Identity crisis

Alone in the Dark

Like coins, Nebraska calves, short-lived kittens and Zak and Wheezie before him, Christian Slater goes two-headed.

Like coins, Nebraska calves, short-lived kittens and Zak and Wheezie before him, Christian Slater goes two-headed.

Rated 1.0

The opening narration of Alone in the Dark goes on and on with some malarkey about our world being shared with a world of darkness that we cannot see. I concur that we inhabit a world of darkness, but that world is quite viewable and is populated by the likes of Tara Reid and Stephen Dorff.

Based on some video game, the film follows the helplessly incoherent exploits of Edward Carnby (Christian Slater), an investigator of the paranormal who has fuzzy memories of childhood trauma and a really stupid-looking, brown leather trench coat. Carnby has been globetrotting, looking for artifacts from an ancient civilization that supposedly disappeared after unleashing some sort of monster force from the bowels of the Earth. He and his banal girlfriend (Reid) band together against these forces, or whatever they are, and basically take part in a bunch of gunplay and running around that makes absolutely no sense.

As a critic, it’s embarrassing, and not to mention a little unprofessional, to admit when a film completely confounds you to the point where you have no freaking idea what happened in it. I’m making this admission to you right now because Alone in the Dark has me baffled like no other movie. At one point, it’s an Alien rip-off. Then, it’s a Starship Trooper rip-off. Then, it journeys into zombie-flick territory, and all the while sucking like a vacuum cleaner on Sunday.

Here’s what I was able to follow: Christian Slater’s character has some sort of affiliation with a museum. When Carnby was a child, he was part of some group of orphans who were the victims of a weird, mad scientist’s experimentations with freaky centipedes. The centipedes would fuse to the spinal cords of the children, and then when some worldwide signal was given, the children would all become zombies intent on killing Christian Slater. Stephen Dorff heads up some sort of paranormal task force, trouncing around looking all authoritative with his furrowed brow and wispy hair.

Back at the museum, Tara Reid wears glasses and has her hair in a bun to appear all scholarly. But, as soon as she opens her mouth, it’s obvious she hasn’t a clue what she is talking about. The mad scientist with the freaky centipedes is also in charge of the museum, which causes Reid to have a confused and forlorn look on her face, as if she’s incapable of mustering the slightest of intelligible thoughts. No … wait … that’s the expression she always has on.

Then there is some sort of final gun battle against super-charged demon dogs that are invisible, but we the audience can see them. Many movie friends die, like Richards the computer guy and Turner the guy who fixed the generator. Sadly, Sister Clara the corrupted nun also meets her demise. All right, I give up.

Somehow, Slater manages to survive this, the consummate acting professional making the best out of the dung pile he was handed. Dorff is another story, overacting and scenery chewing to the point where one expects pieces of the set to come shooting out of his ass. Reid is hands-down the worst actress I have ever seen, and this is not an exaggeration. She makes me feel sorry for the bad things I wrote about Shelley Long.

This movie is only for people with crazed admiration for Tara Reid’s abnormal midriff and members of the Stephen Dorff fan club, all four of them. Others should settle for more rewarding activities, such as continually slamming your head in an SUV’s door or bathing in aphids.