US Release Date: 05-06-2005
Directed by: Jaume Serra
- Elisha Cuthbert, as
- Carly Jones
- Chad Michael Murray, as
- Nick Jones
- Brian Van Holt, as
- Paris Hilton, as
- Paige Edwards
- Jared Padalecki, as
- Jon Abrahams, as
- Johnson Chapman
- Robert Ri'chard, as
- Damon Herriman as
- Roadkill Driver
Elisha Cuthbert in House of Wax.
House of Wax wants to be an old school 80's slasher film, but by being afraid to go all the way, it only ends up being slasher-lite. And in this post-Scream era of horror movies, it simply ends up looking rather quaint.
How's this for an unoriginal horror movie plot? A group of young, attractive twenty-somethings go camping where they are stalked by a knife-wielding, masked psychopath. I think we've heard that one somewhere before. The twist in this movie is that not only does the killer dispatch his victims in gory ways; he then preserves their bodies in wax, creating his own wax museum.
It has become somewhat of a tradition in horror films for the characters to behave in stupid ways. "Was that a noise out there in the dark? I'd better go and take a look." But the characters in this movie are all uniquely brain-dead. "Hey, the nice man digging in the road kill with the large bowie knife wants to give us a ride. Let's take it!" "The really creepy guy in the scary house left his door open, let's go snoop around at all of his really weird stuff!" And my personal favorite, "You saw something scary out there? Let's split up. You stay here and I'll go out there and look around!" Seriously, these kids are so stupid that they deserve to die.
Obviously, the whole point of these sorts of movies is to put the characters in situations where they can be killed in gory manners, but the killer should have to work harder than this. It got to be so bad that I couldn't help but wonder why he even bothered to go looking for them, sooner or later they would be bound to just walk into his house and fall on one of his knives!
One major area in which this movie fails to emulate its 80's ancestors is in its lack of sex and nudity. Whereas back then, they were both rampant, with boobs a-flying, here there is absolutely none. Paris Hilton strips down to her bra and panties for one scene, but that's it.
And speaking of Paris, her presence in the film is the one bright spot in the story. Her character is dull as a bag of rocks and her acting skills are on par with a store mannequin, but the good news is that she gets killed. And her death brought whoops of delight and a sustained round of applause from the audience I saw this with. In fact, I didn't think the large gentleman sitting on my left would ever stop laughing.
To be fair, House of Wax is awful, but it's so awful that it's almost entertaining. The characters are so stupid and the scares are so obvious and the ending is so predictable that the movie works pretty well as a comedy. If only that had been the filmmaker's intention.
Paris Hilton in House of Wax.
Scott, characters in horror movies almost always act stupid. House of Wax is hardly unique in that matter. Yes, Paris Hilton is not a great actress but, then again, this movie hardly calls for great acting. I do agree, though, that it is all rather quaint. There is some gore but the scares are minimal.
This movie spends too much time at the beginning of the film trying to create characters. Is one couple going to stay together or separate? Is one guy really a bad boy or just misunderstood? Is one guy in love with his girlfriend or his car? None of these questions ever needed to be posed because they almost all die anyway, and it slows the movie down. No one dies for the first 45 minutes. This is supposed to be a horror movie, get to the chase scene.
The movie has one attempt at decent humor. (besides seeing Paris Hilton murdered that is) The potential victims are all camped in some woods at night when one girl sleeping in a tent with her boyfriend wakes up and says, "Wade, wake up. Wade! I think I heard something." Wade replies sarcastically, "Yeah, it's probably the serial killers."
House of Wax is like a bad episode of The Outer Limits dragged out to movie length.
Photos © Copyright Warner Bros. (2005)