Film

Film

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It seems awfully drastic to cast Tara Reid as a brilliant archaeologist in order to secure an atmosphere of the paranormal, but Alone in the Dark, an embarrassingly unscary monster mash, is desperate to frighten its laughing audience any way it can. True to its role-playing video game source, the plot rests on an absurdly convoluted backstory about the ancient Abskani civilization, which opened a portal thousands of years ago between our world and a demon dimension apparently populated by yet another race of Giger knockoffs. To solve this X-Files reject of a mystery, Reid must match wits with men of action Christian Slater and Stephen Dorff. The garish editing and stilted, exposition-only dialogue induce the frisson of an America’s Most Wanted re-enactment that pays unexpected, sidesplitting returns. But eventually the deadpan pointlessness of the investigation overwhelms. “Looks like a dead end,” Dorff admits. “Let’s check it out.”

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