House of the Dead (2003)
By: J.R. McNamara on February 5, 2007  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
DVD
Eagle entertainment (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1. 87 minutes
The Movie
Credits
Director: Uwe Boll
Starring: Jonathan Cherry, Ona Grauer, Ellie Cornell, Will Sanderson, Tyron Leitso, Clint Howard
Screenplay: Dave Parker, Mark A. Altman
Music: Reinhard Besser
Tagline: The dead walk...You run.
Country: Germany
Uwe Boll…some say his name, pronounced 'Oo-va', is so because it rhymes with Hoover, and they suck as well, but I tend to disagree. Boll is someone who knows his way around a camera, and in each movie of his I have seen, has had some redeeming value…particularly action sequences, which all seem to me to be well choreographed, even if they fall into the choppy MTV style cuts. Tragically for Boll, his name has become synonymous with 'zero quality' and he gets bagged by some who haven't even seen one of his films. Now don't get me wrong, he ain't filming Shakespeare, but he does deserve a little credit for some of his filming skills.

His choice of films to make is probably more what he should be criticized for. The constant release of video game based films: Bloodrayne and Alone in the Dark for example, that come from his stables suggest to me that he can't make a good decision. Of course on the B side to that argument, he is talked about more on the internet than probably any other film director ever, and what do they say about any press? Bad or good… it is better than no press at all!

House of The Dead is based on the SEGA game of the same name, albeit very loosely, and tells of a rave party that is taking place on Isla del Muerta, aka the Isle of the Dead (which would have been a warning, surely). Five partygoers (Enuka Okuma, Tyron Leitso, Ona Grauer, Will Sanderson and Sonia Salomaa), are running late for the party, and hitch a ride with gruff sea captain, Kirk (Jurgan Pronchnow) and his sidekick/first mate Sallish (Clint Howard) to the island, but not before the captain's occasional smuggling efforts bring him under pursuit of the law, specifically Officer Jordan Casper (Ellie Cornell). Eventually this motley crew makes it to the island, only to find it abandoned, except for creatures. Creatures that look like their friends...but dead...and hungry...

One thing I can say positively about this film is it does have appearances by some horror movie faves: Cornell, Pronchnow, Howard, and it is always nice to see the needy earning a meal. A special mention goes to this film though for a pre-Smallville appearance of Erica 'Lois Lane' Durance, although she is credited in this film as 'Erica Parker', which is lucky as she can keep it off her resume.

Producer and co-writer Mark Altman, on the inner sleeve liner notes, attempts to justify how bad this movie is by claiming it is an homage to B movies, as well as a faithful reproduction of the game, even down to the stilted acting. Tragically, this film doesn't appear tongue in cheek at all, and is a chore to watch.
Video
This film is presented in widescreen 1.85: 1 and is a clean image throughout the course of the film.
Audio
The soundtrack is in Dolby 5.1 and is a loud, pumping track; the music though will make more use of your surround sound than the sound effects.
Extra Features
Behind the House (30 minutes 13 seconds) is just some random behind the scenes footage, mainly focusing on the zombie make up.

There is a trailer (2 minutes 6 seconds) for House of the Dead, and trailers for Tough Luck, Prozac Nation and Absolom.
The Verdict
It seems to be very easy to bash Uwe Boll over the quality of this movie, but to me it seems the blame for how bad it is lies in the laps of the scriptwriters. The girls are sexy, the blood is bloody, the zombies look good, and the action sequences are well filmed, but every single line of dialogue that comes out of the actor's mouths is pure crap. It's like a 'Best of…' of horror clichés put together to roughly resemble a script. The editor should be slapped as well, for leaving in some sequences where special effects are revealed, and not covered. I would have to say though, other than the script, my other big grip in this film is the segues that use footage from the game as a pause between scenes, and THAT takes away from the film as well. A bad, bad film and its sequel is not much better. Insulting.
Movie Score
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