Bomb Rating: 

If this is the best Dean Koontz can do, I think I'd rather eat one of his novels than read one. If you didn't know, Koontz wrote the screenplay adaptation to his own novel. As such, it's filled with more throwaway dialogue than a Pamela Anderson Lee interview. Its story centers around some ancient oil creature that's suddenly come up from ground to wipe out an entire mountain village. It has all the sophistication of a... uh... Pamela Anderson Lee interview.

First of all, if I go into a small mountain village and everyone is missing or found lying dead like victims of some freak vericose vein outbreak, I don't continue to poke around the place. I leave. Why sisters Jenny (Joanna Going) and Lisa Pailey (Rose McGowan) don't consider their self-preservation is a tribute to their stupidity or their potential for taking unnecessary showers at some point in the film.

Oh sure, in their defense they actually try to start their car. It doesn't start. Next thing you know they're talking about impending doom. Girls, heard of the footmobile? Koontz and director Joe Chappelle try to establish Jenny as the incredibly smart doctor. Then a Harvard-educated sheriff (Ben Affleck) shows up and when his car won't start, he too doesn't consider walking out of the place. At this point I say "Rah, oil creature."

Presumably to give the picture some sense of legitimacy, Peter O'Toole is dropped into the mix as a tabloid journalist who reports on spooky disappearances. After that, the sheriff, the girls and O'Toole meander about trying to explain the increasingly ridiculous story while they're followed around by an oil creature who insists on good press coverage. Frankly, I've experienced more suspense waiting for a bus.

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