With the recent manifestations of video games expanded for the big screen, one has to wonder... "Is this the best they can do?" The movies adapted from the horror games are sadly disappointing at best, more or less bargain basement treatments reminiscent of a ten-year-old saying, "You know what would be cool? Lots of blood, fight scenes and zombies!"... with absolutely no thought given to plot, structure or, hell, even good ol' common sense.House of the Dead is no exception to this, or indeed any, rule.
"House of the Dead? More like, I WISH I was dead after seeing this movie."
College students, looking for a rave, head off to an island on the coast of Florida. Once they get there... Hey, everyone's missing! That would've been my sign to get the hell out of there as fast as my little ass in hotpants could move. Alas, as movie protocol would have it, the five friends set out for a little adventure (and a little hanky panky) while searching for the missing rave party.
As luck would have it, one of the original group turns into a spitting, hissing freak of nature that would, presumably, like to eat the brains of her companions. Shocking, I know. And, wait, there are even more zombies on the warpath! No sooner does someone say "Hey, did she just turn into a zombie?" than they, the zombies, start emerging from the (literal) woodwork. Soon the remaining camp is accompanied by a Coast Guard officer and a couple of men (cue Gruff Sea Captain and Nerdy Gilligan-esque figures), all of whom start wandering about in an effort to find their way off the island.
Obviously, this is no easy task as the undead are everywhere. They're on the ground, swinging from trees, inhabiting the water, and even taking over the boat the kids arrived on. Naturally, bullets don't exactly stop these hell beasts; it takes an entire army of bullets to satisfy these bastards - and the crew is quickly running out of ideas (not to mention ammo) while also being bitten, eaten and generally maimed.
All this junk is tied up with a rather uninteresting middle plot (apparently the writer thought the zombies needed motivation) that only contributes to the construction of a rather dull and slow-paced movie. The action scenes we've seen before, kids-stuck-on-an-island stuff we've seen before, nudity, zombies, dumbness... to use a phrase that is just as cliched as this movie - been there, done that.
While there may be no wrong way to eat a Resee's, I think there is a right way to creating flicks made from video games. Sure, you want to come up with something original that isn't a direct ripoff of the game, but why not stay within the interesting boundaries set by the source material? Isn't that the reason for adapting a video game to a movie in the first place... or am I missing something?Though the ending of the film made me say, "Heh," (out loud, even!), in a brilliant display of absurdity, you're not missing much by watching THIS zombie flick. Except for maybe 80+ minutes of your life.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8242&reviewer=22
originally posted: 02/03/04 09:57:16