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CITYBEAT Cthulhu What's this? Tori Spelling, rampy bad girl of i9905TV, appears in director Dan Gildark’s thriller about the monstrous, man-eating demon made famous by H.P. Lovecraft? Really, fora critic, that makes things much too easy. Unfortunately, it also happens tobe the only easy thing about Gildark’s internally disjointed, murky, and ultimately derivative horror opus. Gay history professor Russell (Jason Cottle) returns from the Big City to his small hometown te attend the funeral of his mother. For years, he has been estranged from his creepy father (Dennis Kleinsmith), and before long, Russell's intended brief visit turns into a series of increasingly bizarre visions, as he discovers that dad actually heads a religion devoted to the diabolical Old Ones— ancient monsters whoappear tolivein the local harbor. Russell's horrificexperiences include witnessing a fatal car crash as he drives into town, getting lost in a cellar full of monstrous fish-headed babies, and running inte the flirty Miss Spelling (playing a sexy townie) ata bar, where she tries to seduce him for sinister purposes ofherown. Gildarkorchestrates a decidedly effective mood of eerie unease, However, thepacing unexpectedly inert, and screenwriter Grant Cogswell’s script is a ponderous and disjointed muddle, Few of the drama’s narrative elements make sense — what, it takes Russ til he’s 30 to realize thathis pa is the leader of a cult of monster worshippers? The various visions are leadenly rendered, and the film clumsily tosses together bits of scares from movies ranging from The Wicker Man to Rosemary's Baby, with the “homages” sometimes being so overt they only call into question the filmmaker's poor sense in trying to echo the other movies, (Paul Birchall) (Regent Showease)