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House of the Dead (2003)
Warning: this film will give you intellectual diarrhoea
House of The Dead was the title of a famous video game developed by Rikya Nakagawa of SEGA. The game was designed as a first-person shooter, but what made it stand out from titles such as DOOM and QUAKE was that it was done in arcade format, known to many as the light gun, where rather than sitting back with a controller, the user can hold a gun within his/her own hands and try their best to survive against a horde of undead. This, along with the graphics, the obscene creatures and violence, made the game very popular. The story revolved around two government agents wearing trench coats investigating a mansion, where experiments conducted on zombies goes awry. Curiously, this came out at the same time with Resident Evil, which was more atmospheric.
Now comes the film. Originally DreamWorks had the license, but later lost the rights, which were promptly bought by MINDFIRE's Mark Altman, who would serve as the co-writer and producer of this film. At first I was excited, for I loved Free Enterprise, which Altman had co-written with the director. Later, there were advertisements that showed a Robert Deniro-like zombie licking a girl's face, a scene that could have chilled the audience. However, after watching the film, this viewer, along with many others, emerged disappointed. The plot made absolutely no sense, the acting was poor, and although at times the creatures looked decent, Boll's lighting and directing made them laughable. What further weakened the film was the inclusion of video game footage and MATRIX shots, followed by scenes that were supposedly made to scare the audience. It's almost as if director Uwe Boll hadn't wanted to make a good film; rather, he just wanted to dazzle his audience. His interviews amusingly denied that it was a poorly-made film, making both this garbage and Boll even more pretentious than one would dare to attribute. As a fan of the games, one cannot help but miss the memorable nemeses that were in the game, particularly bosses like the Chariot and the Magician. As a fan of films, I'd occasionally enjoy a cheesy (and sometimes retarded) film, but with Boll's less than stellar hand, this film almost seemed to be a tragedy, for it could have been a fun horror film like EVIL DEAD. I do not deny that Boll is a movie fan, I only question his ability to direct.
As a side-note, the writer's commentary on the DVD was interesting, for it explained what he had wanted to write. One could not help but feel sorry that his script was given to such an awful director, and that it had such a low budget, for it sounded quite promising. However, Altman does manage to redeem himself with the more mindlessly enjoyable HOUSE OF THE DEAD 2. Boll, on the other hand, continues to do video game adaptations, which includes FAR CRY, BLOODRAYNE, ALONE IN THE DARK, Dungeon Siege, and POSTAL, where in a bizarre publicity stunt he challenged his critics to a boxing match.