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Undercover Quint unloads a steaming pile upon HOUSE OF THE DEAD at A.F.M. Calls it 1 of the worst 5 films he's seen!

Hey folks, Harry here... Well this review really pains me. I know Mark Altman, and his heart is definitely in the right place even if his film isn't. Personally, I think we should begin to fixate our ZOMBIE interest on a film from down under called UNDEAD, I should be seeing this very soon, and have it on good authority that it is... in fact... the real deal. I'll see soon enough!

Ahoy squirts, Quint, the extremely salty and currently pissed off seaman, here with my latest review from my undercover work at the American Film Market. Sorry I've been slacking off the last few days. I've been setting up some really cool interviews and DVD reviews that I'll hit you folks with next week.  

Now, I mentioned above that I'm pissed off right now and the source of my anger and rage is a film I saw over a week ago, HOUSE OF THE DEAD. Before I get started, you folks must know where I'm coming from. I'm no horror snob. Sure, I love Argento, Fulci, Hitchcock, Carpenter, Whale, Romero, Todd Browning, George Waggner and all such respected horror filmmakers, but I also love Sean Cunningham, Fred Dekker, Robert Hiltzik, John Landis, Don Coscarelli, Tobe Hooper, etc. I enjoy films like DEMONS, SLEEPAWAY CAMP, THE WOLF MAN, PHANTASM, NIGHT OF THE CREEPS and PHENOMENA equally. I know a lot of horror fans that get stuck in one or the other extremes.  

Sorry for all the lists above, but I just wanted to make absolutely sure you folks out there know that this review is coming from someone who loves horror through and through, someone who can usually find something to like in just about every horror film, whether it's BLOOD DINER or BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN.  

I entered the theatre in Santa Monica fresh off of the review Harry put up that claimed HOUSE OF THE DEAD wasn't the pile of crap the online trailers and clips made it out to be, but rather an enjoyable B movie. That gave me hope. Bad acting, bad script, shoddy camera work... all that can be overcome in a horror film if it's fun, unpretentious and has at least one good money shot gore moment.  

OK... Now to open the flood gates. HOUSE OF THE DEAD was so bad it caused me pain while watching it. It wasn't even fun bad, like BATTLEFIELD EARTH or DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS. It's not something you can laugh at while getting wasted with a bunch of buddies. The script is so terrible, the dialogue so self referential it'd make Kevin Williamson gasp in disbelief. I'm serious, the movie is so unenjoyable that it couldn't have just been a fuckup. They had to work at making it this bad.  

For God's sake, this movie made Clint Howard unwatchable! CLINT FUCKING HOWARD! He who has uttered such classic B movie lines as "I'm infested!" (TICKS) and starred in such gems as ICE CREAM MAN and EVILSPEAK. He's delivered some of the worst dialogue ever put to page and still, by virtue of his awesome personality alone, made his work enjoyable. It takes an awfully large black hole of talent to suck the character out of Clint Howard.  

Let's move onto Uwe Boll, the director. He seems to really want to make movies, just not the one he was actually directing. Every single sequence in HOUSE OF THE DEAD that even comes close to not sucking is lifted shot for shot from other much better films, like SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, THE MATRIX and JAWS.  

Good God does Boll want to do a MATRIX film. The big centerpiece of the film is our group blasting their way through hundreds of zombies in order to get to a rickety little shack that borders on a graveyard. It might have been entertaining or even exciting if every 3 seconds he didn't cut away to either a MATRIX style spinaround or to scenes from the video game. I shit you not. He does indeed intercut the film with quick flashes from the first video game, blown up and pixilated to the point where you can barely tell what's going on.  

Let me spend a minute on the MATRIX rip-off scenes. Uninspired, unoriginal, slow and useless. The director said a few words before the movie and said he had a budget of $12 million and the film contains over 600 CGI shots. Each and every one of those CG shots is a MATRIX shot, whether it's the spinaround shot or bullet time or a combo of both. And even they were sloppy and pointless. They did nothing but stop any forward momentum the action was gathering.  

Well, then... 12 million dollars. At least they have cool looking zombies, right? I'm afraid not. The zombie outfits all looked like they came off the post Halloween discount costume rack at Wal-Mart. There were no facial appliances, only hard masks. You can even see the tips of the actor's noses very obviously poking out through the mask in some shots. Truly laughable. A group of kids shooting a zombie movie in their backyards for $500 could have done a better job. $12 million blown on MATRIX shots. They certainly didn't spend any of it on getting good actors or cool looking zombies or gore or a decent script. I swear to God, all but 2 deaths in film are this: A person gets surrounded by zombies, they crowd in and the actor goes, "Noooooooooooo." Cut to a profile of the character standing against a black background as the camera does yet another MATRIX spinaround and a red filter slowly flows down the screen and sad music plays. Jesus H. Christ.  

So, we have shitty acting, shitty writing, shitty make-up, shitty directing... How about the money shot? There has to be a good gore shot. They try for one great gore shot, I'll give them that. They tried, but didn't succeed. A character gets her legs ripped off at one point and the upper part of her torso is pulled through a window, blood gushing. The one non MATRIX effects shot is used here and they fumbled it. It's clumsy. But you know what? If anyone really cared about the character in the first place a clumsy effects shot wouldn't have made that much of a difference.  

This film is the worst kind of horror film. Needlessly flashy, terrible characters, poorly structured, boring zombies... It doesn't even follow the rules it sets up for itself. There are characters who get killed and shortly return as zombies and then there are characters who get killed then just die. The story takes place on an island, where the world's largest rave is going on. All the ravers are taken, but when the zombies show up 99% of them are made up to look long dead. Where did all the ravers go? Where were all the fresh kills?  

OK, how about the fact that this is movie is called HOUSE OF THE DEAD and most of it takes place in the woods? There is no House, just a broken down shack. People were joking after the film calling it OUTHOUSE OF THE DEAD. It's certainly a more appropriate title. I didn't play the video game much, but I do seem to recall there being a huge mansion and weird creatures besides shitty Wal-Mart zombies. There is no point in calling this film HOUSE OF THE DEAD because there is no House, the dead are boring and there are only passing references to the video game of the same name. How you can make zombies boring is beyond me, but Boll and the gang did it.  

There's only one aspect of the film I can applaud for showing amazing talent. Whoever the producer was who was able to raise $12 million on a script as shitty as this one is one talented motherfucker. That is, of course, if all the money for the film wasn't put up by SEGA and if so, shame on them! This could have been a fun, creepy movie. Instead it's the kind of horror movie that gives a bad name to the genre. It's the kind of film that can put horror back 5 years. All I can hope is Romero's funding for his next DEAD movie stays strong and he rescues us from such filth as HOUSE OF THE DEAD.  

I've been writing for AICN for around 6 years now and this is one of maybe 3 or 4 bad reviews I've ever written. Usually I see a bad movie and I just ignore it. I don't want to relive it. But this movie didn't just waste my time it caused me physical pain. It made me angry. I'd watch RESIDENT EVIL and SOLDIER a thousand times over before watching this pile of crap again and coming from me, a big non-fan of Paul W.S. Anderson, that's saying something. HOUSE OF THE DEAD makes RESIDENT EVIL look like CITIZEN KANE. That's no exaggeration.  

Shame on you, Uwe Boll for wasting $12 million on a boring, painful sorry excuse for a zombie movie. Shame on you Mark A. Altman for writing a script as shitty as you did, especially since you put others down so quickly during your stint as a critic for CINESCAPE. Every holier than thou review you ever put out, every single critique you made about writing can be thrown out the window as you obviously don't have any clue what good writing is. Shame on any distributor who wastes their money picking this film up.  

I better cut this off, squirts, or I'll pop something in my brain. I'll be back with a look at some decent movies that might actually deserve to be watched by mass audiences and cult audiences alike, plus I got some cool interviews coming up in the next week, not to mention my coverage of SXSW. 'Til then, this is Quint bidding you all a fond farewell and adieu.  


email: I'm off to watch some decent horror films to wash away the turd-like taste HOUSE OF THE DEAD left in my mouth. Drop me an email here if you like and hopefully I'll have recovered enough to respond!!!

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