Worth A Look: 3.03%
Pretty Bad: 13.13%
Total Crap: 72.73%
3 reviews, 81 user ratings
|House of the Dead
by Scott Weinberg
Not one house in the entire movie... There is one walled edifice to speak of, though it's more of a voodoo crypt than an actual house. I guess "Crypt of the Dead" would be a rather redundant title, plus there's the video-game source material of the same name. So the title had to stay. False advertising regarding cinematic real estate aside, this is an abysmal little turkey.Ha. I kid because there's not much else to do when faced with a horror movie this amazingly bad. And this is coming from someone who devours Bad Horror Movies like they're made out of cookie dough and cocaine. What forced me to drop six American dollars on a film so bad that I couldn't find ONE advance review?
"Not one house in the entire movie..."
A three hour window before Intolerable Cruelty was to begin, a sickening curiosity that apparently knows no limits, and the small glimmer of hope that House of the Dead could become some sort of Cheeseball Guilty Pleasure Gore Flick.
Needless to say, a nap on a bar stool at Pizzeria Uno would have been a better expenditure of one's time.
Because House of the Dead is certifiably atrocious, a flick so derivative and amateurish and plain old retarded that moviegoers may find themselves stunned to be seeing the title atop multiplex marquees...as opposed to the bottom shelf of Blockbuster's New Release section. You know, that shelf that offers only ONE copy of the flick at hand.
In an effort to simply break things down for the Horror Freaks (the only conceivable audience for a movie like this), here's the skinny:
Plot: Five morons (three hotties and two horny dudes) charter a creepy fishing boat from guys called Clint and Jurgen in an effort to make it over to the "Island de la Muerta Rave". That House of the Dead assumes horror fans do not know what "Muerta" means is a clear indication of the flick's paltry knowledge of the genre.
Anyway, the seven dummies (and two cops in tow, don't ask) make it to Death Island and guess what? Dead ravers everywhere. Zombies got 'em. Yep. (Prior to these arresting developments come three separate sequences in which we get to see bare female breasts.) Following the discovery of the Dead Ravers we get scene after scene of a rapidly dwindling collection of idiots as they shoot zombies in the chest.
And gunshot wounds to the chest kill these zombies. Call me nuts, but that's like saying "Oh, you can kill vampires with a stick of butter." Gunshot wounds to the chest cannot kill zombies! Bah, I digress - mainly because we're never quite sure if the undead creatures ARE zombies, per se. They're just kinda...living dead things. Easily killed ones.
The script is comprised of lines like "That looks like it's been there for a millenia!" and "I did it so I could be immortal...so I could live forever." Topless chicks get peeped upon by slimy Clint Howard...and don't even care. Unintroduced characters wander onto the screen, walk around for a few minutes and then vanish, never to be seen again. Prochnow's character is named Kirk...and he's a sea captain. Insert punchline here.
Kills/Gore: Several kills, distressingly little gore. Matter of fact, this is the sort of horror movie that begins to set up its scares, promises something goopy...and then CUTS AWAY to another scene (full of living and relatively safe characters) as audience members are left to wonder how disgusting the previous victim's death could have been...had they been able to see it.
And chopping the gore out of a low-budget zombie flick is like sucking all the jelly out of a dozen donuts; a pointless and somewhat disgusting act. (An eventual "Unrated DVD Version" is undoubtedly the wish of one bizarrely optimistic studio suit.)
Acting: atrocious across the board. Heck, when you can spot the fact that Clint Howard is giving a bad performance...something's just not right. Jurgen Prochnow earns the enviable title of "most recognizable actor on display" although the well-admired German thespian looks alternately embarassed and sleepy as he wanders through his role of "rascally and soon-to-be-devoured" ship captain.
Of the males in the cast...nothing. Blank generic faces spouting inane dialogue and screaming. The gals are no better, though they're each very pretty. Until they get chewed up by the sweaty semi-dead, that is. Loved the Asian gal dressed in the slinky Stars & Stripes leotard. Between that and the leading lady's fishnet blouse, I estimate a costume budget of about 32 bucks.
The gimmick: those who consider Paul Anderson's Resident Evil some sort of affront to the sensibilities of hardcore videogamers the world over, House of the Dead will supplant their venom. In other words, this is easily the worst "video-game-based" movie yet. And that includes that nightmarishly awful Super Mario Bros abortion.
In an effort to have gamers clapping their hands in supposed glee, director Uwe Boll takes to splicing sections of the video game into the movie's action scenes! As our survivors continue to shotgun-blast their way through the shuffling "zombies", flickers of video game material scatter across the screen...as if to remind the viewer that, yes, there is something worse than watching someone else play a video game: it's paying to watch someone else play a video game.
Lastly (because let's face it: this review is already twice as long as House of the Dead's screenplay), the flick is considerably more of an action flick than it is horror. This distinction actually manages to make the film worse, as Mr. Boll has this one inane gimmick that he uses about 14 times throughout the movie. This trick involves Bullet Time Photography (cutting edge about 4 years ago) and a rapidly spinning camera pan. So what you get (about 14 times) is one character who shoots their gun in slow motion as the camera repeatedly circles the shooter while everyone in the theater battles vertigo-induced-vomiting. Used just once, this spin-o-rama slo-mo-bullet schpiel would look ridiculous. Imagine 14.
(Oh, here's something positive: Ona Grauer, who plays Hero Girl, is almost criminally sexy. Thank you, Ms. Grauer, for giving me something sweet to stare at for 90-some otherwise interminable minutes. OK, two things.)Next up for Mr. Boll and his crew is another video-game flick entitled "Alone in the Dark". Here's hoping that he can use "House of the Dead" as a learning tool. All he'd have to do is study this flick real hard...and then do everything the opposite way. Then he'd make a good movie. Maybe.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8242&reviewer=128
originally posted: 10/11/03 20:42:17