Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Movie Review: House of Wax (2005)

I know I should hate House of Wax. It should be one of those forgettable, ridiculous teen slasher remakes that everyone says "Ugh" about before they even see it. But it's a guilty pleasure, and I like it. And not just because Paris Hilton dies a wonderful death - which is awesome - but because there are actually some good moments in the movie and of course it has a stellar climax. I still watch it every now and again to get my waxy fix.

House of Plot: Six friends on a road trip to a football game camp overnight in the middle of nowhere (always a good idea). When they wake up, one of their cars has a busted fan belt so they head to the nearby town of Ambrose which bodes the famous House of Wax. But the house, and the town, is not what it seems and the friends are soon hunted by its deranged sculptor.

Upon watching this film again, I see that it is extremely slow. It takes almost an hour before things get good with seeing people made into wax sculptures. The problem seems to be that they split up the characters too much. Carly and Wade head to Ambrose while the others try to get to the football game, but when that turns out to be a bust, they head back to the camp. Then when Wade and Carly have not returned yet, Dalton and Nick go to look for them while Paige and Blake stay at the camp. There's like three separate storylines going on at one time and each one takes a loooong time to get to their conclusion, which is when they die. Hopefully you caught on to the twin thing early on and so you should know that Nick and Carly will probably survive, leaving the others pretty much disposable.

Here's a strange thing: I really didn't mind Paris Hilton's acting. I KNOW, right? She actually did a good job, and sure, she had that cheesy strip scene but other than that I can't really say anything bad about her skills. Plus she gets extra points for having that great death scene. Yes, it was awesome because maybe some people out there wouldn't mind to really see a pipe go through her forehead but it was nicely done. As for the rest of the cast... eh, not bad. Elisha Cuthbert is thankfully not as annoying as Kim Bauer on 24, and I could have done without the stereotypical bad boy thing that Chad Michael Murray does. The villain Bo is delightfully charming and handsome, so actually almost EVERYONE is a cliche and a stereotype in this film. That happens a lot. I'm used to it and I don't feel the need to come down on movies for it anymore. It's pointless.

The rest of the violence is better than you would expect it to be. The deaths are fairly quick but bloody enough for horror fans to perk up for a few minutes in this otherwise long-winded movie. Aside from Paige's pipe-through-head death, there's Dalton getting his head, well, pulled off and Blake getting a knife to the throat. I do like the scene where Carly gets her finger cut off, though, that was a surprise. The final girl does not usually get such a vicious permanent injury like that so it was a good shock moment.

The wax stuff was interesting to see. Vincent has his typical Lair of Doom in the basement of the House of Wax where he has all his machines and contraptions to make sculptures. It was cool to see with Wade's demise just how it is done, what with getting the people in the right position and all and covering them with the wax. I think I read one review which said something along the lines of how this movie shows that encasing somebody in wax is not nearly as disgusting as watching somebody try to un-encase them in wax. So true. If your friend or boyfriend has been made into a wax statue, do not poke him in the cheek and then try to rip his skin off. It won't work.

Even if most people hate this movie, I think they can still agree that the climax is cool to watch when the whole House of Wax melts down with Nick and Carly still fighting the twins. All that imagery of Vincent's knife slicing through the sculpture of the conjoined twins and then Vincent's dead body falling onto Bo's in the same way that they were once conjoined was kind of ridiculous, but who cares. There's melting wax everywhere. That's cool. One question though. Wouldn't that shit be really HOT for Nick and Carly to go wading around in?

At the end, the filmmakers try to give us another big "twist," probably because the other twists weren't that exciting to begin with. Oooh, the whole TOWN is wax... Vincent wasn't the evil twin, Bo was!.... blah blah blah. So anyway, they reveal that there was another brother in the Wax Family then show the grubby roadkill-eater dude. So he's the third brother. So what? What does that change about anything we've seen before? He doesn't look like he's going to become the next human wax sculptor any time soon so thank Goodness we don't have to worry about a sequel.

It's slow, it's boring at times, but House of Wax is at times a nice change of pace from other slasher flicks that don't have a big house made out of wax. And Paris Hilton dying. It's not my favorite movie or anything, but it's really not as bad as it should have been.


  1. I've actually been meaning to watch this one for years, Paris Hilton or not....
    Thanks for the recommendation. I now know that I will rent it.

  2. jervaise brooke hamsterMarch 27, 2011 at 5:02 AM

    Michele, i totally agree, "House of Wax" is perhaps the most ludicrously under-rated horror movie of the last 10 years, it is an absolutely superb film.

  3. please write fan mail to chad michael murrau at 9830 wilshire blvd. beverly hills ca 90210 or paris hilton at 3340 clerendon rd. beverly hills ca

  4. I watched this film on Netflix not knowing anything about it. I absolutely loved every moment of suspense throughout the movie even though there were some cheesy scenes but a fun and entertaining flick to watch. I learned at the ending credits that Robert Zemeckis co produced it and that blew me away. So I watched it again with my family and liked it even better the second time. I would recommend to those who like suspense. You definitely have to suspend your belief in this film to actually believe that these guys devoted their lives to doing this. Where were the cops all those years. Still liked it though.

  5. I watched this film not knowing anything about it and I was pleasantly surprised as it kept my attention, was very suspenseful and even the cheesy parts were fun to watch. I was blown away to find out that Robert Zemeckis co produced the film since I'm a huge fan of Back to the Future. I watched it a second time with my fam and they liked it too. Some scenes are definitely wired and gruesome but liked the film over all and would definitely recommend. Amazing effects and acting wasn't bad compared to many other horror movies.