House Of The Dead (2003)

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Overall Rating 24%
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Ranked #2,812
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Connections: House Of The Dead

Set on an island off the coast, a techno rave party attracts a diverse group of college coeds and a Coast Guard officer. Soon, they discover that their X-laced escapades are to be interrupted by zombies and monsters that attack them on the ground, from the air, and in the sea, ruled by an evil entity in the House of the Dead. --TMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: September 5, 2004
A bunch of college kids decide to head off to an island, where the rave of the year is being held. Rounding out this group is Greg (William Sanderson) and his girlfriend Cynthia (Saloma Salomaa), along with Simon (Tyron Leitso), Alicia (Ona Grauer) and Karma (Enuka Okuma). When they get to the docks where they were supposed to be departing from, they find that the boat they were supposed to be taking has already left, and they're stranded. Not giving up on the rave of the year so easily, Greg locates a nearby fishing boat and offers Kirk (J├╝rgen Prochnow), the captain of the boat, and his skipper Salish (Clint Howard) one thousand dollars to take them off to the island. They're a bit hesitant to do so as that is known as the island of the dead and has some nasty stories behind it, but for a thousand dollars, they oblige. As they're about to pull off from the dock, a patrol-woman by the name of Casper (Ellie Cornell) pulls up and wants to search the boat for guns and drugs. Kirk pulls out of there with the quickness, and it's off to the island they go. Upon arriving at the island, they find that the scene of the rave is deserted, along with some bloody clothes on the ground. Thinking nothing of it, they start their own little party, which is soon interrupted by a few zombies. By this time, Casper has shown up on the scene and they all decide to take refuge in a nearby house, where they meet up with Liberty (Kira Clavell), Rudy (Jonathan Cherry) and a camera-guy whose name I missed. These three tell our heroes what happened during the rave, and it's zombie action from there on out.

Surely, you can't go too wrong with this storyline; you have a large number of people on an island with loads of zombies, which is a simple yet effective storyline that I personally never tire of. However, this movie falls apart far too quickly, due to a very large number of fuck-ups throughout the running time. First up, the storyline itself and the character decisions are quite stupid and unrealistic. Now, I realize that stupid decisions are a staple in a large number of horror films, but this movie tops just about every other laughable decision in any other film, ever. For example, upon arriving at the scene of what is supposed to be the rave of the year with hundreds in attendance and finding everybody missing, with the props and setup destroyed, and then seeing some bloody clothes on the ground, I don't think that my personal first reaction would be to run towards the keg and start screwing my girlfriend on the stage... but then, maybe I'm just the odd one here. The characters presented here aren't much better, with the obligatory pity-on-the-injured-character scene going towards Simon, a male underwear model who believes that he now belongs in a circus freak show due to having a cut on his cheek. He ends up becoming so distraught over this simple cut, that he sacrifices himself to help the rest of the crew. If that's not bad enough for you, throw in the fact that after a few moments of being schooled by Captain Kirk on the fine art of marksmanship, everybody in the group becomes expert sharpshooters, weapon-handlers, and martial artists. Again, I realize that guns and kung-fu action are becoming a staple in action films, but the way it was handled here was completely unrealistic. Only one character (Alicia) had any sort of explanation for being so skilled, and that was a mere mention of her being into fencing. Wrapping things up in this category, we have the final revelation of the master zombie that's running things on the island. While it's a given that boss-zombies tend to suck in movies such as this, the idea has been successfully done in other films. Without even going into the laughable storyline and lame character-handling, I do believe that it's usually a good idea to give your main villain more on-screen time and have his main fight-scene, put together, last a bit longer than his short back-story.

No matter how bad the character may be, a good actor could raise the enjoyability up a notch. That's a given, but sadly, you won't find any of that here either. The best parts of the cast here were the ones who were barely tolerable, with the best acting award going to Clint Howard (Salish) for the laughability factor. When the best character in your movie is someone with a small bit-part that is only enjoyable due to the extreme cornball factor, well, something's not quite right there. Tyron Leitso (Simon) is the male underwear model whose life has been ruined due to his now-hideous face, and while the lines he's speaking would imply that he is almost suicidal over all of this, his tone of voice would imply that he'd just spilled his soda and is a bit annoyed over that. Ona Grauer (Alicia) tends to forget what frame of mind she's supposed to be in from scene to scene, as one second she'll be the bad-ass lead female, and in a split second, she'll be crying over the hopelessness of the situation. Giving some emotion to a character isn't a bad thing mind you, but when I say split second, I'm not exaggerating. Thankfully, her rather large, unholstered bouncing breasts made her much more watchable. Ellie Cornell (Casper) also fell victim to the no-sort-of-tone problem, with all her lines seeming to be phoned in with no sort of effort whatsoever. Every situation she's in and every line she gives sounds less enthusiastic than say, a cashier telling you your total at your local McDonalds. Enuka Okuma (Karma) is your typical black-girl-in-a-horror film, being the buddy to the other females and coming off as being general zombie fodder. All of this changes, however, when she becomes the bad-ass two-gun-slinging zombie killer. Sadly though, her general demeanor and attitude doesn't change to fit the character at this point, and we end up with what would appear to be a combination between a Clueless valley-girl and Eric Draven. Moving on, we have Kira Clavell (Liberty), your typical Asian martial-arts expert. We sure do have a lot of stereo-types going here, don't we? She was quite the hot lady, so all of that can be forgiven.

I will give some credit to this film, as there were a (very) few things that deserved it. The idea of having zombies in various stages of decay, with the freshly-killed running zombies and the old, shambling zombies, was a good one that hasn't been done as much as you'd think it would. The effects on some of the zombies were decent enough, though nothing very ground-breaking or original. When the blood starts to finally flow around the end of the film, that's also done well enough; but sadly, during most of the human kills, the camera cuts away before we actually see any type of bloodshed or death. The main battle-scene which has the aforementioned blood-flow is done nicely, though it could have done without all of the dated Matrix effects; the camera-trailing-the-bullet was done decently enough with a bit of originality, but the back-bending to avoid said bullets and the camera-revolving-around-the-character were flat-out uninspired ripoffs.

In conclusion, this movie definitely is not worth the time it takes to view it, which is surprising due to the large number of admittedly-bad zombie films that I've still been able to enjoy to an extent. You could cut this movie down to the brief cameo of Bif Naked, a few shots of the ever-so-hot Liberty running around, Alicia's grand breast-bouncing scenes, and about half of the final battle, and only then would you have an enjoyable film. Until that request has been fulfilled by some DVD distributor, avoid this one at all costs. 3/10 for the very few small perks to the film.
A FIRE INSIDE #1: A FIRE INSIDE - added October 26, 2004 at 12:56am
The only good part is the small amount of nudity that it offers. Other than that, definatly should stay away from it.
Placebo13 #2: Placebo13 - added June 21, 2005 at 2:21pm
It seemed more like the trailer for a video game than anything else.
BuryMeAlive #3: BuryMeAlive - added March 26, 2007 at 10:39am
I heard it was called the worst movie ever, so I had to rent it. It sure is one of the worst movies ever.
Lucid Dreams #4: Lucid Dreams - added February 28, 2010 at 5:29pm
Agreed this is by far one of the worst movies I have ever seen, they show this damn thing on syfy all the time. Anyways Uwe Boll should be put to jail with all this damn movies he makes. 1/10
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