an atmosphere and mood than exploiting gory kill scenes galore, and in a world where the less fair and opposing choice of style feels overused and unnecessary, I appreciated the direction that the film took.

So here's the plot in a nutshell; a gang of patients escape from a psychiatric hospital after a power outage shrouds the surrounding areas (the ward included) in darkness through night; while light shall only return by day. The team of psychopaths breaks up and goes their separate ways; only to meet again the house of a new doctor; whom they have been plotting to kill ever since he started as a replacement doctor to the one that they initially preferred. The time in which they remain on the streets, killing at random and sneaking into homes, spans about one day and a night; things especially get suspenseful during the latter.

You need not know more than that. "Alone in the Dark" is an almost intentionally formula slasher movie; with a sense of style - and a working brain - that most films in that sub-genre most certainly lack. I liked it because it accepts its flaws and tries its best to deliver the sarcastic with the serious; with some genuinely impressive and respectable results. It's nothing great, and it lacks depth, but as a film that cares about the audience's intelligence (and attention span) enough to take its time getting to the good stuff, I saw nothing wrong with what it was doing. I went along with it and found myself very entertained; and this is a good feeling, even nowadays where everyone seems inclined to please.

There are some good acting talents involved in the picture, some of which include: Donald Pleasence, Jack Palance, Martin Landau, and Dwight Schultz. A few movie-goers might be disappointed when they discover that each noted star isn't given the amount of screen-time that they rightfully deserve, but I didn't let that get in the way of my enjoyment. They do their jobs accordingly, lack the ability and excess to create memorable characters from their efforts, but hey; a job is a job, and each actor does a pretty good one. Pleasence, in particular, is a likable screen presence; a man who can make even the simplest of dialogue sound intelligent and rich. Perhaps that's just ol' Samuel Loomis creeping up on me.

I go to slasher films for all kinds of reasons; but two very key ones are to see the kills and to perhaps get a little surprise - something more. "Alone in the Dark" will intentionally disappoint those looking for the first thing alone, while those who - like myself - are looking for a more intelligent slasher movie will be pleasantly surprised by the time and craft put into the film. I don't think it quite achieves all-time classic status, even for its kind, but I think every horror fan should dig into it with much delight. Let's just say that if you're like me and you like your horror somewhat slow-moving, with much build-up, and with a sense of self-aware humor thrown in for extra measure; you will enjoy yourself. At this point, satisfaction is guaranteed; unless you're a grouch. And a grouch I am not.
November 29, 2011
Ryan M
Ryan Marshall

Super Reviewer

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