"House of 9 Idiots". There; I have just renamed the movie, and will refer to it this way from this point onwards.
Nine imbeciles are randomly picked, kidnapped, and then locked up in a large sealed house. The objective: the last male or female imbecile standing gets 5 million dollars. Sounds intriguing? Don't be fooled. Run. Run from this garbage.
I've never considered Dennis Hopper a particularly good actor. He is passable when playing bad guys – which is the only use I see for him - so for somebody to so blatantly miscast him as an Irish priest was clearly asking for trouble. I have rarely seen or heard such unconvincing prayers – and there are at least a dozen of them. The less said about his corny on-and-off quasi-Irish accent, the better. So bemused was I whenever Hopper was trying to be all preachy and nice, that I was convinced (until his killing) that he was the man behind the game, or at least working for the people who orchestrated it all. What else was I supposed to think: that he is an IRISH PRIEST? I couldn't do that. What shall I compare it to
It would be like casting Roger Moore as Kublai Khan. No, I take that back, Moore would struggle less in that part.
The rest of the casting isn't much better. We have an actress playing a former tennis star; she is neither athletic not strong, lacks discipline, and nothing she does or says even hints at the possibility that she could have ever done any sports, let alone professionally. The stereotypical angry black man – a rapper, no less - is a walking cliché, far too predictable with his violent outbursts and hippity-hoppity posturing hence boring/corny in all of his actions and utterances.
Yet there is one actor/character who trumps them all. Nobody can touch Francis, played by the stupidly named Hippolyte Girardot (I didn't make that name up). It's hard to say who was worse: the fictional character Francis or the totally talent-free French actor with the silly name who played him with such clueless gusto. The two go hand-in-hand; they are a perfect match - like conjoined twins - and cannot be separated nor analyzed one at a time. For all practical purposed, Francis IS Hippolyte and Hippolyte is Francis. They are one. One big roll of French crap.
His wimpy high-pitched voice, his dorky mannerisms, his goofy line-delivery, his nerdy motions, his stupid face, and his over-acting non-skills sink whatever little there is left in HO9I by the time of the "grand finale"; though in his defense, there is very little left to spoil by the time he gets to "shine". To add insult to the bad-casting injury, the part of Francis itself had been written using the collective brain-power of a family of trailer-park amoebas. Francis is shot in the stomach – point blank – and yet he SINGS, he DANCES, he RUNS, he JUMPS, and he kills people. The bullet injury actually gives him more energy, rather than drain energy from him. (Bullet wounds aren't what they used to be; perhaps humans are developing immunity against them – at least in pitiful thrillers written for the true hapless retards out there, the dumb shmucks that actually enjoyed this piece of celluloid litter.)
Predictably, the "slightly electrocuted" vegetarian goodie-two-shoes brunette survives the second attack by Francis/Hippolyte, inadvertently killing him. Not on purpose! I must make that absolutely clear. She is a vegetarian hence a goody hence she cannot harm any living creature except through an accident.
What happens after that, in the final scene, has to be seen to be believed. To merely write it down here would not only spoil your "fun" but would do injustice to the hilarity of the scene in question: it's a visual experience, sort of like 30s slapstick. It's the most belly-achingly funny twist ending in the history of all moronic twist endings. I can complain on and on how this HO9I rubbish bored me to tears with its ridiculous dialog, implausible characterization, and very little happening in the first hour, but what I cannot moan about is that the ending left me cold: I laughed very hard indeed, and for that I thank the movie. It wasn't much of a redemption, because I still consider HO9I to be generously awarded with the 1/10 (far too high, really, insulting other 1/10 movies some of which happen to be ten times better). The laugh was elicited unintentionally, but a laugh is a laugh, and that's all that counts.
HO9I is hands down the most shoddily put-together crap-fest I have seen this year, and trust me there were many others. The acting, the dialog, the cretinous plot-twists, the absurd characterization, and by far the dumbest ending of them all: it's all here. The horrible music interludes and ludicrous deaths/murders round off the rest of the nonsense.
If you are expecting something like the "Cube" or even "House on Haunted Hill", forget it. A certain Philippe Vidal, who is responsible for this amazingly daft script, has only this pile of amoeba-manure to his credit; nothing before or since this flop. (Check his bio.) Which brings me to the one redeeming value of HO9I: it cut short a writing career that shouldn't have ever started in the first place. As for the blundering director, Stevie Monroe, he stems from a movie clan; yet another silver-spoon-fed incompetent fool who had a movie career handed to him on a plate thanks to the high corruption i.e. nepotism in the sinking world of increasingly dumbed-down and low-quality cinema. His resume is a what-is-what of TV fluff and big-screen garbage, though even he might be ashamed by this pathetic crap. Nepotism is a disease, like a zombie virus outbreak that spreads exponentially until nothing and nobody can stop it.