House of the Dead should be six feet under

Oct. 13, 2003, midnight | By Melanie Thompson | 18 years, 7 months ago

If you seek a movie with a captivating storyline, shocking plot twists, original action sequences, and spooky thrills, then don't see House of the Dead.

There's a reason why this movie can't boast of critical praise in its TV commercials. Director Uwe Boll's House of the Dead is painfully unoriginal and boring. The screams of unintelligent teens scrambling away from zombies brings to mind every other C + horror movie ever made, except those were probably better.

House of the Dead is based on the popular Sega video game and takes place on an island notorious for being mysterious and dangerous (go figure). Regardless, a bunch of teens decided to hold a rave at that very spot. Five teens arrive late to find the party vacant and decide to look around. What they find horrifies them: They meet up with several survivors of a vicious attack by zombies, who inform them that most everyone is dead and that they are likely to be killed, too. Whoa, didn't see that coming!.

By now House of the Dead has accumulated the classic ensemble for a sub-par horror film: You've got Rudy, the handsome male lead (Jonathan Cherry), Alicia, the smart brunette (Ona Grauer), as well as the superficial male model, the wild Asian, the dumb blonde, and the black girl for a touch of diversity. Throw in the hard-hitting female police officer and the weird boat captain who just happen to have a collection of guns on them and the movie is now complete with a set of underdeveloped, ultimately doomed characters.

After a series of bad decisions (i.e. jumping into zombie-infested water), the group decides to take refuge in an old deserted house. Before they can get inside, though, they must fight their way through literally hundreds of zombies to reach it. Miraculously, these dim-witted teens become masters of fighting the undead with all kinds of guns, high karate kicks, and other Matrix-style moves. Not too realistic, but remember, this is based on a video game.

When they finally make it into the house, they realize that it is inhabited by Castillo (David Palffy), a scientist who came to this island long ago determined to conquer death, and that the house is being used as a zombie-making laboratory. Turns out Castillo needs the teen's bodies for more zombies. The only hope for Rudy and Alicia now is to kill Castillo before he can kill them.

What is really unfortunate about this movie is that it never has any potential. From the moment the open credits roll and Rudy begins to explain the story, the ending is obvious and viewers end up sitting through a 90-minute film that has been told time and time again. The lackluster acting doesn't help the situation. Cherry and Grauer are the highlights of the film, which isn't saying much when the rest of the cast plays stereotypical horror film figures instead of actual characters. The filmmakers are so concerned with making scary-looking monsters and fast-paced action sequences that Rudy and Alicia's characters aren't allowed to grow, and Cherry and Grauer's efforts are for nothing. As a result, you can't care about what happens to the characters.

The only high point in this movie the conclusion. Aside from the fact that the movie is finally over, the scriptwriters finally added an interesting element to the movie, which, despite how appealing it is, will probably lead to House of the Dead II, which is a bad thing. So in the end, nothing good comes out of this movie. This is supposed to be a horror flick, but there is zero suspense and the fights with the zombies are too in-your-face to be scary. There is such little plot that the movie is much like a shoot-‘em-up video game infused with too much rock music. Even if you're a fan of wasting your time on bad horror movies, House of the Dead is not worth seeing.

House of the Dead is rated R for pervasive strong violence/gore, language and some nudity.

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Melanie Thompson. Melanie Thompson is currently a junior in CAP and a page editor on Silver Chips. She enjoys hot baths, appearing aside famous stars in movies, and watching Agent Vaughn on Alias. A little known fact about Melanie is that she is a huge fan of … More »

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