House of Wax

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House of Wax
Review (3/10)
(By Will Perkins)

House of Wax bears more of a resemblance to classic 80's teen slasher flicks than the original Vincent Price film. If the filmmakers had intended to make a generic slasher flick, then they most definitely succeeded. The movie takes a very standard (if overused) approach to the horror genre - take a group of hapless, sex crazed teens and pit them against of psychopath of some kind. A group of teens on a road trip to the biggest college football game of the year, decide to take an ill fated short cut through rural Louisiana. Naturally, car troubles force the group to camp out on the outskirts of a mysterious small town. While the rest of the group waits at the camp site, Carly (Elisha Cuthbert) and her boyfriend Wade (Jared Padalecki) head into town to find the local mechanic, Bo (Brian Van Holt). The town it seems is best known for its world famous House of Wax. Predictably, Carly and Wade decide to snoop around the creepy House despite the sign saying that it is closed. If there is one thing protagonists in a horror film should not do it's tread on the psycho's property. What follows is a predictable kill fest in which many of the teens are systematically stalked and killed in various, mildly amusing ways.

What can I say about this movie that I liked? Not a lot. Elisha Cuthbert and Paris Hilton looked extremely good throughout the film, up to and including Paris's much talked about death scene. Cuthbert for me was the highlight of the movie. In the tradition of the horror genre she gives a strong Jamie Lee Curtis-esque performance, including lots of scantily clad running around and screaming. The rest of the cast is just so-so - you don't care enough about them, so when the killer finally catches up with them you'll find yourself quite underwhelmed. The movie does have a few standout parts, but they aren't enough to make you forget how mediocre the rest of the film is. One involves a finger and a pair of wire cutters, and the other is the climax when the House of Wax melts. The latter sequence was extremely well executed, but can't make up for the rest of the film's shortcomings.

Paris Hilton is not an actress, and it shows. She plays Paige, a non-wealthy version of herself and fairs about as well against a knife wielding maniac as you'd expect. A good horror movie makes you care about the characters, so that when they meet their untimely end you actually give a crap. House of Wax does not succeed in this respect. In fact, you welcome the deaths of the many throwaway characters in the film. Scare moments in the movie are way too predictable and are overused. I could go on for paragraphs about the myriad other problems House of Wax suffers from, but I'd be wasting my time and yours.

If you're in the mood for a mindless slasher movie this weekend go see House of Wax. The movie takes a tired, overused formula and brings nothing new to the genre. The girls are hot, but that is about all the movie has going for it. Perhaps a more apt title for House of Wax would be Beautiful People are Slaughtered by Knife Wielding Maniacs. Sure, Paris Hilton with a pole through her head is funny - it's just not worth your ten dollars.

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