House of the Dead is a 2003 German-Canadian-American action horror film directed by Uwe Boll. It is loosely based on Sega's 1996 light gun arcade game of the same name.
The film was a box office bomb and recieved negative reviews from critics. A sequel directed by Michael Hurst, House of the Dead 2, was released in 2005.
College students Simon and Greg book a boat trip to an island rave party at Isla del Morte, an island located off the coast of Seattle, Washington. They meet up with Alicia, Karma, and Cynthia. Karma has a crush on Simon -- who has a crush on Alicia -- and Cynthia is Greg's girlfriend.
Upon arriving at the dock, the students find the boat to take them to the island has already left. They accept a ride from Victor Kirk (Jürgen Prochnow) and his first mate Salish (Clint Howard). Police officer Jordan Casper (Ellie Cornell), who is aware that Kirk is a smuggler, unsuccessfully attempts to stop the group from leaving.
The group arrive to find the island party site deserted and dilapidated. Alicia, Karma, and Simon search for other people and leave Cynthia and Greg behind. The two make out in a tent, but Greg leaves to urinate. Left alone, Cynthia is killed by a group of zombies. Meanwhile, the others find an old house. Inside, they find Alicia's friend Rudy, rave dancer Liberty, and Hugh, who tell them zombies attacked the rave, killing everyone. The six go back to the rave site to get the others. Meanwhile, Salish is killed while walking through the forest.
Everyone else meets up at the rave site. A now-mutated Cynthia emerges from a tree and kills Hugh but is shot by Casper. The group develop a plan to leave the island using Kirk's boat, but find it overrun by zombies. Casper and Greg leave the group to go find help, but Greg is killed.
As the group tries to formulate another plan, Kirk reveals the island's past: Isla del Morte was the home of Castillo Sermano, a Spanish priest from the 15th century who was banished by the Catholic Church for conducting evil experiments; one of said experiments was an immortality serum, which he injected himself with before he created the first zombie.
Kirk provides the group with weapons, and together they return to the house. Liberty and Casper are killed when the group fights through a horde to get inside.
Kirk hears Salish whistling outside, and discovers that he is a zombie. Kirk commits suicide by blowing himself up, opening the front of the house. The remaining four group members lock themselves in a lab, but the zombies break in. Karma, Alicia, and Rudy escape through a hatch in the floor while Simon shoots a barrel of gun powder, blowing up the house, the zombies, and himself. Karma is killed by zombies in the underground tunnels, but Rudy and Alicia escape.
A man wearing Greg's face as a mask helps Rudy and Alicia get out of the tunnels. The man reveals himself to be Castillo. He engages with Alicia in a sword duel and stabs her in the heart. Rudy decapitates Castillo, believing that the fight is over, only to be strangled by Castillo's headless body. Alicia crushes the Castillo's head under her feet while saying "Game over, fucker", before dying.
Later, Rudy and Alicia are seen being rescued by a team of federal agents. Rudy reveals that his last name is Curien (related to the main antagonist from The House of the Dead). The ending narration reveals that Rudy gave Alicia the mutated blood and that is why she is alive, thinking to himself, "God, ain't love a bitch?"
- Rudolph "Rudy" Curien (Jonathan Cherry), the male protagonist who is on the island when the zombies attack.
- Alicia (Ona Grauer), the female protagonist and Rudy's ex-girlfriend.
- Karma (Enuka Okuma), Alicia's close friend, who has a crush on Simon.
- Simon Cruise (Tyron Leitso), friend of Alicia.
- Greg (Will Sanderson), Cynthia's boyfriend.
- Salish (Clint Howard), is Kirk's first mate who always dresses in a yellow fisherman's coat and hat.
- Captain Victor Kirk (Jürgen Prochnow), ex-navy and a smuggler who helps Alicia's friends to get to the island.
- Jordan Casper (Ellie Cornell), Kirk's nemesis. She dies when she loses her legs and bleeds to death.
- Hugh (Michael Eklund), a nerd who records the zombie attack on the rave on his camcorder.
- Liberty (Kira Clavell), an Asian-American rave-girl.
- Castillo Sermano (David Palffy), the creator of the zombies and the main antagonist of the film.
- Cynthia (Sonya Salomaa), Greg's girlfriend.
- Mark (Michael Melendez), a Puerto Rican pothead.
- Johanna (Erica Durance), a party girl who attends the island rave with her boyfriend.
Reception among critics and fans of the game was overwhelmingly negative. Rotten Tomatoes ranked the film 41st in the 100 worst reviewed films of the 2000s, with a rating of 3% based on 54 reviews. On Metacritic, it holds a 15/100, meaning “overwhelming dislike”. IGN Movies, however, gave it three out of five stars, citing it as "an unabashed B-movie that does an incredibly decent job with a limited budget, unknown cast, and routine storyline."' In 2009, Time listed the film on their list of top ten worst video game movies.
Despite House of the Dead being one of few Uwe Boll films that made a profit, it was nonetheless a box office bomb. It fared better with DVD sales and rentals.
A tie-in comic serving as a prequel to the film was written and illustrated by Eli 5 Stone and published by Artisan Comics Group.
A director's cut of the film was released on DVD on 9 September 2008. The new version "features new dialogue, alternative takes, pop up commentary and animation from the original video game."
- According to scriptwriter Mark Altman, the original script had numerous elements that were not featured in the movie due to budget and time constraints:
- Various creatures and boss characters were to be featured, such as a "tongue beast", flying creatures known as "Hanged Men" , and a spider-like creature derived from Casper's corpse (similar to the Hermit boss from the original House of the Dead game).
- Many plot elements were also scrapped, including Castillo's backstory.
- This film featured Erica Durance in one of her earliest roles before she became known for playing Lois Lane on Smallville.