Inevitably, the zombies descend on the teens and their grizzled boat captain (Jurgen Prochnow) as the group, led by brooding Rudy (Jonathan Cherry) and sexy brunette Alicia (Ona Grauer), holes up in a primitive-looking house. Sound familiar?
Director Uwe Boll doesn't deliver a movie, exactly. "House" is much closer in spirit to the Sega video game on which it is based. As the teens machine-gun the relentless zombies--with industrial grind music pulsing on the soundtrack--Boll goes for an adrenaline-rush rhythm with his visuals. He doesn't succeed. Without a joystick, audiences can't relish the cheap thrills the video game offers. It's about as much fun as looking over someone else's shoulder at the arcade.
By shooting the movie low-res, with a monochromatic color scheme and near-absent lighting, Boll stumbles badly. The slick, grab-bag editing--he flashes clips and screenshots from the game--doesn't do much to rescue the movie from cinematic morass.
By the end, "House of the Dead" winds down as yet another clone of George Romero's "Night of the Living Dead," minus the underlying social commentary.
Clint Howard shows up as a slicker-wearing boat hand with an atrocious accent, reminding us why he struggles to get roles in movies not directed by Ron Howard. Starring Jonathan Cherry, Tyrone Leitso, Clint Howard and Ona Grauer. Directed by Uwe Boll. Written by Mark Altman and Dave Parker. Produced by Uwe Boll, Wolfgang Herold and Shawn Williamson. An Artisan release. Horror. Rated R for pervasive strong violence/gore, language and some nudity. Running time: 90 min