Eye For Film >> Movies >> House Of The Dead (2003) Film Review
House Of The Dead
Reviewed by: Gator MacReady
Lord have mercy! Armageddon is here! The end is nigh! The end is nigh! For the love of God, Allah, Yahweh and the winds willing repent your sins! Repent! Oh Jesus, I'm sorry! I'm sorry for all the badness I ever did. I'm sorry I painted my cat and chucked him from a second floor window when I was three. I'm sorry I picked on the only Asian kid in our village when I was six. I'm sorry for cheating in the history exam! Puh-lease forgive me.
There's not much time left. I know video games do not and never will make good movies but, if Hollywood execs are making toilet-fill like this, one can only assume that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse were holding guns to their heads. No sane person would ever greenlight such an absolute travesty. That is the only explanation I can offer as to why House Of The Dead exists - it's so bad, you'll go off movies forever. I seriously wanted to bail out half way and watch a nice, light-hearted (in comparison) snuff movie instead, but was bound by my word to suffer every ugly, agonised minute. I don't know why I do these things to myself.
As if it matters, here's the basic jist of the "story". A group of twentysomethings are so desperate to go out to some island in the Pacific Northwest - Canada, actually, because it's cheap - for the Rave Of The Century, which consists of about eight people and un-ravey music, that they pay some craggy old fisherman $1000 to take them there after missing the ferry. It's gotta be some rave to be worth all that dough, I tell ya! The fisherman warns them that the island is also known as the Island of the Dead - hang on! I thought this was HOUSE of the Dead? - and that they are all doomed, doomed, DOOMED I TELL YOU!!!
First faults: why would a tiny little rave (of the century my rosy, rosy strawberry-scented, cherry-flavoured reptilian ass!) be held on some remote island? Why would anyone, sound in mind and body, willingly pay stacks of dosh to get there? Why pay even more to a craggy old fisherbloke to take them back, when they might just as well come back with the others?
Once they arrive, they discover that the rave (two tents, a small stage and a port-a-loo) has been smashed; there's blood everywhere and no one is around. What would any rationally thinking person do? Run for their lives, of course. But no, these clueless, obviously naive people decide to go look for them. Soon enough, they discover an old ramshackle house that's 50 times as big on the inside as it is on the outside. Another half hour of stumbling around in the forest follows, as an excuse to kill off some of the lesser characters, and after much tedium they arrive back at the house. The characters, like the movie, go nowhere.
Jammed into this unholy disaster is a superabundance of gibberish dialogue, heinous acting, mumbo-jumbo exposition and zillions of clips from the once-popular arcade game of the same name. Why this was universally accepted as a good idea for a film, I'll never know. The clips have no reference to any of the scenes and only degrade the movie even more. Christ on a bike! What the hell is all this crap supposed to be?
It has nothing to do with the game, save for some cheap throwaway lines at the end. It makes Resident Evil: Apocalypse look like cinematic glory. Hell, even the Double Dragon movie seems multi-Oscar winning compared to this. The only one who comes out of it with dignity is Jurgen Prochnow. He could have just taken the money and run, but he tries his best with the awful script and brings a tiny bit of pathos to his character. The rest of the cast suck, I'm afraid. The characters are idiots and deserve to die.
Plus, if you cut out the swearing and pointless nudity, I see no reason why this film cannot be shown on Saturday morning TV. It's not frightening in the slightest. [film]Pirates Of The Caribbean[/film] is more scary than the skeletal bad guys in this film. And where did all those people come from, anyway? There were only a few on the island at the start. I guess this justifies the reason they chose to re-use footage over and over again. I kid you not, you'll see the same zombie die a dozen times.
Who's ultimately to blame? None other than director Uwe Boll (isn't that a urine infection?). Even if you live long enough to suffer Michael Bay's or Paul W S Anderson's "careers" right through to the end, you will never know another director so unapologetically arrogant and awful. He has been quoted as saying the following about this trash: "Over 100 blood effects and 11000 cuts in 13 minutes will be film history in a few years, because NO OTHER FILM EVER has a similar scene."
If that isn't out of control and morbidly delusional self-glorification...I don't know what is!
You can see that the actors have no idea what they should be doing and that the zombies aren't taking it seriously. The actors seem to be reading hand-held notes, as they pause constantly in the middle of long sentences and carry on talking as soon as they figure out the handwriting. It all feels very unnatural. Like sharing a bed with your mother.
Plus the film is shot like a two-part mini-series - and don't get me started on the editing! The film is an incoherent babble, with thousands upon thousands upon millions upon billions of pointless shots and dozens of meaningless camera pans. It truly baffles and boggles the mind how movies this unfathomably bad can get made.
I swear to almighty God, I will behave for the rest of my life. I will never do another bad thing if you spare me the agony of watching this Satan's turd again. Even if you stripped me forever naked, stuck pins in my eyes, chainsawed my lovely legs off, covered me in cold sores and forced me to work in the sanitation department of a Turkish prison, I would not be as miserable as I was while watching House Of The Dead.
Now where is that sulphuric acid? I'm thirsty and suicidal.
(I'll take that as a no, then: ed)Reviewed on: 29 Oct 2004