I should preface this by saying that I hate Uwe Boll’s movies. (This is probably not an unpopular opinion among movie buffs.) I’ve sat through at least four of his movies, trying desperately to find something redeeming in the hot messes he makes, but so far, I haven’t found much.
In the comments in an earlier post there was a small discussion between me and The Best Haiku Writer Ever, also known as andrew, about Uwe Boll’s movies wherein it occurred to me via another commenter that not everyone was aware of the horrific nature of this man’s movies.
Uwe Boll is a German filmmaker/producer who uses German tax shelters in order to make his movie. From The All-Knowing Wikipedia:
Boll is able to acquire funding thanks to German tax laws that reward investments in film. The law allows investors in German-owned films to write off 100% of their investment as a tax deduction; it also allows them to invest borrowed money and write off any fees associated with the loan. The investor is then only required to pay taxes on the profits made by the movie; if the movie loses money, the investor gets a tax writeoff.
Germany, your contributions to cinema have been duly noted.
Boll usually prefers to make adaptations of video games, like the movie I have just watched. In short, I’m not sure that Boll actually puts anything but half-assed effort into his movies. I’m not sure how in the world he keeps on doing what he’s doing, but he manages. His movies have terrible acting, horrific directions, plots and scripts so shoddy they just should have been reworked about eighty times before anyone decided to put them to celluloid; what disturbs me most is that the man takes something that could be theoretically decent and somehow screws it up. I never get the feeling Uwe Boll loves movies or even thinks he should have to work hard at making a decent film. In short, his movies piss me off because they’re mediocre pieces of crap that he is content to continue to unleash upon the public. None of his movies have improved; in fact, House of the Dead is probably one of the better movies I’ve seen that he’s done — sadly.
So here we go, through House of the Dead.
A group of friends travel to a remote island for a rave where crazy zombies attack and eat everyone in sight. The intrepid group, along with a ship’s captain and a hard-nosed harbor patrolwoman, must survive and escape.
Okay, so that premise is easy enough. A lot of horror movies have been good on a lot, lot less. Uwe Boll, however, makes it ridiculously, stupendously unbelievable.
I’m willing to suspend disbelief for a lot of movies — you can see my review of Hitman on this very site and understand that. These kids go from running from the zombies to discovering an awesome cache of guns and explosives and all of a sudden they are all kung-fu masters who have spent years at the gun range. The idea that a group of kids looking to go get drunk at a rave on a deserted island somehow know martial arts, can discover an inexplicable chest of guns that contain AUTOMATIC WEAPONS and know how to use them is highly unlikely and highly stupid. (Chances are they’re more likely to blow one of themselves away than any zombie, really. This is especially so when you take into account they’ve got shotguns, your basic arsenal of handguns, automatic weapons, rifles, grenades and dynamite.)
Somehow we go from zombies at a rave to discovering that the zombies come from a Spanish priest who was exiled from Spain for his “experiments”. There’s a creepy abandoned house the ragtag survivors end up in and you get a very odd explanation as to how Exiled Spanish Priest actually created all these monsters. The costumes he uses in the flashback scenes that explain the Exiled Spanish Priest’s history look like he picked them up at Party City or something.
The script is horrible. Between characters describing sex as “the humpity-bumpity” (can we all say it together? EWW) and generally being stupid, the only rival here for the scriptwriting is the acting. I’m not sure if some of these people are genuinely bad actors or the fact that Uwe Boll can make Ben Kingsley look like crap (no, really, he did. Bloodrayne, y’all). It’s the most comical, extreme form of acting. “Oh look! Over there! A zombie! Oh no!” uttered with wide eyes and an open mouth.
Interspersed with the horrible action are shots of the actual video game, which cut in and out so quickly you think you’re having an epileptic seizure of some sort. Clint Howard and Jurgen Prochnow are in this movie. How? Why? I don’t know. I don’t question these things, I just cry over them.
I must also add that I’m one of those people that’s driven crazy by mess-ups clearly evident in the movie. There’s a shot of zombies where Boll pulls the camera back and you can very clearly see the dolly track for a good thirty seconds. It’s pretty damn obvious, actually, and it drives me insane. Seriously, dude, could you not see the dolly track in there? Or did you just not care? What’s bizarre about this is he makes sure to have a glut of 360 degree shots of every main cast member shooting things repeatedly, but will totally let gear drop into the frame and just not give a shit about it.
Even the gore, which I will sit through quite a few horror movies for, is cheaply and badly done. The dialogue is far scarier than the gore. Example:
Main Good Guy: You did all this to become immortal? Why?
Exiled Spanish Priest: TO LIVE FOREVER!
Redundancy, thou art a Uwe Boll film.