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Thrills and chills ooze all over you in House of Wax, from Dark Castle Entertainment and legendary horror producers Joel Silver and Robert Zemeckis (Gothika, House on Haunted Hill).
When their car breaks down on a road trip, six college friends are sidetracked into an eerie backwoods town. Curiosity gets the better of them when they are intrigued by its macabre House of Wax. They soon find out that the town is not what it seems and they must find their way out before they fall victim to its ghoulishly inventive killers.
In this remake of the classic 1953 Andre de Toth film that starred Vincent Price, horrors abound in a creepy wax museum. A group of road-tripping Florida teenagers (Elisha Cuthbert, Chad Michael Murray, Paris Hilton, Robert Ri'chard, Jared Padalecki, and Jon Abrahams) stop to camp near a small town where an abandoned wax museum draws their curiosity. Upon exploring the scary cobwebbed space, they find that the figures are not only eerily lifelike, but that the entire museum--floor to ceiling--is actually made of wax. If that wasn't enough to scare them, they encounter a couple of very unsettling characters who seem to be the only people around for miles. One is a blood-splattered redneck who collects roadkill, dumping the bodies of dead deer into a fetid carcass swamp. The other is Bo (Brian Van Holt), a gas station attendant who lures the kids back to his house. Soon, through a series of stomach-turning slasher scenes featuring scissors, long knives, and even a pair of pliers, the teens get to know Bo a whole lot better. They even meet his insane brother Vincent (also played by Van Holt). Brief interludes of teen squabbling and a Hilton strip tease in red lace lingerie temporarily break the tension, but for the most part this HOUSE OF WAX stays the course with shockingly gory moments that earn grosser-than-gross status. Sick predilections involving an experimental surgical station and an elaborate wax-coating machine reveal Vincent's artistic process. But before the bloodbath is over, more twisted secrets about Bo and Vincent bubble to the surface, resulting in a spectacular grand finale and total meltdown.
Sight and Sound
"The effects-heavy, melting-house climax draws on both the 1953 HOUSE OF WAX and a surreal stairway in the first NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET..." 08/01/2005 p.53
English [CC], English, French Dubbed, Spanish Dubbed
MTV Award, Paris Hilton, Best Frightened Performance
I acknowledge that for the average horror film to work, it's necessary for the lead characters to do some illogical - and possible even idiotic - things. But, in a movie like this, there comes a point when the viewer goes beyond questioning the IQ of the protagonists and actively rooting for them to die so that they can't procreate and pass their genes to future offspring. Some stupidity on the part of the characters is fun - we can smirk at the director's use of familiar cliches. But when it's overdone, and when advancing the plot relies upon it, our smiles turn first into grimaces then into frowns. A horror movie can get away with a lot, but once it crosses a certain line, it is insulting to viewers. House of Wax crosses that line. In a way, that's too bad, because it has some of the other requisite element to make it an enjoyably bloody horror experience.
The Dead Teenager Movie has grown up. The characters in "House of Wax" are in their 20s and yet still repeat the fatal errors of all the "Friday the 13th" kids who checked into Camp Crystal Lake and didn't check out...In "House of Wax," two carloads of college students leave Gainesville for a big football game in Baton Rouge, and take an ominous detour along the way, leading them into what looks like the Texas Chainsaw Theme Park. "This town is not even on the GPS!" says one of the future Dead Post-Teenagers...Where the movie excels is in its special effects and set design. Graham "Grace" Walker masterminds a spectacular closing sequence in which the House of Wax literally melts down, and characters sink into stairs, fall through floors and claw through walls. There is also an eerie sequence in which a living victim is sprayed with hot wax and ends up with a finish you'd have to pay an extra four bucks for at the car wash.
DVD, Widescreen, Aspect Ratio 1.85:1, Dolby Digital (5.1), English, French, Spanish, Subtitled, No Longer Produced
Benjamin Strong, The Village Voice
Discomfortingly gratuitous even by slasher standards.
Chuck Thomas, KWBP-TV
Prairie Miller, Long Island Press
Hot, sexy, deliciously creepy horror.
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