Review: “House of the Dead”

How do films like these get made for video, let alone the wide theatrical run this load of shite got (no wonder Artisan went under). If nothing else, ‘Dead’ serves up what you’d expect from a video game adaptation – absolutely no script, a cast of various young unknowns with one or two classic veterans struggling for a paycheck thrown in, tons of self-referential and utterly flat gags (from a ‘Romero’ reference to Prochnow playing ‘Capt. Kirk’), and a ton of cheap gore.

Admittedly there’s something else too – tits, and quite a few of them. Breasts are on display every few minutes and more often than not they prove less artificial than the rest of the movie (all hail to a film that at least promotes natural jumbly-wumblys).

Bad zombie horror films like “Resident Evil” at least tried to have a cohesive story, good looking leads, some cool sets and Michelle Rodriguez in a fun bad girl routine.

‘House’ is a long step down from ‘Resident’ – both Clint Howard and Jurgen Prochnow reach new lows in their careers and they’re the best characters, the rest are totally forgettable actors who combine bad dialogue, bad delivery and just woeful roles (check out how badly written some of the ‘dumb guy’ stuff is) with the bad makeup and cheesy techno music. The zombie makeup in particular is quite astonishingly shocking – even “Ghosts of Mars” had more convincing work than this. Also, what in the hell is with the constant quick cuts to images from the computer game – ugh.

So with no laughs, no script, cheap gore, and no characters – the scares should save it right? Well sure, if there were any. There’s no emphasis on atmosphere or suspense, and the cinematography doesn’t help. There’s a nice little action sequence set around the water about halfway in, and a half-smile inducing ‘arm these busty chicks’ sequence, but that’s followed by a cheap setup about the legend of the ‘zombie Dr. Frankenstein’ responsible for all the reanimated corpses and dud action shootout scenes with heavy revolving camera tricks which become so quick cut even Michael Bay after a heavy night would find nauseating.

As films go this is a real struggle even for devotees of the genre. Hard core zombie movie fans will feel cheated and maybe insulted by the lack of quality here, pity as they’re the ONLY ones this is geared for. As for talk of a sequel, give me a break.