House of Wax

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Release Date: May 6, 2005
Runtime: 113 minutes
Rating: R
Studio: Warner Bros.
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Cast: Elisha Cuthbert; Chad Michael Murray; Brian Van Holt; Paris Hilton; Jared Padalecki

[SPOILER ALERT!]

Not as bad as one might expect. Sure, there is some hilariously awful dialogue, typical horror­ movie stupidity, and performances that seem as though they were made of wax. But there are also some ultra-creepy scenes and some inventive, gruesome deaths. I don’t want to compare this to the older, Vincent Price movie upon which this is based because I haven’t seen it (and neither will have the majority of the target audience), but taken on its own terms, I enjoyed it…in a guilty pleasure kind of way.

Six friends on the way to a football game in rural Florida, decide to camp in the woods for the night. Bad idea. The next morning, to their frustration, they realize that their car needs a new fan belt. Enter a creepy old man who gives a few of them a ride to a gas station. Creepy old man decides to make a pit stop outside of a creepy old town, and the two teenagers decide to ditch the creepy old man and look for a gas station themselves. But this ain’t no typical town. There are no people in sight, except in the local church, where a funeral is taking place. We soon learn that the preacher-man moonlights as the town mechanic (umm…OK), and offers to get the teens their fan belt. Meanwhile, the other friends return to the previous night’s campsite to wait for their friends. I hope they brought a book.

The real star of the movie is the special effects work. Aside from the usual pyrotechnics and fake blood, the waxwork is incredible. In fact, the last ten minutes of the film, when the House of Wax melts to the ground, is a spectacular sequence. The death scenes are above par too. I don’t think anyone was shot; it was all spike-through-the­ stomach-type of stuff. Paris Hilton’s death scene is terrific. Gore hounds will not be disappointed.

Not much can be said about the acting; it’s standard issue stuff here. The tech credits, however, are terrific across the board.

All in all…a timewaster. A few “boo” moments and some excellent f/x are what’s to recommend here.

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