Gort vs crap zombies: We review Uwe Boll's House of The Dead

Stardate 16082012.2:

I was trapped. Imprisoned in the body of a frog by my mutinous crew (bastards), I now found myself locked in the Black Dog Armada's torture chamber, The Bunker of Shun. The dismal, dank pit was filled with monitors playing schlock Uwe Boll movie House of The Dead on a loop.

I actually quite enjoy House of The Dead, so it wasn't really that unpleasant. I mean, at least I didn't have to deal with Gort's cooking. In fact, the food was pretty decent, and I'd slept in worse beds at Travelodges. All in all, life was pretty sweet.

Still, he tasks me. He tasks me and I shall have him! I'll chase him 'round the moons of Nibia and 'round the Antares Maelstrom and 'round Perdition's flames before I give him up! I must find a way back to the Mothership to take it back from the evil Commander Walter and give Gort a damn good hiding. I must find a way to escape.

At that moment, the door to the Bunker of Shun creaked open.

To be continued...

House of The Dead is infamous as the movie that launched Uwe Boll into the hearts of movie masochists like a zombie off a mini trampoline. All from a flick that was allegedly only made as a tax dodge.

The film is based on the Sega arcade games of the same name and attempts to be a subtle prequel to them. We open with a group of loose-moraled teens on their way to a deserted island to take part in the rave event of the year. Despite copious covert copulation going on, this Sega-sponsored gathering appears to have attracted about 30 people. One of the over-sexed attendees is none other than modern Lois Lane, Erica Durance of Smallville in her first role. After prancing about in nothing more than a G-string for several minutes, she goes hunting for her boyfriend and stumbles across the titular house.

Now, to call this dwelling The House of The Dead is a little grandiose, since it appears to be made of driftwood and about the size of a small cornershop. In fact, Wendyhouse of The Dead would be more appropriate. Durance meets her instant demise at the hands of Fulci-style extras in anti-Predator camouflage and we return to the aforementioned teens arriving to find the rave deserted.

Quickly set upon by the dead, the teens make their escape and hook up with some fellow survivors. The party now includes an Asian, female martial arts expert in a stars and stripes, bell-bottomed playsuit, known as Liberty; a female expert fencer whose laced-at-the-front top doesn't appear to do up all the way; a lanky guy named Rudy with apparent superhuman strength; and Jurgen Prochnow, for some reason. Arming themselves from a secret cache of weapons, this apparent crack team of zombie killers manage to kill several hundred of the blighters, some several times, before barricading themselves up in the eponymous house, where they find the extremely disinteresting secret behind the rise of the dead.

Many people regard this movie as the worst ever made. The film certainly has its fair share of continuity errors. During one battle scene, we regularly switch to a turntable shot displaying the characters in a sort of proto-bullet time. They are, however, all holding different guns to the ones they are in the other shots. Prochnow compliments one of the teens on choosing to use the infamous, powerful pistol, the Desert Eagle, when she is clearly not holding a Desert Eagle. A door is blown off its hinges, repairs itself, then is blown up once again.

Likewise, the dialogue is appalling. Some choice examples include: "You did all this to become immortal. Why?", "To live forever"; "Check out this book. It's pretty old, maybe it'll help us"; and "That's Spanish for 'death'. In case you don't speak Mexican".

Boll inserts more than 30 screenshots of the source material into the film as screen wipes or just shot comparisons. It's as if he wants to make sure no-one forgets this almost-unrelated story is supposed to be based on the game. Bizarrely, this style was to be copied by the Hollywood adaptation of the Doom games that were actually supposed to be competent.

We can't help but feel that Boll knows and appreciates every one of these criticisms. Indeed, he points several of them out in the commentary. As we said, Boll only made the film to get some tax credits for investing in cross-country movie collaborations, so we doubt he gave it his all. He may even have been intentionally adding the incongruities.

The uninitiated may think this is the worst movie ever made, but those prepared for a bad movie will be stunned by little sparks of intelligence and flair. Some of Boll's shots actually look pretty impressive at certain moments, as if some underlying talent is showing through. The presence of Durance and Prochnow shows some credibility, and there's actually very little truly terrible acting going on. Jonathan Cherry is actually pretty good. Indeed, we are of the opinion that Boll is a passable director who has found a niche market in deliberately pumping out complete bilge.

Whether you need it or not, this gives you a justification for taking the film with a pinch of salt and its tongue in its cheek. If you do, then it's actually a lot of fun, even after Durance puts her clothes back on.