'Alone' is so bad that ...

Staff WriterJanuary 27, 2005 

Once in a while, a movie comes along that's so insanely, blatantly, undeniably bad, the only thing you can do is just bask in the glory of its horribleness. The painfully bad, "Hide and Seek," out in theaters today, doesn't reach those depths. Fortunately, "Alone in the Dark" does.

How bad is this movie? I just have five words for you: Tara Reid as an archaeologist.

Yes, America's raspy-voiced, low-rider jeans-wearing, recently surgically enhanced party girl shows up, presurgery, as an archaeologist/museum curator. Along with her paranormal-investigating ex-boyfriend (a buff and rugged Christian Slater) and the head of government paranormal team (a buff and rugged Stephen Dorff), she attempts to stop a bunch of killer monsters who, of course, only come out when it's dark.

Where do these monsters come from? Your guess is as good as mine. The indecipherable, needlessly complicated plot makes the movie more difficult to wrap your head around than "I (Heart) Huckabees." It does have something to do with an ancient civilization, a bunch of artifacts and a mad scientist who used to experiment on orphaned children. There is a cool fight scene between Slater and some bald guy, and a rad shootout set to thrash metal, though.

Based on an Atari video game that's apparently older than me, "Dark" is a movie that was practically conceived to be goofed on by people with nothing else to do on a Friday night. (This movie is for all those people who always wanted to joke along with Joel and the robots on "Mystery Science Theater 3000.")

It's so bad, it literally can't get any worse, even when Slater's character, who also narrates, slips in such dialogue nuggets as "Being afraid of the dark is what keeps most of us alive" or "Just because you can't see something doesn't mean it can't kill you." Now that's bad. But it's not just bad, it's that fun kind of bad. It's that "Showgirls" kind of bad. That Aaron Spelling kind of bad. That Jessica-and-Ashlee Simpson-doing-a-duet kind of bad.

Whether you wait until it comes on DVD, wait until it plays on cable or just sneak in to see it after seeing a better movie, the so-bad-it's-brilliant "Alone in the Dark" will always be here for your ridicule.

Staff writer Craig D. Lindsey can be reached at 829-4760 or clindsey@newsobserver.com.

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