Uwe Boll is a director who pushes the boundaries, and makes viewers ask themselves serious questions. Specifically, he pushes the boundaries of just how wretched a movie can be, and makes viewers ask, "Why is this guy allowed anywhere near a camera?"
"House of the Dead" is the perfect example of this, as the first of Boll's still-going stream of video-game adaptations. Put simply, this movie is a perfect example of everything that is wrong in video-game adaptations, zombie movies, and trashy action movies in general. And despite the label, the funniest thing about this edition is that Boll thinks he can salvage this disaster.
A gang of twentysomethings are planning the Rave of the Century, and for some inexplicable reason, they decide to have it on a remote island called the Island of the Dead (ooh, foreshadowing! Subtle!). The boatman warns a gathering of eight young people that they are all utterly doomed, but when they show him the money, he takes them anyway.
But when they get to the rave site, they find that someone has wrecked it and is presumably lurking nearby -- and they find a mysterious house in the woods. Of course, they go inside. And then they are attacked by hordes of zombies, who are at the beck and call of an evil creature living in the House of the Dead -- an immortal conquistador. (Oooookaaayyyy....)
No, it doesn't make sense, and it never STARTS making sense. You know a movie is doomed when it doesn't make sense from the get-go. Why would they host a rave at a campsite... on a remote island... with only a few people? That's pretty brainless, even for a low-rent game-adaptation/zombie flick. But sadly, the illogic isn't the worst thing about it. Boll is.
To be honest, Boll could not have made a worse movie if he had tried. He inserts bits of the video game, seemingly at random, and tries to make up for the limp plot with lots of Matrixy slow-motion and spinning camerawork. If that doesn't make you sick to your stomach, the dialogue will: "You did all this to become immortal. Why?" "To live forever!"
And the action scenes are the worst -- not a single fight looks real, and the zombies are distinctly unscary. At times it reminded me of King Arthur's fight with the dismembered, blood-spurty black knight... except Boll is utterly serious. He's also serious when he has our spoiled brats suddenly turn into hardened swordsmen, capable of defeating an ancient conquistador.
As for this edition, you know it must be a spectacularly worthless pile of tripe if the studio acknowledges that a horror movie can only work as supposedly "sidesplitting" comedy. Specifically, it would work as a full length episode for MT3K, with all the mockery they can muster.
Unfortunately putting out a mildly edited "Funny version"/director's cut shows that they have no idea why the original was so funny -- it was because the people involved were all dead serious, and no amount of after-the-fact adjustments can change it into "Shaun of the Dead" or "Dead Alive." It apparently has different takes, cut dialogue, pop-up commentary, and even more footage spliced in from the original game -- which is like putting a band-aid over a bazooka-related injury.
Want a decent zombie movie? Try the wittier cult movies by people like Peter Jackson and Edgar Wright. "House of the Dead" isn't witty -- it's witless, from start to finish.