Film Review: House of Wax (2005)

SYNOPSIS:

A group of unwitting teens are stranded near a strange wax museum and soon must fight to survive and keep from becoming the next exhibit

REVIEW:

I find it extremely amusing that one of the key marketing tools for House of Wax was that it gives the audience an opportunity to see Paris Hilton get killed! But if that is all of the incentive you need (plus we get to witness her giving a strip-tease to her boyfriend), then read no further and simply purchase the film immediately.

The cast (Paris Hilton included) all did a fantastic job with it and I believed every second of their performance, and believe me, there were some intense scenes which I imagine must have been very draining. There was a guy getting covered in hot wax with his eyebrows being ripped off, a girl getting her lips glued together and tip of her finger cut off, and the grand finale in which an entire building made of wax has to melt down (with the characters still inside!). This was a very ambitious movie and I think that all of these tricky parts were done brilliantly. An ironic side-note here is that the sound stage did actually burn to the ground during the filming of this movie which must have hindered it somewhat, but I give the filmmakers even more respect for battling through and still managing to make an exciting film!


I’m aware that House of Wax has been slated for the main characters being dubbed ‘moronic’ and ‘useless’, but I personally think that this can be said of many horror films, which movie fans still can’t help but love. Anyway, who knows exactly what is the right course of action to take when confronted with a town filled with an entire population of wax people, as well as some psychopaths thrown in for good measure? It’s an original and peculiar situation which most people, well all people, are not really accustomed to!

There are some familiar faces in House of Wax which might be encouragement enough to go check it out. Firstly, and probably most notably for any horror fans out there, Elisha Cuthbert, who some of you may recognise from Captivity. There’s also Chad Michael Murray, Jared Padalecki and Jon Abrahams, all of whom have some significant films under their belts already.

Obviously, the name of the film itself gives away a certain aspect of what the film is going to be about, but this doesn’t ruin the experience. A group of youngsters are on a road trip to go and see a supposedly ‘unmissable’ football game. Whilst driving through an apparent ‘short-cut’, it starts to get late so they decide to pull over and camp the night in a secluded patch of grass. Things take an unsettling turn when a mysterious car drives over to them, blazing its lights in their faces before heading on its way again once one of the kids smashes a bottle over its bonnet. This, coupled with a strange smell of decay around the place, mean that once the morning comes, they are all eager to leave. However, one of the cars has been damaged in the night (who they presume the culprit to be the fellow from last night) and a couple decide to stay behind to get it fixed. They encounter a strange, unnerving town which manages to be creepy before you even know why!

Joel Silver, the producer of House of Wax, claims that ‘it’s really different than you’d think. It isn’t really a teen horror. I mean, it really is good. It’s smart. It’s a smart film and the movie has different styles to it. It opens in almost a ‘Blair Witch’ kind of reality type story at the beginning. And then you get into the town – when you’re in the town, the style changes. It’s good. It’s a good movie.’ I agree that the transition worked well to keep the audience on their toes and to up the ante, as it were.

Also, I read that there was actually an MTV crew shooting throughout the filming to create a kind of behind the scenes documentary about the ‘making of’ process. It was called Movie Life: House of Wax. Although I have not seen this, I would very much be interested to and wish that lots more films take on this additional idea, because it’s a great way to see the ‘cogs in motion’. Plus, it gives a real indication of the personalities and passion that go into making a film, which is priceless for wannabe directors and producers.

Overall, House of Wax is a neat little film which doesn’t hold many surprises but is still an enjoyable film to watch. The horror movie clichés are all there and the audience can already tell from the start who’s going to survive and who’s going to get the chop – but hey, that’s part of the fun of it! I think it would be entirely appropriate here to end with the words of Paris Hilton herself, who describes House of Wax as ‘creepy and scary and sexy and fun’, continuing with ‘it’s a fun movie to go watch and scream and a good time watching’. For the first time in my life, I have to say that I am in total agreement with Paris Hilton’s sentiments!.

House of Wax (2005)

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