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House of the Dead - Video Game Film Review - Film Month Print E-mail
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Written by Christophor "SuperGuido" Rick   
Saturday, 01 September 2007

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Well apparently it's Uwe Boll weekend at my place as House of the Dead (2003) is the second of his films I have watched already and I have another in the queue I think. But this film was far better than Bloodrayne which I talked about yesterday. This film had action and good music, naked women, zombies and quirky characters, like Clint Howard as the crotchety old sailor Salish. I honestly didn't know what to expect going into this even though I have played the games and knew it was a zombie film. But hey, who doesn't like zombies right? They even reference the 'holy trinity - night, dawn and day,' (which is, as of 2005 a tetrology) way to pay homage to the man who re-invented zombie flicks! Now onto the film review!

 

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 3Ok so the plot has enough holes to drown it in knee-deep water, but what do you expect from a movie that was based on a video game where you basically just shot the unliving crap out of reanimated corpses? A bunch of university students, Rudy even states he's in Med school as proof, want to go to the rave of the century. That rave is of course being held on an island off the shores of Seattle. Technically the San Juan Islands are north of Seattle and fairly close to Canada as in butt up against it, but whatever.

There are boats that are to take them but they miss the boat, so they hire another boat captained by Captain Victor Kirk a shady 'u-boat pilot' (Jürgen Prochnow) and Salish, a crotchety old sailor in a yellow rain jacket and hat (Clint Howard)house+of+the+dead+2 who both turn in splendid performances, all things considered. So Simon the dumb pretty boy pays for them to get to the island against the better judgement of Salish. Greg, not much brighter, makes the joke "where's Mr. Spock?" which is answered with a large knife being pulled. It was a gag that had to be done I suppose but really it wasn't believable. So they get to the island and while Alicia, played by the beautiful and talented Ona Grauer, realizes something is wrong. Did I mention she's both beautiful AND talented, and beautiful? Well the others are too stupid to see the blood on the shirt she holds up and so they are, as all characters are in horror/survival films, shit out of luck and dumb as stumps for the most part.

Alright, now that you're up to speed let's get to the nitty gritty of it. Sometimes the dialogue just sounds like stupid chatter and totally unnecessary, much like a lot of dialogue in real life. I don't think it needed to be there, but it would have been strange if they didn't say much to each other. Surprisingly, to me anyway, the characters were believable from the "not in the face" Simon (Tyron Leitso) to the Dumb Blonde Cynthia (Sonya Salomaa). Stereotypical? Yes. Believable? Doubly so. But not all the characters are negative stereotypes, though the Asian woman, OnaGrauer5Liberty (Kira Clavell), does do some nifty martial arts moves and the large-breasted woman handles a sword really well. Did I mention she's beautiful AND talented? OK, I will try and not turn this into an Ona Grauer love-fest, it will be difficult but I promise I will try. Rudy (Jonathan Cherry) I found to be just downright cool and of course he's the link into the game and the next film. As the action continues the characters even managed to be developed a little and when Simon's redemption act comes I am not so surprised, though I still think he's a knob. The captain's self-sacrifice was far more believable because he loved his 'little buddy' and wanted some revenge on those acid spitting zombies, with a stick of dynamite BOOM!

They even managed to use some foreshadowing in the very beginning that becomes relevant near the end when I was thinking 'how does she know how to sword fight...oh wait, she studies fencing.' Way to "show the gun/use the gun" on that one, it was so subtle I almost missed it. But I must admit I hate seeing really hot chicks die in a sword fight because it just seems like such a waste to me. See, I developed attachment to the characters it seems.

hotd_04-371 Some other cinematic techniques in the film were really cool as well like the (now overused) 360 degree camera shots and the scene transitions using brief bits from the game. Some people have said it's stupid and doesn't relate to the film but they fail to realize the film is about the world the game takes place in. So what if it doesn't directly correlate, it was cool I thought. But some were borderline annoying like the mega-montages when someone died or at the end of the magnificently shot, although a little dragged out, 'rush the house' scene. I was totally confused by it at first and was annoyed that it was there.

The soundtrack to the film was good as well. The "Fury (House of the Dead)" song for the same 'rush the house' scene was appropriate as was the high energy techno music. 

Some flaws:

  • Guys who never used guns are shooting machine pistols sideways like gangsters. Well,  that's believable, but they were doing it one-handed and accurate.
  • The cop holsters her pistol because it's out of ammo. Then in the next scene pulls it and fires. So it's like the game, aim the gun off screen and it reloads.
  • The cop gets her legs freakin hacked off and when he pulls her in the window there's almost no blood under her. There should have been at least a couple liters dripping out from that I think. The only place blood is under done in the whole film.
  • Salish is killed on the island, but the small boat is not on the beach. Did he swim?
  • The M-16 rifle sounded like an M-60.
  • Greg is covered in shit, literally, and never even bothers to clean it off or take off the soiled shirt. I call bullshit!
  • There is a flickering electric light in the flashback to like 1600 or something.

 Overall I liked the film and wanted to watch it to the end. I liked the fact that the rave had a big SEGA banner (they published the game if you didn't know) on the stage. 

bM2315-EricaParker@HouseOfTheDeadMy rating: 70% 

 It's not a perfect film but it's entertaining and relates to the game well. I found the characters were likable/ hatable and most of the acting was played well enough. It's worth a rent and makes me what to go play the game. It's not scary exactly but it's good. Sure all the zombies look similar, but you have seen the game right? Did I mention it has several naked women in it? That's always good for a few points and a necessity in zombie flicks.

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Last Updated ( Monday, 03 September 2007 )

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