House of Wax (2005)
US (dir. Jaume Collet-Serra)
Cast: Elisha Cuthbert, Chad Michael Murray, Brian Van Holt, Paris Hilton, Jared Padalecki, Jon Abrahams, Robert Ri’chard
Synopsis: A road trip to the biggest college football championship of the year takes a turn for the worse for Carly, Paige and their friends when they decide to camp out for the night before heading to the game. A confrontation with a mysterious trucker at the camp site leaves everyone unsettled, and Carly has her hands full trying to keep the peace between her boyfriend Wade and her hot-headed brother Nick. They wake up the next morning to find that their car has been deliberately tampered with, leaving them with no transportation. At the risk of being stranded, they accept a local’s invitation for a ride into Ambrose, the only town for miles. Once there, they are drawn to Ambrose’s main attraction — Trudy’s House of Wax, which is filled with remarkably life-like wax sculptures. But, as they soon discover, there is a shocking reason that the exhibits look so real. As the friends uncover the town’s dark secrets, they are stalked by a demented killer and find themselves in a bloody battle for survival. The group must find a way out of Ambrose — or become permanent additions to the House of Wax.
Review: I’m suprised to admit that I actually enjoyed “House of Wax”. It had a decent story, some hot actors (Chad Michael Murray and Jared Padalecki), great music choices, and it had a generally creepy/eerie vibe that carried the movie all the way to the end. I’ve yet to see the original “House of Wax”, but suffice it to say that I think they did a fairly good job giving the old movie a fresh face and a new story, especially when you take into consideration that the movie is about a killer who turns his victims into wax figures for a museum (not the sexiest concept for a horror movie, and certainly not the scariest/goriest).
“House of Wax” is a movie in which a group of college kids on a road trip decide to spend a night camping out on the way to their destination (some crappy football game or whatever). One of their cars ends up breakdown (typical) and while the majority of them end up deciding to head to the game anyways, a boyfriend and girlfriend pair decide to venture into a remote little town to find a replacement car part. They find this super nice guy to help them out but it eventually turns out that he’s this evil wax figure creator and that the whole town is made up of wax figures made from once living people. The boyfriend ends up biting the dust early on (typical) whereas the girl plays the helpless victim role until her brother shows up. It was pretty unfortunate seeing the boyfriend get turned into wax (especially considering he is played by the delicious Jared Padalecki) but the girlfriend’s brother (Chad Michael Murray) was a suprisingly hot replacement lead male. On a side note, the girlfriend/final girl was Elisha Cuthbert and suprise, suprise, she didn’t suck in this movie! She was actually bearable to watch and she looked cute for the most part.
I’m sure anyone who has heard about this movie knows that Paris Hilton is in it. Most people probably complained and I bet a lot more were just curious to see how horribly she’d be killed. Personally, I think she played her role just fine, especially considering how her role (slutty best friend of the good girl) is a pretty dispensible one and almost guarantees a painful death. It’s pretty hard to screw up playing that sort of a role, so in my opinion, who cares if she’s in it or not? She plays her part, dies horribly, and that’s the last we have to see with her.
The movie follows a fairly non-typical horror movie structure. For one, most of the kills happen away from the main action zone (in this case, the town where the House of Wax is located) which leave you to wonder why the killer bothered to kill these people who weren’t really interefering with any of the killer’s plans and also why the killer didn’t use them as part of his plan anyways (i.e. make them into wax sculptures). There is also the issue of having the group of friends split up; I just found it so awkward to have the group split up at all in the beginning (of course I realize this split up was explained, but it just seemed dumb). We also only get to see one person actually turned into a wax sculpture, and yes, it is pretty twisted – especially when you consider how instead of just showing the killer pour wax on people, you see the killer prep the body (shaving off hair, setting them into position, etc.) and you also see the end product get messed up afterwards. However, considering the movie is about a killer who turns their victim’s into wax sculptures, I sort of figured they’d show at least 3 maybe even 4 or 5 wax related kills.
The big finale sort of became cheesy when we find out there are actually two killers working in cahoots with one another who happen to be former siamese twins. The whole siamese twins thing is stressed a lot in the final fight sequence to the point where it just reeks of cheddar and really almost killed the ending for me. Another ending killer was the fact that they find out some creepy hick from earlier in the movie is the brother of the twins (this is revealed after the police raid the town) except none of the survivors decide upon mentioning this fact to the police (ummm why not?). There was also another stupid incident where the police mention how no one realized the town with the wax museum was there anymore and that it just sort of fell off the maps. I found this dumb because: 1) The town was all lit up and using an assload of electricity, and 2) It seemed lame that absolutely no one had ever bothered venturing back to this supposed “ghost town” either on purpose of accidentally after it had “disappeared off the maps” a whopping 25 years ago.
Anyone who is looking for a direct remake of the original “House of Wax” or even the “House of Wax” with Vincent Price isn’t going to find it here, but I feel as though the movie still manage to deliver.