House of Wax (2005)

Starring Elisha (Old School) Cuthbert, Chad Michael (Freaky Friday) Murray, Brian (S.W.A.T.) Van Holt, Paris Hilton

Directed by Jaume Serra

Anyone who is into classic horror knows and loves the 1953 Vincent Price version of House of Wax and I am no exception. The film terrified me as a child and remains my favorite Price film to date. So needless to say I wasn’t too enthusiastic to hear that a remake was being produced, and to top it off starring none other than Paris Hilton. Also Dark Castle hadn’t impressed me with any of their previous films, which include remakes of 13 Ghosts and another Price classic House on Haunted Hill. So it is safe to say that my expectations going in were extremely low to say the least.

Much like the previously mentioned films, House of Wax is also a remake in name only, baring little resemblance to the original film. This seems to be the current trend in horror remakes as of late, to profit on a well known name while basically making a sequel of sorts under the guise of a remake.

The film starts out a little rough with an almost laughable back-story involving some harsh disciplining of a young boy with zero explanation, then quickly changes to present day where we find a group of six teens heading out of town to go to a football game.

Carly (Cuthbert) and her boyfriend Wade’s (Jared Padalecki) plans are spoiled when a friend bails out Carly’s troublemaking brother Nick (Murry) out of jail to tag along for the ride. Of course brother and sister do not get along with one another and there is friction immediately because of Nick’s bad boy attitude.

On the way to the game they decide to take the token “short cut” to save time and end up hitting a detour that puts them on a back road through the woods. They decide to pull over to set up camp, and finish driving in the morning.

It isn’t until they wake up the next morning that the film begins to take off and never slows down. What happens from here on out is a blast. The film doesn’t have the most likeable or compassionate characters, nor the best story or dialogue, but what it does deliver is action, thrills, scares and a ton of fun. It keeps you on the edge of your seat and doesn’t let up. It also has some of the most inventive kills I have seen in a slasher film in a long time. I honestly don’t know how they got some things passed the MPAA for an R rating but I’m glad they did. As a result we were allowed the opportunity to see the amazing job KNB EFX did on the picture.

As a kid I grew up just a couple of blocks down the street from Movieland Wax Museum in Buena Park California and the place always creeped me out. Still today when I go there I get this chill walking through the labyrinth of wax figures, and director Jaume Serra captured that same feeling quite well on film.
The acting in the picture was decent with the only real stand outs being Elisha Cuthbert and Brian Van Holt in a duel role. As expected Paris Hilton was just plain bad. She can not act and was just more of a distraction than an asset to the picture. However she did have one scene in the film that had the entire theater break out in applause…you can guess what that was.

You could easily pick this movie apart pointing out several things that could never happen in real life, but if you let that go and just sit back and allow yourself to be entertained, I think any horror fan would leave this film having had a good time. In my opinion it is Dark Castle’s best effort yet.

3 1/2 out of 5

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Jon Condit

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