House of the Dead (2003)
|You Won't Last The Night
Just when zombies are hip again, House of the Dead
threatens to send them to back to an early grave. Director
Uwe Boll has made an incredibly bad film and unfortunately
it involves the greatest of horror icons. Boll might as
well have pushed the undead back into their earthen holes
and kicked the dirt on top of them. He's done zombies
a great disservice and I can only hope the damage is not
long lasting. Zombies have just recently been dug up,
dusted off, and thrown at the mainstream audience again
and I'd hate to see that go away so soon.
The story of House of the Dead is familiar and clichéd
with zero distinguishing marks. It really should have been
called "Island of the Dead"', since the house
isn't the focal point of the film, but there are two reasons
that it's not. The first being that there isn't a top-selling
video game called Island of the Dead. The second
reason is that there's already a movie called Island
of the Dead and in an interesting coincidence, it's
just as bad, or maybe even worse than House of the Dead.
students take an ill-fated trip to a remote island, endearingly
called "Isla del Muerte". That's "Island
of the Dead" for you non-Spanish speakers. They're
expecting to take in a rave, but they get oh so much more
than that. There be zombies on that thar island! That's
about all the setup that you need, sadly it's not any
more elaborate than that. And sadly, such a simple concept
is convoluted by the fact that it's told as one big flashback
with a bunch of flashbacks scattered throughout.
I find it hard to believe that Uwe Boll actually thinks
that this movie works on any level. Okay, it's got some
gratuitous nudity, so it may work for the pubescent teen
boys, but that's about it. Those shots were nice, but
the not-so-ample breasts are not going to cover up the
rest of the flaws, which are many.
I was completely disappointed by the garbage script that
was churned out. Completely abysmal. I wouldn't have been
as disgruntled if I hadn't seen the writers' other work.
I thought that Dave Parker's The Dead Hate the Living
was a much more inspired effort, and Mark Altman's screenplay
of Free Enterprise was complete genius compared
to this tripe. Some of the lines are complete head-shakers.
Much like the boat captain's name, Captain "Kirk"
(Jürgen Prochnow), the movie seems like it wants
to be tongue-in-cheek, but Boll directs it completely
straight. That's where it all unravels.
The action sequences would have been a positive for the
film, but alas, Uwe Boll drops the ball again. If I see
another bullet-time action sequence, it'll be too soon.
The way it's callously thrown around, you'd think that
Boll was the creator of the effect and this is the first
time it's ever been seen or something. The main battle
between humans and zombies is ruined by the insertion
of distracting video game shots (which appear throughout
the whole film) and the far too generous dose of slow-motion
bullet-time. Every single character is granted a useless
360 degree slow-mo shot of them shooting off their weapon.
It makes the transition from "ridiculous" to
"completely ridiculous" when Rudy (Jonathan
Cherry) takes a moment, in the middle of the carnage,
to reflect on the events so far. The flashback is simply
a super-fast collage of clips from the movie up to that
point. I don't know about you, but the last thing that
I'd do in the middle of a battle for my life would be
to take time out to think about things. Utterly pointless
and somewhat insulting. It's like we needed a refresher
because we hadn't remembered what we've seen in the last
Speaking of being insulted, House of the Dead is
the new poster boy for predictability and awful foreshadowing.
You'll know pretty early in the film that there's a stash
of guns going to be available to the group, that someone's
going to be a master swordsman when fencing is brought
up, and of course Rudy's knack for first aid is explained
by the fact that he's in medical school. Do you really
need to be in med school to know how to put gauze on a
wound or to tie off a limb to stop the bleeding? I guess
so. Then there's the main villain of the movie who likes
to hide among bushes and behind tree branches to observe.
He's not even hidden by shadows; they just toss him out
there for you to see, which destroyed any kind of mystery
I may have been holding. It was complete cheese and I'm
amazed that in 2003 that it was used in anything but a
film spoof. The back story of the villain is thrown in
almost like an afterthought, and comes off pretty campy.
I think it should have been a bit more detailed and would
have been better served coming at the beginning of the
I'm not even going to comment on the acting, mostly because
I don't even think that Pacino or DeNiro could have done
much with that script. Clint Howard (Salish) was wasted
and not even he could inject anything interesting. Jürgen
Prochnow has yet another junk film on his resume, joining
such forgettables as Judge Dredd and Wing Commander.
The techno/electronic music was decent, but was completely
overshadowed by everything happening onscreen. It's hard
to pay attention to the music when you're looking at your
watch and wondering how much longer you've got to suffer.
House of the Dead is more action than scares, which
is accomplished with ease seeing as there are zero scares.
The plethora of zombies ran like Olympic sprinters, leaped
long distances, and intelligently used weapons at times.
I had no problems with any of that, as I'm not a stickler
for the classic slow-shamblers. The zombie FX were respectable,
but nothing to write home about and certainly didn't make
up for everything else.
Movie studios really make me sick. They make me sick because
movies like this can make it into theaters while better
movies get the shaft and are doomed to the straight-to-video
stigma. While it's not as bad of a stigma as it used to
be, it's still a complete injustice. Movies that are well-directed
& original, like May, who got no love after
a limited theatrical release, and Below, which
got no marketing push behind it, are often overlooked
because nobody remembers it being in the theaters. Both
of these are far superior films compared to House of
the Dead and deserved more than what was given them.
This film should have never made it into the theaters,
plain and simple. There's nothing redeemable, nothing
original, nothing even fun...it's pretty much a waste
of time. Uwe Boll is a hack; I'm not going to sugarcoat
it. I can imagine that he thinks he's very clever and
his use of all the flashbacks was creative...it wasn't.
He probably thinks his action scenes were mind-blowing
with all the slow-mo and his camera tricks...they weren't.
If this movie is any indication of what he's capable of,
then the forthcoming Alone in the Dark will be
another waste of film. What's scarier than that? The fact
that Mindfire Entertainment wants to make this franchise
a trilogy. <shudder>
|DEAD KEV'S ADVICE
|Don't waste your money...or your time.
|1. When you show up on a remote island expecting
to see lots of people and discover it deserted...don't
2. When committing suicide by dynamite to take out
a bunch of zombies...do it far enough away from the
house your buddies are boarded up in so as not to
blow the doors and windows out.
-"It's for your protection."
-"It's okay, I'm on the pill."
-"I can be quick."
-"What else is new."
-"I'm either gonna get better, or I ain't"
-"I'm a freak. I belong in a f*ckin' circus."
|Uwe Boll (Heart of America, Blackwoods)
|Mark Altman (Free Enterprise)
|Dave Parker (The Dead Hate the Living)
||Daniel S. Kletzky
|Boll KG, Mindfire Entertainment
|Mindfire is hoping this will be the first of a trilogy
of films (in addition to inspiring a TV series).
|The House of the Dead 4 video game will be
based upon this movie.
|The movie had been made for an eventual unrated,
gore-filled DVD. Uwe Boll was being quoted as saying
"We can never have too many exploding heads." Originally
it was said that there would be an X-rated DVD released
approximately 6 months after the theatrical release,
but as of now, only an R-rated release has been announced.
|The events of the film are supposed to precede the
original House of the Dead video game.
|Production started on April 29th, 2002 in Vancouver,
Canada on a budget of $12 million. Filming was expected
to last ten weeks, but wrapped approximately 3 weeks
earlier than expected.
|House Of The Dead: The Occupants Speak - Fangoria.com
|Dave Parker Quote - Creature Corner
|Weekend of Horrors HOTD Panel - Creature Corner
PUT YOUR OWN REVIEWS ON THE MESSAGE BOARD!
Copyright © 2002-06 - All Things Zombie.com
Best viewed with IE 6 at 1024x768
Trademarks belong to their respective owners.
All Rights Reserved.
Scary Movie 4
See No Evil
Snakes On a Plane