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House of the Dead (2003)

Even if this film was trying to take a self-aware approach and not expecting to be taken seriously, it would undoubtedly still be ranked number one on my list for worst ever films seen to-date. I believe the director honestly thought he was onto a good thing here and truly imagined that what he was making was a genuinely good film. He couldn't have been more wrong with that notion. To have taken such a beloved arcade classic and gotten as as wrong as he did is borderline criminal. Starting off with a hammy narration and slow motion camera work, providing mild exposition to our lead characters (names of characters or cast are irrelevant), it was so cringe worthy I really wasn't sure I was going to make it to the end. Unfortunately, things didn’t get any better for here. I think what’s most shocking is how this has the audacity to use footage of the video game during the opening credits and scattered throughout it's runtime. Let me just say, this bares no resemblance to the game whatsoever. It's one thing to make a video game adaptation but it's another to just take a licensed video games name and call it an ‘adaptation’. More shocking was that Sega gave the use of their logo in this film, I can only assume that this is where the majority of the films budget went. The only quality this film has to offer is in the entertainment value it provides by being so poorly made and produced. The cinematography is some of the worst I have witnessed - the consistently unsteady and fast-paced camera work doesn't have any of the intended dramatic affect and it just comes across as extremely amateur and headache inducing. It has absolutely no plot to follow, terrible casting and performances. Suspiciously, some of these actors are actually recognisable faces who have a fairly decent catalogue of work - such as Halloween 4 and 5's Ellie Cornell, Clint Howard and Jonathan Cherry. I can't see what about this script would possibly make them want to take on these roles. The make-up and costume design was like something from a children's Saturday morning TV show. There is one character called Castillo who I believe is the head zombie (zombies have adaptated the vampire mythology in this film apparently), his design and makeup was rather creative but that alone doesn't make up for the rest of the mess surrounding him. Embarrassingly, I will say that about 50 minutes in, the carnage is amped up to full force and I did let my frustrations go and sink in to a false sense of enjoyment. The it’s so-bad-it’s-good angle took full affect and I did find myself engrossed in the level of absurdity that was playing out on screen. This was short-lived, as it quickly became increasingly annoying and difficult to follow. In fairness, I did actively seek this film out due the reputation it has as one of the worst zombie/video game film made. I will go one better and say this is one of worst horror films ever made and that is coming from a man who prides himself on enjoying bad horror films. That being said, I strongly recommend this is seen by everyone - just to say you have bared witness to its existence. I think this one is going to take some beating.


1/2



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