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The House of the Dead
2003 - R - 90 Mins.
Director: Uwe Boll
Producer: Mark Altman, Dan Bates, Uwe Boll, Dan Clarke, Mark Gottwald
Written By: Mark Altman and Dave Parker
Starring: Jonathan Cherry, Tyron Leitso, Clint Howard, Ona Grauer, Ellie Cornell
Review by: Joe Rickey
   
An adaptation of the hit videogame of the same name, The House of the Dead is a big misfire of a film. Chief among its problems include shoddy production values and Z grade performances by a cast of mostly unknowns along with frequent misconceptions in directorial style by German director Uwe Boll (direct-to-video film Blackwoods).

The plot involves a group of college age kids who come to a remote island in order to have what they hope will be a party for the ages. It doesn’t take long for them to be discovered by the undead denizens of the island. It soon becomes a fight for survival as they go to war against the zombies. The film stars Jonathan Cherry (Final Destination 2), Tyron Leitso (My Life Without Me), Clint Howard (Little Nicky) and Ona Grauer (The Lizzie McGuire Movie).

Uwe Boll must like his videogames. How else to explain his propensity to direct videogame based films? Along with The House of the Dead he has the sequel in development even before the original has been released. That’s not all. He is directing the Alone in the Dark adaptation starring Christian Slater and Tara Reid. It’s really too bad since he doesn’t illustrate in The House of the Dead any sense of skill. I pray that he develops some before Alone in the Dark is made since it has promise that deserves to be realized.

The House of the Dead is a combination of a horror film in the vein of Night of the Living Dead and a stylized action film. All done on a low budget and it shows. The effects are extremely cut rate with the zombies obviously no more than extras with make-up haphazardly applied. The explosions even suffer from the lack of a sufficient budget allowed for the film, as they aren’t convincing in the least.

Director Boll directs with very little in the way of subtlety. Every other action sequence seems to have a slow-motion ingredient, as he must be a big fan of The Matrix because the bullet time effect is used again and again in The House of the Dead and it quickly grows tiresome. When will directors realize that bullet time is no longer new and exciting and therefore stop utilizing it? Think of some new way of directing action sequences for gosh sakes. Boll doesn’t slow the film down very often for plot exposition, which while not conducive to character development, might actually be a blessing in disguise in this case.

The reason is that both the screenplay and the actors delivering the lines are, to say the least, dreadful. The screenplay is full of clichés and strange attempts at humor that far from work in the context of the film. The actors all seem to have just been pulled off the street without any prior experience, as they are each thoroughly unconvincing in their respective roles.

Overall, The House of the Dead is chock full of overused ideas and therefore not worth your time unless you want to see what could end up being one of the worst films of the year
 
Movie Guru Rating
A train wreck.  So bad some may find it unintentionally entertaining.
  1 out of 5 stars

 
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