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‘Alone in Dark’ wretched, gory

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ALONE IN THE DARK — * — Christian Slater, Tara Reid, Stephen Dorff; rated R (violence, gore, profanity, brief sex, brief drugs, vulgarity).

Somebody, please, stop Uwe Boll before he directs another movie.

Boll actually directed a few films in Europe before he made his U.S. debut — "House of the Dead" in 2003, which remains the most wretched of the recent spate of video-game-inspired horror movies.

However, Boll has managed to do himself one worse with "Alone in the Dark," another video-game-derived frightfest.

Christian Slater stars as Edward Carnby, a "paranormal investigator" having nightmares about the time he spent in an orphanage. Edward believes he and the other children were the subjects of a top-secret experiment, and as it turns out, he's right. It's evidently tied to an ancient evil, intra-dimensional demons that thrive in the dark. And they've returned.

So Edward turns for help to his ex-girlfriend, Aline Cedrac (Tara Reid), who may be able to decipher some artifacts and clues. He also has to set aside his differences with some of his former colleagues, including Commander Richards (Stephen Dorff), who's spearheading efforts to track down and destroy the creatures.

The film is filled with hilariously bad performances, expository dialogue and production values that suggest it could have been a low-budget film-school project. Even the digital effects look chintzy.

As he did in "House of the Dead," Boll overuses the slow-motion photography and quick-cut edits that he learned during his music-video days. And he's clearly more concerned with showing gore than he is in getting performances from his cast. (Reid is by far the worst, as if she is reading her dialogue "cold" from a script, and she and Slater have zero chemistry.)

Boll should not be allowed to direct movies. He probably shouldn't be allowed to direct traffic.

That said, he has two more video-game-to-movie projects in the works, "Bloodrayne" and "Hunter: The Reckoning."

"Alone in the Dark" is rated R for strong violent content and gore (creature attacks, shootings, stabbings and some explosive mayhem), occasional use of strong sexual profanity, brief sex, brief drug content (hypodermic use) and use of some crude slang terms. Running time: 96 minutes.

E-mail: jeff@desnews.com