Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Jonathan Cherry, Tyron Leitso, Clint Howard, Ona Grauer, Ellie Cornell
Directed by Uwe Boll
Distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Uwe Boll: (Germanus Directorus Shlockcinematicus) Super genius.
I’ve been writing reviews for around four solid years now. Hundreds of movies have felt both my embrace and my wrath. There have been countless director’s or unrated cuts of films hurled at us with reckless abandon, hoping to get us to double dip or forget the theatrical version we saw while it was playing at the multiplex. Sometimes these special editions amount to nothing more than an extra second or two of gore here or a fraction more of exposition there. You just can’t help but feel ripped off when that happens. But then again, sometimes filmmakers care enough to deliver the goods. Or in this case, take their flick, gut it, crucify it, belittle it, and then put it out for public consumption, thereby creating what will probably go down in history as one of the most absurd experiences you’ll ever have watching a DVD.
Who would do such a thing? Uwe Boll. Madman. Psycho. Filmmaker. To say that he is unconventional is an understatement. Boll knows that House of the Dead is a shitty film. Thousands of fans and critics have skewered both him and the movie countless times. As a result he’s become infamous, and his strange foreign name is now held up there with such B-movie legends as Ed Wood, Jr. Like it or not, this is the flick that, as Boll puts it in his commentary, “Began the disaster”, so with his director’s cut he’s given us something … something more … fitting, I guess is the word that I am looking for?
The flick starts with an all new opening. Boll is being held hostage by two terrorists, but instead of beheading him for his crimes against cinema, they opt instead to make him suffer a fate worse than death … he has to sit through his own movie. From there House of the Dead is for the most part exactly as you remember it except for a few changes, most notably non-stop Pop-up Video style quips (written by one of Boll’s critics) that point out every inconsistency and bit of silliness within the movie. Uwe even brought back just about the entire cast to film new “funnier” takes on some scenes. As an added bonus all the trimmed for the R-rating gore has been added back in along with an at times ridiculous sounding video game inspired score and, of course, more footage of the game. Lord knows we can never get too much of that! But why the pussy green blood? All someone had to do was visit the options menu and change the blood type to red. Sigh.
The result is like nothing I’ve ever seen. Is this good? Does it make the movie even worse? Honestly, I don’t have any idea. All I know is that I was entertained the entire time, and in the end that’s all that matters, right?
Adding to the strangeness of this package is Boll’s new commentary, which could very well end up making you question the man’s mental state. In it he talks about the beginnings of his career and the shredding of his credibility as a filmmaker as well as the usual related to the movie stuff, all the while taking phone calls from mostly unrelated parties that you cannot hear. There is one point when Boll spends at least five minutes giving someone on the phone directions. It’s weird. It’s unpredictable. It fits with the rest of the experience perfectly. This dude has put the mental in supplemental. Also included are two featurettes from the film’s original DVD release — Behind the House: Anatomy of the Zombie Movement and Stacked for Zom-Bat: The Sexy Babes of House of the Dead Prepare for Combat.
Whether or not you buy this edition is completely up to you. I’m sitting here kind of shell-shocked by the ordeal, but you know what? A good time was had so I can’t be too critical of the whole affair. If your morbid curiosity gets the better of you, dive in. If not, I’m sure you can find enough humor in the first cut of the film to keep you satisfied.
2 1/2 out of 5
3 out of 5
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