House of Wax (2005) [Review]

107 min May 06, 2005

Plot: After car trouble strands 6 friends in the middle of nowhere, Carly (Cuthbert) and Wade (Padalecki) hitch a ride into the town of Ambrose. Hoping to find a fan belt, they end up uncovering the truth about this town, and the amazingly lifelike collection of wax sculptures in it’s wax museum.

Reviewed

Vaguely recalling Vincent Price’s film by the same name that I saw ages ago (probably in 3D), I was interested in seeing an update of House of Wax.

Of course, when I found out it starred Paris “that’s hot” Hilton, I was extremely skeptical. Since everything she does seems to be an act, she did have the background, but c’mon. Paris? Yikes. Not expecting much, I settled in for, hopefully, a not-too-dull hour and a half, and popped in the new House of Wax.

Unfortunately, as most viewers probably already guessed (especially if you ever saw “The Simple Life” (TV)), Paris Hilton shows her acting inability once again in House of Wax. But, don’t despair: House of Wax still has it’s good points: (1) Paris isn’t the main star and (2) she dies. That right there should be enough to pull in the whole slew of Paris-haters out there (probably what the film was banking on when they cast her).

But enough about the poor little rich girl. While Paris may be the main draw of the film, Chad Michael Murray and Elisha Cuthbert are the real stars of House of Wax – and it’s obvious right from scene one.

They do a pretty good job of teaming up together to take on the psychos in this film (both played rather mundanely by Brian Van Holt), and help keep the suspense level high enough to keep the viewer interested. Chad and Elisha, while not very believable as brother and sister, are believable as prey being stalked, and do a good job of getting the audience on their side. Of course, that isn’t too difficult after a scene or two showcasing what kind of twisted freaks they are up against.

House of Wax takes place in a small town where a pair of serial killers have been working for years. With no way out, they end up taking over the town, trying to “make their momma proud” by continuing her legacy of wax sculpturing. Apparently not artistic enough to create the wax figurines on their own, they decide to use living people as the base of each sculpture. By the time the movie takes place, they’ve created quite the hideous panoramic display of wax corpses for our heroes to stumble over as they make their way through the town.

House of Wax is grotesque, so most horror fans will love it. And, thanks to the special effects department, the wax figurines look remarkably well done. But, the creme de la creme of this film is the House of Wax itself, a museum created entirely from wax, from it’s floors to it’s walls. It’s an impressive accomplishment, and it’s even more impressive when you discover (via the special features), they actually created a life-size version of the thing. Kudos to the special effects genius who created it, this literal House of Wax becomes another character towards the end of the film, and really helps keep the viewer’s attention glued to the screen during the climax of the film.

Despite Paris Hilton, House of Wax turns out to be a creepy thrill ride that should keep viewers tuned in to the end. While it’s definitely not in horror classic range, House of Wax manages to keep viewers entertained (and grossed-out) through most of it’s running time.

It’s major drawback? It keeps trying to degenerate into a typical hack-and-slash horror flick, when it should be focusing more on the impressive house of wax and it’s victims.

Still, it’s worth a look for most horror fans.

    House of Wax (2005) has a running time of 1 hr 47 mins and is rated for horror violence, some sexual content and language. Want to learn more? Visit the IMDB Page .

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DVD Features

  • Widescreen
  • Animated Menus
  • Scene Access
  • B-Roll and Bloopers Video Cast Commentary
  • 2 Featurettes:
    • "Wax On"
    • "House Built On Wax"
  • Gag Reel
  • Alternate Opening: "Jennifer Killed"
  • From Location: Joel Silver reveals House of Wax"
  • Theatrical Trailer

About

An ex-Floridian, ex-Baltimorian now living in Arizona, Reid wants to get into a career that involves web-design, but for now enjoys working on critiQal in his spare time.


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