Alone In The Dark

Starring Christian Slater, Tara Reid, and Stephen Dorff. Rated 14A.

Alone in the Dark is a terrific horror flick--at least the one from 1982 is. It stars stalwart acting vets Jack Palance and Martin Landau as psychopathic escapees from a mental hospital who go on a murderous rampage. The flick comes recommended for Palance and Landau's gleefully demented performances, and--partly because it's based on a believable premise--it's also scary as hell.

Then there's the new Alone in the Dark, a Vancouver-shot chunk o' junk based on an Atari video-game series. It stars Christian Slater as Edward Carnby, a "detective of the paranormal" who, as a kid, was one of 20 children taken from an orphanage where bizarre experiments, including having centipedelike thingies implanted on their spines, were conducted. When we first meet Carnby, he's flown into YVR with an ancient artifact from Chile, but before he can get his exgirlfriend, museum curator Aline Cedrac (the talent-challenged Tara Reid), to check it out, his Yellow Cab gets waylaid near Quebec Street and 2nd Avenue by a chrome-domed assassin. (In the first of many ridiculous scenes, this guy doesn't flinch when repeatedly shot in the chest, yet reacts big-time to one of Carnby's karate kicks.) The bad baldie has been dispatched by sinister Professor Hudgens (Mathew Walker), who needs the relic so that he can he use it to open a passageway to hell (the Britannia Beach mine) and unleash the hordes of hokey, dinosaurlike CGI demons gathered there.

Because anything allegedly based on a video game has to have lots of gunfire, Stephen Dorff (Pamela Anderson's new boyfriend!) shows up as Carnby's nemesis, Commander Richards, leading a group of heavily armed soldiers who inevitably become demon chow. The convoluted, terribly written film--which sports lines like Reid's "The hairs on my neck just stood up!"--blatantly rips off Raiders of the Lost Ark, Alien, Tremors, 28 Days Later, and The Hidden, but never in a good way. The most entertainment comes from watching Slater and Dorff and trying to figure out who's got the biggest forehead.

I wouldn't agree with the IMDb (Internet Movie Database) forum contributor who started the "Kill Uwe Boll" thread, but somebody should definitely confiscate the German director's work visa. He previously shot the ludicrous zombie flick House of the Dead in B.C., and, judging by the horrifically inept Alone in the Dark, there's no telling how much damage Boll could do to the credibility of the local film biz if he's allowed to go for three.