Tara Reid Challenges Expectations, Runs From Monsters In 'Alone In The Dark'

Sci-fi thriller finds actress playing an archaelogist.

Tara Reid might be slipping into the shoes of an ass-kicking action star, but the "American Pie" actress is still quite the softy at heart.

"I'm afraid of the dark if I hear the slightest noise," said the raspy-voiced actress, whose latest movie, "Alone in the Dark," opens Friday (January 28). "My mind definitely plays tricks on me. I'll sleep with the night-light on if I hear a noise. It freaks me out."

Based on the Atari video game Alone in the Dark, Part IV, "Dark" is a sci-fi thriller that finds Reid playing an archeologist who explores an island of unknown terrors with her paranormal-investigating ex-boyfriend (Christian Slater). While the film looks big-budget, the production was modest compared with most science-fiction films.

"You had to have a great imagination," Reid, 29, said of playing alongside nonexistent nightmarish creatures that were later CGI'd into the film.

Best known for her work in teen comedies ("Van Wilder," "My Boss's Daughter" and the aforementioned "Pie" series), Reid relished the opportunity not only to break the mold, but to work with Slater.

"It was really different for me to do a sci-fi thriller, and it was so much fun working with Christian," Reid said. "He was awesome and such a great actor. And running from monsters? It was just a whole different beat to this movie."

While "Dark" has its fair share of classic horror-film elements, Reid — who cites "Alien" as one of her favorite films — emphasizes that it's not a conventional screamer. "There's a lot of action in the film, but it also has a heart because of the romance between [Slater] and [my character]."

The actress already has a number of movies in the can that should see release later in 2005, including the indie comedy "Knots," "Silent Partner" and the thriller "Wicked Prayer," which stars Edward Furlong, David Boreanaz and Dennis Hopper.

But the project closest to her heart is a surprisingly self-aware one: A yet-untitled FOX sitcom that finds Reid lampooning her party-girl image.

"It's loosely based on my life, kind of," she said. "[My character] plays an actress in Hollywood. She's always going out and having fun with her friends. She has a good heart, but sometimes she gets into trouble."

But Reid also stresses that the show won't be a straight-up spoof of her life. "[She's] kind of a Lucille Ball character," she said.

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