House of the Dead (2003)

House of the Dead has two immediately obvious flaws. Firstly, it’s the back story for the game of the same title, and movies based on computer games have never quite worked. Secondly, it’s a zombie movie. Say what you like about Romero, zombie movies are inherently trashy. House of the Dead’s undead-infested island is reminiscent of Lucio Fulci’s Zombie Flesh Eaters; when a girl unwisely goes swimming in only a thong, an underwater confrontation between a shark and a zombie seems inevitable. Disappointingly, instead she’s merely the first girl to get gratuitously naked before being eaten alive.

This movie is genuinely so bad it’s good, no matter how clichéd that may sound. It’s so ridiculous – step forward Liberty, an Asian girl in a stars-and-stripes Lycra catsuit, or Captain Kirk of the good ship Lazarus – that taking it seriously is unimaginable. Revelling in its sheer stupidity is much more fun. The over-extended bullet time gunfight is a work of derivative genius, and the zombie extras give infinitely better performances than the main cast. Throw in some horrific dialogue, random screenshots from the game, and some gloriously gory effects and you’re onto a winner. There’s nothing clever about this movie, but then again, you wouldn’t want there to be.

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