House of the Dead Review
Written by: thegoldensimatar
By now people cringe at the mentioning of House of the Dead or at its director Uwe Boll. Both he and his movies have recieved bashing so intense it would make the Mongol invasion of China look like a walk in the park. Now, in this review I will defend Uwe Boll in some cases and in others critize.
We all know the story, centuries ago a Spanish ship wrecked upon the island carrying a crazy priest. Fast forward to now the rave of the year is going on the very same island. A bunch of good looking stupid college kids missed the boat and charter a grimy fishing boat owned by Jurgen Prochnow. They get to the island, rave taken over by zombies, big gunfight as it seems Prochnow is into gun running. And that crazy priest? He made the zombies by some unexplained experiments.
As with any movie, it all starts with an idea and then a screenplay. To make a good movie, you must have a strong screenplay. Dave Parker's and Mark A. Altman's screenplay for House of the Dead is very weak. It is a story we have all heard, party plus college teens intent on sex and booze and they get killed by monsters. On this point, I think the movie fails. Instead of providing a more in depth and interesting story what you have is just your run of the mill teenagers-monsters movie with just lots of guns added into it.
I can understand if Parker and Altman were trying to reach the teenage audience, but doing so the maturity and depth of many classic horror films like Day of the Dead or is lost. House of the Dead is a film that died at screenplay stage. Even horror icons like George A. Romero, Joe Dante, Tobe Hooper, or Stuart Gordon could not make this film better than it was.
Though, with all video game adaptions you cannot do a one to one conversion. Fans balked at Paul W.S Anderson's Resident Evil because it did not have Jill or Chirs. Many fans want a one-to-one movie but that is just no possible. Then the fans know what will happen and many would then start complaining that it is too close to the video game. In terms of House of the Dead, though the story is a prequel and not a one-to-one conversion, Altman and Parker certainly could have done a better job.
Acting wise, it is not bad it is not great. It is just average. The actors say their lines with little or no emotion or in some cases overact. Jurgen Prochnow is the only one who seems to be doing a good job with his character. Every scene he is in is a joy to watch. The German accent, the way he carries himself, and apparent joy in his eyes it seems like he is liking doing a different role than normal. Other than Prochnow, the other actors need a little more work before moving onto more mature roles.
Onto who some people call the modern day Ed Wood. On this, I am split on. Uwe Boll does have some neat ideas and camera shots with House. The roatating camera around the actors is something you really don't seem much. Though, doing for every actor or many close up battles does get a bit tiresome. The video game sequences, if you listen to the DVD commentary, Boll says all in all it equals to only about a minute of movie time. It is not what people say of 'it is half the movie' stuff.
Working with a small budget of less than ten million dollars, I think he did a good job with what he had. House of the Dead is Boll's first video game movie and though he did not do a great job he did a pretty decent job with it. Though, he obviously needs more work before he will be able to get some of the bad reports off him. Like first time directors, Boll comes enters this genre a rookie and it might take a film or two before he gets his bearings.
The zombies, they are runners and they have weapons. Swords, clubs, maces, axes, but no firearms. They are not as detailed as those in the remake of Dawn of the Dead or George A. Romero's Land of the Dead but for this tiny budget film I am thankful they didn't paint everyone grey and put cornmeal on their face. There are also two different zombies we haven't seen in any other movie. A water zombie which looks like a water logged, slightly bloated, net wearing person and a moss zombie with is what is sounds like. A zombie coated in a thick moss layer. You do have exploding heads every once in a while with the zombies and when they explode...they explode! Blood and gore everywhere.
House of the Dead is a like a mistake we made as a child and wish to forget but it keeps following us. House will follow Uwe Boll for the rest of his film career and in ways it is a sad thing. Though comparing previous films to a director's new film is common, with Uwe Boll people never break free of this movie and enter his new film with a clear mind.
In the end, if you are looking for a film to kill ninty minutes with some fun action and some cute girls, House of the Dead is a worth while rental.