House of the Dead is a 2003 film adaptation of the successful 1996 light gun arcade game of the same name produced by Sega. The film was directed by Uwe Boll. This film featured Erica Durance in one of her earliest roles before she became known for playing Lois Lane on Smallville. The film was universally panned by critics.
The film begins with Simon and Greg planning to take a boat to an island rave party. They meet up with Alicia, Karma, and Cynthia. Karma has a crush on Simon, Simon has a crush on Alicia and Cynthia is Greg's girlfriend. When they arrive at the dock, they find the boat to take them to the island has already left. A man named Victor Kirk (Jürgen Prochnow) and his first mate Salish (Clint Howard) offer them a ride, which they accept. Policeman named Jordan Casper (Ellie Cornell) tries to stop them, knowing that Kirk is a smuggler, but they leave anyway.
Arriving at the island party site, they find it messed up and deserted. Alicia, Karma and Simon start searching for the others leaving Cynthia and Greg behind. The two start to making 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. Cynthia shows up, but she's become a zombie. She kills Hugh but is shot by Casper. They develop a plan to leave the island using Kirk's boat. But they find Kirk's boat overrun by zombies. Casper and Greg leave the group to go find help, but Greg is killed. Kirk later takes the group to a spot in the forest where he has hidden a box of guns. Once everyone is armed, they head back to the house. The front of the house is filled with zombies. Liberty and Casper are killed in the ensuing fight while the rest manage to take make it inside.
Kirk hears Salish whistling outside. He goes out and finds Salish as a zombie. Kirk then commits suicide by blowing himself up, opening the front of the house. The remaining four lock themselves in a lab, but the zombies break in. Karma finds a hatch in the floor which she, Alicia and Rudy climb down while Simon shoots a barrel of gun powder, blowing up the house, a lot of zombies, and himself. They find themselves in a series of tunnels. Making their way through the tunnels, Karma is killed by zombies as she holds them off so Rudy and Alicia flee.
Alicia and Rudy are aided by a man "wearing Greg's face as a mask" to get out of the tunnels. The man is actually an evil undead named Castillo, a Spanish priest from the 15th century who was banished from Spain for his evil experiments which the Catholic Church forbade, one of which is was the immortality serum, which he injected himself with before he created the first zombie. Alicia and Rudy escape, blowing the tunnels up in the process, but they're followed by Castillo. Alicia gets into a sword duel with Castillo and he stabs her in the heart. Rudy decapitates Castillo, thinking the fight is over. But Castillo is still alive and his headless body begins to strangle Rudy. Alicia, who is barely alive, crushes the Castillo's head under her feet, finally stopping him, while weakly saying, "Game Over, fucker." She then falls to her right side, and dies.
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 video game). 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 games movies.
House of the Dead is one of Uwe Boll's few films that made a profit. Its box office performance was dire however, the film fared much better with DVD sales and rentals.
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 game).
- Many plot elements were also scrapped, including Castillo's backstory.