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Do you think my zombie makeup looks
like some kid drew magic marker all
over my face?  If you do, just tell me. 

House of the Dead
Review written by: Alex Sandell

House of the Dead feels like a bunch of wealthy gamers put their trust funds together and created a schlocky low-budget tribute to one of the games they found so dear.  The video game didn't have much of a story to begin with.  It consisted of shooting zombies with a "lightgun."  Sometimes you got to shoot "boss" zombies.  You needed good aim to re-kill one of those walking dead.  Zombies walked toward you throughout the game, making that constipated moaning kind of noise that the undead make.  That's really all there was to the source material that this movie is based on.  It's sort of like basing a movie on the message in a fortune cookie.

Why not?  The dialogue in the film is no better than anything found inside one of the prophetic treats.  The acting is bad enough to make the bad dialogue sound even worse.  Think the voice-acting in the game.  It really gets that lousy.  Ellie Cornell (horror diehards may remember her from Halloween 4 and 5, when she only kind of sucked) is so superlatively horrid as the tough-talking, gun-toting, Jordan Casper, it's hard not to cringe whenever she opens her mouth. 

The rest of the actors go out of their way to suck hard enough to make Cornell feel better about the job she's doing as an actress, but as sub par as they are, they still manage to do a little bit better than the star of the show.  I can't remember an "event" film with this much shitty acting smeared all over it.  Okay, let's not count Attack of the Clones.  That just isn't fair (have you watched that pile of crap on HBO, lately?  My GAWD is it awful.). 

With two screenwriters one would think that at least a few decent lines would flop out of a character's mouth.  No such luck.  There is a reference to zombie master George A. Romero and his rumored fourth Dead film, Twilight of the Dead, but the comment is outdated, seeing as how Romero has already stated that, although he may do another Dead flick, it will not be titled, Twilight.  Maybe Brunch of the Dead?  Anything would be better than the rubbish zombie fans have had to endure this year -- from the art-house rip-off 28 Days Later to the video game retread, House of the Dead.

But House of the Dead Director Uwe Boll does show that he's a hardcore fan of the game, even if he thinks the World Series is actually a bowling tournament.  For a brief moment I thought I would enjoy this film, when there was a Sega sign at the destroyed Island rave.  Uwe is giving props to the game that made his film. 

German Director, Uwe Boll -- possibly lost in translation (maybe he can be Governor of California, one day) -- doesn't know when to stop giving props to the game and start creating a unique film.  In many of the key action scenes, Boll edits in actual clips taken from the House of the Dead game.  Once or twice, it does work -- in a gimmicky sort of way.  "I killed that exact same zombie!" my geeky self screamed.  By about the 300th time it occurs, it becomes really fucking overdone.  Even my geeky self shut the hell up.

The movie is nothing more than a product placement for the next installment in the House of the Dead videogame series.  It's ironic that, after watching this film, not a person in hell would fork out cash for the product.   Maybe the XBOX will fail, after-all.  That would be neat.  Stupid XBOX.  The GameCube is a superior console in nearly every way.  At least if you buy your consoles for the games, and not the whistles and bells.

There isn't a single scary moment in House of the Dead.  It starts out like an early Friday the 13th, only without the suspense the first couple of F13 films contained.  It ends as some sort of lousy hybrid of Frankenstien and Night of the Living Dead.  Not a single scene is original.  Not one moment will give you shivers or keep you up at night.  It does have a lot of heavy metal music, though, if you get into that sort of stuff.  It even has a song about the movie playing during the actual movie (rather than the credits).  Talk about wrecking your suspension of disbelief.  The last time I remember this happening in a horror film, was in Friday the 13th Part 6:  Jason LivesAlice Cooper was singing "The Man behind the Mask" as the camp described the man behind the mask.  Hmm.

My girlfriend wants me to mention that the movie has "a few good sets" and isn't bad, if you just need "a good laugh." That's not the ringing-est of endorsements, but I see her point.  If you want to laugh at massively junky filmmakers turning out a massively junky film, this is your movie! Personally, I'd recommend dusting off your Dreamcast, locating your lightgun and shooting zombies to your heart's content. You'll have a better time than you will with this tepid film.  You don't need a good director, plot or actors to have fun shooting ugly monsters on your television screen for a couple of hours.

On a scale of 1-10?

3

What does this rating mean?  Everyone rates things differently.  Your "5" could be my "7," or vice-versa.  Find out what MY rating means by clicking here

Agree? Disagree? Feeling bored and wanna write a letter that you'll probably never get a response to?  Email me at alex@juicycerebellum.com 

Coming soon -- Reviews of The Matrix Revolutions, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Runaway Jury!

Other recent film reviews on THE JUICY CEREBELLUM (click on a film's title to go to its review):

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Kill Bill

Mystic River

The Rundown

Cold Creek Manor

The Fighting Temptations

Underworld

Once Upon a Time in Mexico

Lost in Translation

Cabin Fever

Jeepers Creepers 2

MOVIE POSTERS

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Text (Copyright) 2003 Alex Sandell [All Rights Reserved].