If you’re like me and spend more time indoors than taking in the (lack of) sun, you’ve likely been bored since the ball dropped to ring in the New Year. The Hollywood dump months have been held true to their fecal related name and have only released a handful of quality films to watch. John Wick’s return was stellar, while the new Rings movie made people recoil in horror for paying to see a bad movie. The way I see it, if I’m going to see a bad movie, it might as well cost only a dollar at the local pawn shop. Enter “The House of the Dead” and recoil in horror, for the movie may be low on price but not in schlock.
John Wick’s return was stellar, while the new “Ring” movie made people recoil in horror for paying to see a bad movie. The way I see it, if I’m going to see a bad movie, it might as well cost only a dollar at the local pawn shop. Enter “The House of the Dead” and recoil in horror, for the movie may be low on price but not in schlock.
The plot of HotD is a simple one really. A group of friends wants to hire a ferry for transportation to an island that is hosting a rave. This SEGA-sponsored rave is gaining its stride and its not-so-young adult attendees are getting down like you or I probably would: terribly. There is only one problem for the people in this rave, and our protagonists arrive upon its aftermath. Everyone is gone, and few signs of foul play are able to be found.
Unless of course, you’re an intelligent character, which our main cast thankfully does not suffer from at all. This movie doesn’t fall, rather does a cannon ball into “How do you do fellow kids” territory by having a third of our starting cast as a bunch of horny idiots: a jock and a blond airhead, with an IQ of roughly 150 split between them. I mean, a rave where a potential massacre took place is just the kind of environment to make anyone jump someone’s bones. Unfortunately for these two horror clichés, the bone jumping will be done by the main enemies of HotD, the titular Dead. The blond is taken and presumed alive, but we know better.
I won’t attempt to introduce the main cast of this movie, except for two of them. They’re all expendable and are not going to see this movie to its bad end. It’s also out of necessity, because this movie likes to give prominence to previously introduced characters or entirely new ones seemingly at random. I hope you don’t get attached to the videographer character, because he doesn’t last long. No, only the idiotic, annoying, or dull characters get to live.
I am going to skip to the main fight sequence in the movie, because it is honestly my favorite act. I say act and I mean it. The fight lasts ungodly long and goes through two to three songs of the soundtrack before we finally enter the titular House of the Dead. The structuring of this fight must be discussed, because it is utterly hilarious how terrible it is.
First, intermittently throughout the overextended gun fighting, you will see brief slices of gameplay from the actual House of the Dead arcade game. They don’t sync up most of the time, and each clip of the game you can clearly see ‘Insert Coin.’ They couldn’t even be bothered to rip off their own gameplay session and ripped the Attract Mode reel. Perhaps they were terrible shots.
The second piece of this fight sequence worth noting is each character has a “hero moment,” where the character is stationary while the camera rotates around the characters like they have their own gravitational pull. It is so out of place. It looks like it belongs in a bad anime series. In stark contrast to the importance this kind of cutaway conveys, the actions the chosen character performs after their “hero moment” usually end up with you thinking: “That’s it?”
If you’ve played video games since the early 2000s or even father back, you’ve heard of the director: Uwe Boll, famous for making terrible video game adaptation movies. His filmography includes “Alone in the Dark,” “Postal,” “BloodRayne,” “Far Cry,” and “In the Name of the King.” If you’ve ever unknowingly gone to any of these movies, you have my condolences. It takes a certain kind of person to watch them without wondering what you’re doing with your life.
Boll was able to pump out these terrible films with the unwitting backing of the German government, thanks to a now-closed tax loophole. It’s funny to me that the only benefit his films have brought was the correction of an exploit he famously abused, because the only solace of these films existing is how massive bombs they were in the box office. The massive losses of investments into these films, plus the reputation they gained have placed a permanent red mark on Boll’s directorship. Game companies have flat out refused his offers, and his attempts to crowdfund sequels have been met with overwhelming apathy.
In summation, this film is perfect as a comedy and nothing more. If you go in expecting a prime horror experience, you’ll laugh at the movie too, albeit only in disbelief.