House of Wax (2005)
Elisha Cuthbert, Chad Michael Murray, Paris Hilton, Jared Padalecki, Jon Abrahams
Directed By:
Jaume Collet-Sera

While they share the same name, the 2005 version of House of Wax and the 1953 version, which starred Vincent Price, only bear the similarity that they involve, well, Houses of Wax. In the 2005 version, we follow six young adults as they drive from Florida to a college football game in Baton Rouge. On the way there, they camp overnight and wake up the next morning with a cut fan belt in one of the vehicles. This forces Carly (Cuthbert) and her boyfriend (Padalecki) to hike to the nearby town for a replacement while the others attempt to make the game (great friends, aren't they?).

It doesn't take long for Carly and her boyfriend to find trouble in the nearby town. After discovering the whole town is populated with wax people and two whack-job brothers, Carly manages to run, leaving her boyfriend to his grisly demise. When Carly's brother (Murray) and her other friends return, they are picked off one at a time. While I might make the story sound moderately deep in that the bad guys have demented ulterior motives to the action, but that would be giving the plot way too much credit.

House of Wax falls in line with the likes of Boogeyman and Darkness Falls - a mediocre offering hoping to "redefine" the genre but only managing to be a waste of a ticket price. So many of these new horror films try to be dark or even maybe a little unique, like an extended music video, but only end up poorly paced or executed. In House of Wax, the movie takes what feels like an hour just to get to killing the first victim. While one may use the excuse that the movie was building tension, this tension is squandered by a cast of characters that are unlikable on many levels.

When the movie finally does get to the killing, it still feels slow and drawn out. There are a few cringe-worthy moments, but since even the badguys lack a certain fear factor, it's really not long lasting. Not only is the pacing for this film completely mismanaged, but it suffers from massive lack of originality. So much so that the whole of the script is pretty predictable. This causes any degree of horror to feel shallow and like a wasted effort. And because it takes so long to get to the action, I personally didn't care what happened to the cast. I just wanted someone to die so that the movie would be over soon.

I could possibly stomach the crap-fest script and plot if the movie at least featured decent scares or effects. But, after seeing the second-rate wax models, I really held out no hope for the movie. While the wax models didn't have to be of Madame Tussaud's quality, most barely looked close to realistic. And then there was the fact that we were told that the house and everything within was made of wax, though nothing really looked the part until the ending.

Unless you want to waste money on a brain-dead horror flick in which Paris Hilton dies after an hour of tedium, skip House of Wax. Seriously. It's the kind of film that ruins careers.

- - Vane

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