Thursday Night Movie Club
House of Wax
star rating graphicstar rating graphic½
Release Date: May 6, 2005

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Elisha Cuthbert
Chad Michael Murray
Brian Van Holt
Paris Hilton
Jared Padalecki
Jon Abrahams
Robert Ri'chard
Dragicia Debert
Thomas Adamson
Murray Smith
Sam Harkess
Damon Heriman
Andy Anderson
Carly Jones
Nick Jones
Paige Edwards
Dalton Chapman
Trudy Sinclair
Young Bo
Dr. Sinclair
Young Vincent
Roadkill Driver
House of Wax movie poster #1
House of WaxParis Hilton is in House of Wax! Ok, now that I've gotten that out of my sytem, on to the review! House of Wax is not that bad of a movie. It is not that great of a movie. There are several creepy/gruesome scenes that will get you on the edge of your seat. It is yet another in a long line of good ideas that needed a better director and a re-write.

A group of teenagers... Ok, you are absolutely right. You cannot make a horror movie these days unless it includes nubile teenagers. Oh for a good Hitchcock film, like Psycho! Anyway, a group of teenagers on a road trip for their local college football team suddenly runs into car trouble. What ever! Yes, this is rather standard fare in horror movies, putting people in awkward situations. While seeking help, they are directed to the nearest town, just a bit off the beaten path. What's to fear? Hey, the town has a garage, church, diner, movie theater, even if it is showing a movie long out of release. Maybe it is a retro-theater to try to compete with the multiplexes.

While exploring the town, the teens come across the local amusement, the House of Wax. It is an immense building set on a hill, looking down on the town like Norman Bates' house. Only this house of wax is a little different. The entire house is made of wax. Upon further exploration, they discover that, literally, the entire house and everything in it is made of wax. From the people, to the walls, to the elaborate set pieces.

Elisha Cuthbert and Brian Van Holt in House of WaxBut it is the people inhabiting the House of Wax that makes the skin begin to crawl. They are very lifelike, in an extreme way. They appear as though they have been plucked out of their daily lives, frozen in time and placed in the expansive exhibit.

It is while they are looking around that they are separated, and the game is on! One unsuspecting teen is caught. Rendered unconscious, he wakes to find his nude body strapped in a chair. He is slowly covered in a layer of hot wax, slowly killing him agonizingly but yet preserving his body in its full form. All that needs to be done is scaping away the excess wax, posing and dressing the figure to fit in with the surroundings. The scene is quite gruesome and does indeed make your skin begin to crawl.

Paris Hilton as Paige Edwards in House of Wax One of the truly interesting ideas of this movie is the fact that none of the people can escape unscathed. Torture, mutilation and death abound to all who enter the House of Wax. Well some lucky ones do survive but I won't tell you who. Look at the cast list and make a guess. Surprise! You are absolutely right!

House of Wax pushes all of the right buttons but yet when it ends, I was left with an empty feeling. Compared with the classic horror movies of the past, including on the original starring the legendary Vincent Price (notice that one of the characters is named Vincent), there is something seriously lacking here. I did not care one bit about what happened to any of the characters in this movie. This is where House of Wax ultimately fails! The actors are all serviceable. Director Jaume Collet-Serra gets what he can from his direction. Once again, the script writing didn't match up to the concept behind the film. All in all, a failure on all levels.

House of Wax is very expicit in its violence and, on this level alone, it does succeed in keeping you on edge. Of course, Paris Hilton's sweaty body covered in flaming red bra and panties are a plus! The movie comes across as a very good college student's film but not as a professional one! It's worth a look if you want to get creeped out but not expect any extras. You get pretty much what you expect from a standard horror movie.