HOUSE OF THE DEAD (2003) review – Halloween Special 2018

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It’s Halloween month, y’all, and you know what that means! It’s time to catch up on our favorite horror movies and gear up for Halloween! Last year, I did a Halloween special where I reviewed some of my favorite horror, or Halloween-appropriate movies and I had so much fun doing that, I wanted to do it again. Sadly, I don’t like a lot of horror movies, so my pool of material is about as deep as a puddle in summer in California. So in order to rectify this, I’ve reached out to the deepest and darkest corners of the internet and asked for a little help. And by that, I mean I went on Facebook. So, a very special thanks to the Movie Talk community, as well as my friends and co-workers, for your horror movie suggestions. I won’t be able to get to every single recommendation, but you’ve all left me with great ideas and there’s always next year! This is my Halloween Special 2018!

Ahhh, good ole Uwe Boll. A true modern Ed Wood. For those of you that don’t know, that’s not a compliment. Boll is primarily famous for adapting video games in absolutely god-awful films. As in, if you thought DOOM, MAX PAYNE, or the Resident Evil franchise was bad, then you haven’t seen any of Boll’s films. While many will simply consider them the worst of the worst, I personally seen them as so bad that they’re good. The way people gush about TROLL 2, or THE ROOM, that’s my reaction toward a Boll film.

Cast: Jonathan Cherry (KIN [2018], and the upcoming SUPERGRID [2018]), Ona Grauer (VAN HELSING [2016 – ongoing], and the upcoming COME TO DADDY [2019]), Ellie Cornell (HOUSE OF THE DEAD 2 [2005]), Jürgen Prochnow (HITMAN: AGENT 47 [2015], and the upcoming RADEGUND [2018]), David Palffy (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of)

Director: Uwe Boll (BLOODRAYNE [2005] and FAR CRY [2008])
Writers: Dave Parker (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of) and Mark A. Altman (stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of)
Composer: Reinhard Besser (ALONE IN THE DARK [2005])
Cinematographer: Mathias Neumann (FAR CRY and BLOODRAYNE: DELIVERANCE [2007])
Editor: David M. Richardson (IN THE NAME OF THE KING: A DUNGEON SIEGE TALE [2007])

This is my honest opinion of: HOUSE OF THE DEAD



A group of friends are attempting to reach the island called Isla del Morte where the rave of the year is happening . They miss the official boat that goes to the island, but they enlist the help of Captain Victor Kirk (Jürgen Prochnow), a smuggler by trade, to take them instead, who is also pursued by police officer Jordan Casper (Ellie Cornell). By the time they arrive, however, the rave area is completely abandoned. Upon investigation, they meet up with their friend Rudy (Jonathan Cherry) who relays what happened: an undead attack. When they get attacked, it becomes a fight for survival.


After fifteen years, this movie is as terrible as I remember and it’s as hilariously entertaining as always. This movie has given me so many great memories and they continue to do so.

Before you ask, no, this movie has absolutely nothing to do with the games, but do the games really set some kind of bar of high art? Anyway, the movie is actually nothing more than a standard zombie romp through a forest, but what separates this movie from other bad zombie movies of its kind is just how relentless the bad writing and directing are.

Just take a look at the first thirty seconds. Literally. I timed this shit. The first lines of dialog are, “It was a nightmare. So many victims. So many dead people. I came here for a rave. But now all I smell is death.” Already, we have a horrible script and terrible acting. And the fun is only getting started. The opening titles… are horrible outlines of actual footage from the arcade game. This is a confusing choice because the movie is not above putting actual foot from the game inside the movie to signify transitioning between scenes. Yes, you are indeed reading that right. This movie puts in footage from the game and it has absolutely NOTHING to do with ANYTHING. But we’ll get there. As soon as the credits are done being indiscernible, then we’re introduced to most of the main cast: the jerkish Greg (Will Sanderson), the pretty-but-stupid Simon (Tyron Leitso), hot blond Cynthia (Sonya Salomaa), hot fencing bad-ass Alicia (Ona Grauer), and token black chick Karma (Enuka Okuma). What makes them so special? Quite literally, the narration tells you that they all die. So already you know not to get invested in these characters, but really, the movie doesn’t give you a reason to invest in them anyway. These are the first couple scenes, yo! There’s a whole “movie” ahead!

From this point on, it’s all a glorious dumpster fire. Terrible directing includes seeing springboards that stunt people use, characters literally walking into a situation only to get themselves attacked. Gratuitous tits on a couple of occasions. And seriously, poor Grauer during the climax of this movie. I mean, nothing that bad happens, but she’s got bouncing boobies for days and I feel like the camera shows that just a little too obviously. Exploitation up the ass, man. Thank God she went on to do more notable shit. I think out of the entire cast, she’s the only one who went on to do anything… mildly worth knowing about. The humor, if you can even call it that, is so bad that I laugh at it. When you have characters on a boat, it’s pretty standard that at least one of them gets seasick. So Greg vomits all over Cynthia, but Salomaa gives such a terrible reaction to the moment that it looks like she’s laughing. The importance of multiple takes with different reactions, folks. Oh and how many times to characters need to ask what a house is? Seriously, there’s two or three moments in this movie where a character sees the supposed “house of the dead” and ask, “What is that?” It’s… a house. A very old house, but it’s a house. I don’t even know how anyone could mistake it for anything else. It’s made even worse when Alicia calls a pair of lit torches “candles.” Oh, and Simon refers to himself in the third person more than a few times in this stupid movie. College students, my Peruvian ass. All the while, footage from the video game is spliced into the movie for no reason at all. And so many zombies mug for the camera. Oh, and did you know that in the 15th century, ships totally carried electrical lamps. Yes, history fucking lied to all of you saps.

And that glorious ten minute action scene. Terrible rap, pointless visuals, inaccuracies regarding firearms (shotguns don’t fire a single giant bullet that breaks up into smaller bullets of the same shape), and college dumb-asses who just suddenly know how to use firearms thanks to a single twenty second long training montage… which is basically just everyone suiting up. Oh, and if a skinny black girl who has to ask what a house is can duel-wield Desert Eagles, then I’m going to tell you to keep taking your medication, bro. Thankfully, her pistols are actually customized Jericho 941s and are incorrectly referred to as Desert Eagles. I’m not a gun expert, but even I knew that (granted, I had to look up what a Jericho 941 was).

Overall, yes, this movie is a dumpster fire of a movie. It’s terrible. It’s horrible. It’s every negative adverb and adjective that you can think of and this movie earns them all. With all that said, that’s why I get so giddy with excitement over it. Every time you think the movie is going to fizzle out and just bore you, it does something refreshingly idiotic to bring you back in to see it through. I love it. I don’t know how many people agree, but I own this movie on DVD and want to own it on Blu-Ray. Surprise, surprise, it doesn’t exist, making this one of my most prized movies that I own. I’m in love. As a recommendation, hell yeah I say you should see this! Just go in knowing that it’s a piece of shit.

My honest rating for HOUSE OF THE DEAD: 5/5


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