House of Wax (2005)
By: J.R. McNamara on December 24, 2005  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Roadshow (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1. English Subtitles. 108 minutes
The Movie
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring: Elisha Cuthbert, Chad Michael Murray, Brian Van Holt
Paris Hilton, Jared Padalecki
Screenplay: Carey W. Hayes
Country: USA
Dark Castle Entertainment have to be given credit. When they remake a film, the original is virtually unrecognizable and in some case could barely even be called a remake. Based loosely on the 1953 House of Wax with Vincent Price, which itself was the remake of the 1933 Lional Atwill vehicle Mystery of the Wax Museum. The first two have basically the same storyline, while the revision or 're-imagining' barely resembles the original except for a few basic plot points, which I can't reveal without spoiling the story. In actual fact, this film reads a lot more like Tourist Trap, Motel Hell or Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

While on their way to a college football game, Carly (Elisha Cuthbert), her brother Nick (Chad Michael Murray), her boyfriend, Wade (Jared Padalecki) and friends Paige (Paris Hilton), Dalton (John Abrahams) and Blake (Robert Ri'chard) stop overnight to camp and get a fresh start in the morning. While setting up camp they have a slight run-in with a local, which leads them on a terrifying adventure within the abandoned sugar town of Ambrose…

Filmed in Australia with a mainly Australian crew, and an occasional Aussie cast member, first time director Jaume Collet-Serra has really taken an average script and turned it into an OK movie. With plenty of style and a little bit of substance, House of Wax looks and sound great. Heiress Paris Hilton was Collet-Serra's first choice for the role of Paige Edwards and the cast was built around her, which is made obvious by the fact that her signature 'That's hot!' is used on a couple of occasions, and to be fair, she is no where near as bad as what you would expect, and what most would hope for.

This is dumb teen horror that horror fans of the future will no doubt look upon with great affection.
This predominantly green tinged feature is presented at 1.78:1 and looks great.
The dolby Digital 5.1 provides some great slurpy blood noises and sudden musical stabs to jar the non horror fan (and maybe even make the old horror fan jump as well). All in all a great sounding movie, which is what you expect from any movie made recently with the home cinema experience in mind.
Extra Features
B-roll and Blooper Video Cast Commentary (26 minutes and 25 seconds): This is a split screen (top/ bottom) commentary with the cast (Murray, Cuthbert, Hilton and Padalecki) chatting about the behind the scenes footage they are watching. The comments made by the cast members are fairly inane and not very informative, but the concept is a good one.

Wax On (7 minutes 22 seconds): A fairly interesting doco about the design of House of Wax, which has some pretty incredible sets in it. Interviews with director Collet-Serra, Production Designer Graham 'Grace' Walker, Dark Castle doyen Joel Silver and others, this is brief, but enjoyable.

House Built on Wax (10 minutes 7 seconds ): A visual effects documentary in a similar vein to 'Wax On'. The interviews in this short are with the same as Wax On and again, could have benefited from being slightly longer. It shows a few sequences from Price's House of Wax from the fifties, and it identifies its influences and homages.

Gag Reel (3 minutes 16 seconds): The usual behind the scenes, Funniest Home Video styled malarkey.

Alternate Open: Jennifer Killed (1 minute 36 seconds): As the name suggests an alternate opening where a character named Jennifer (Emma Lung) is killed. This extra is worth watching just for the inventive death and clever filming of it.

From Location: Joel Silver Reveals House of Wax (1 minute 30 seconds): An amusing promotional fluff piece presided over by Joel Silver, which gives a small run down of the film and Dark Castle Entertainment.

Trailer: The trailer for the film, House of Wax.
The Verdict
Fairly violent and bloody, and a little stupid, but not so much as to be insulting, House of Wax is an OK way to spend two hours on the couch. A definite popcorn movie and no where near as bad as what you may have heard.
Movie Score
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