First rule of movie making: Don’t make your movie based off a video game. Ask anyone who has had the pleasure of sitting through such cinematic classics like Double Dragon, Super Mario Bros, or Street Fighter, and sure enough you’ll get a large majority with the same response. “That was 2 hours of my life I’ll never have back.” Enter Uwe Boll’s “House of the Dead.”
A group of the most inept teenagers (played by complete unkowns) to ever walk the face of the planet decide on going to a rave party. Ironically, the party happens to be on one of those zombie infested islands you hear so much about in the papers. After paying a large sum of money to a guy (who just happens to be a weapons smuggler) to get them there, they arrive. Shockingly, beyond the audiences belief, everyone has dissapeared. Why, where have they gone? After a few get picked off, they end up at a house where the final showdown can begin.
Let’s get one thing straight right from the start. If you honestly went into this movie expecting anything more than what it was, your an honest to goodness idiot. I mean that. This is a completely brain dead, grade-Z zombie movie in its purest form. The acting is hilarious, the script even dumber, and the action never seems to stop. Every concievable camera trick is used somewhere in this movie, blatantly ripping off countless other decent films. Mr. Boll obviously found it interesting to splice in footage of the video game during the action sequences (note he couldn’t even pay to play the game since the words “free play” are seen flashing). Words cannot express how utterly illogical this is since they have nothing to do with the movie, and the movie has little to do with the game. They come fast and they come often no matter how jarring it may be.
If everything above wasn’t bad enough, the countless goofs and bad edits just make it worse. Camera tracks are very obvious in numerous shots, rain stops and starts again within a timespan of 3 seconds, and characters dissapear and re-appear when the camera cuts away from a shot. Strangley enough, even after all of this….I kinda enjoyed it all. This is as low as filmaking can go. At the begginning, it’s nothing more than a breast-fest. However, the insane amount of gore, priceless dialouge, and plain campy feel by the time it’s all over can easily be enjoyed by fans of low-bugedters. This is by no means good cinema and I certainly can’t recommened it to the masses, but the few of you out there know who you are. (** out of *****)
As it always seems to work out in the end, the worst movies get the best DVD’s. The picture here is nothing short of stunning for the most part. The absolute clarity of the daytime scenes rival an actual HDTV broadcast. I tried too. I sat with my face right against the glass, but there were no picture problems at all. Oddly, there are a few sequences that have excessive grain and really come out of nowhere. There are some flashback sequences that are aged on purpose, but the scenes I mention are not those. Otherwise, this is a masterful print a showcase disc during the daytime scenes. (****)
To go along with the amaing transfer, we get 2 sound choices. Dolby 5.1 EX and the much stronger (and meatier) DTS-ES 6.1. The inept techno/rap soundtrack really pumps out the bass and the countless shotgun blasts do the same. The rear channels are used extensively and add to the atmosphere this movie would otherwise lack completely. You’ll hear the zombies running throughout the island from all angles not to mention all the bullets whizzing by your head. The only problem is the awful soundtrack drowns out the other effects during the major action sequences. (****)
If you actually choose to watch the movie again, you’ll get a choice of 2 commentary tracks, one featuring good ol’ Uwe himself. There are 2 breif and stupid documetaries as well. One features the (and I quote) “sexy babes” of the film playing the arcade game and blasting stuntman with painballs in preparation for their oh so hard roles. The other looks at what it’s like to be a zombie and is somewhat entertaining, moreso that the babe feature. But wait, there’s more! In a msterwork of compression, you’ll get trailers from other Artisan movies, some deleted scenes, trailer for this film, and a product plug for Sega’s excellent Shinobi sequel: Nightshade. (***)
This is one of those guilty pleasure movies. You won’t dare admit to freinds or family that you actually found yourself enjoying this junk. Deep down though, you know the truth. Well, the truth is this is a bad movie, but in the back of your mind, you can’t help but giggle when you hear about it. Besides, you know your just itching for Uwe Bolls next 2 video game movies: Alone in the Dark and Bloodrayne. Joy!
Originally posted at Breaking Windows.