House Of The Dead

Lazy by even the low standards set by earlier video-game adaptations like RESIDENT EVIL and MORTAL KOMBAT, this dull and unimaginative feature based on Sega's best-selling kill-fest franchise settles for the lamest of stalk-and-slash set-ups. A group of college co-eds stranded on a remote island face off against a lethal menace, in this case, a swarm of...read more

Reviewed by Ken Fox
Rating:

Lazy by even the low standards set by earlier video-game adaptations like RESIDENT EVIL and MORTAL KOMBAT, this dull and unimaginative feature based on Sega's best-selling kill-fest franchise settles for the lamest of stalk-and-slash set-ups. A group of college co-eds stranded on a remote island face off against a lethal menace, in this case, a swarm of flesh-eating zombies. The setting is Washington State's San Juan Islands, where a weekend-long rave is in full swing. Greg (Will Sanderson), Simon (Tyron Leitso), Alicia (Ona Grauer), Cynthia (Sonya Salomaa) and Karma (Enuka Okuma) planned on catching the ferry from Seattle, but arrive too late to catch the last boat out. Determined not to miss the party, Simon offers to pay crusty Captain Kirk (Jurgen Prochnow) a chunk of change to take them to the island, despite the fears of Kirk's salty first mate (Clint Howard), who wants nothing to do with what the locals call "Isla de la Muerte." "That's Spanish for death!" he reminds them. But Kirk accepts Simon's offer of $1,000, and they're on their way, pursued by a U.S. Marine patrol who suspect Kirk's been transporting contraband. Once Kirk's boat (the "Lazarus," heh, heh) arrives, however, the passengers find they've not only missed the party, but all the party-goers have disappeared, leaving only a set of abandoned turntables and a shamelessly obvious Sega banner. The mystery is solved when Alicia, Simon and Karma find a handful of ravers, including Alicia's ex, Rudy (Jonathan Cherry), hiding out in an apparently abandoned old house in the woods. Rudy tells them that just when the party was getting good, it was crashed by a horde of hungry zombies who proceeded to slaughter everyone in sight. A fellow survivor who brought a video camera to the party offers to show them videotape of the slaughter, but once the kids go looking for their friends, such proof becomes unnecessary: They find themselves facing off against the island's zombie population and hundreds of revived ravers. There's some silly back story involving a banished Spanish priest (David Palffy) and his search for immortality, but the movie is really nothing more than a live-action replay of the game. "Players" run through corridors, slip through trap doors and mow down countless zombies with artillery borrowed from the Marine patrol. Once director Uwe Boll (who's currently turning Playstation's "Alone in the Dark" into a feature film) begins intercutting scenes from the "House of the Dead" game into the onscreen mayhem, it becomes clear exactly what you've just paid 10 bucks to see: a 90-minute Sega commercial.

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