Written by Chad Hayes & Carey Hayes
Directed by Jaume Serra
Running Time: 1:52
for horror violence,
some sexual content and language..
House of Wax took a little while to get going, but when it did, it turned into a kick-ass, take no prisoners, anything goes horror film.
Six friends on their way to a football game get sidetracked and are forced to camp in the woods. As it turns out, they end up near an almost deserted town, one with a dark history. One by one they enter the town. The only question is, who will survive the House of Wax?
So House of Wax isn't really big on plot. It's got your normal set-up that deals with extremely attractive boys and girls ending up in a bad situation. Some live, some die. If you've seen a horror film in the last 30 years, you know how it goes. The characters all have their own little quirks and back stories that really play no role in the film, but let's talk about them anyway. Elisha Cuthbert as Carly is the star and therefore, most likely to live. She is planning on moving to New York soon, but her boyfriend, Jared Padalecki as Wade, is a little hesitant. He's a small town boy and not sure if moving to New York is the best idea. Carly's brother Nick, as played by Chad Michael Murray is the bad ass of the group. In and out of trouble with the law, but as we find out, maybe not such a bad guy. He's there with his best friend Dalton (Jon Abrahams) whose only real purpose seems to be to videotape things. Carly's best friend Paige (Paris Hilton) is there as well, with her boyfriend Blake (Robert Ri'chard). Paige is pregnant and not sure when she should tell Blake. So as I said, their back stories mean nothing, but I suppose it helps to have something.
I have to warn you, there will be spoilers in the rest of the review, so if you don't want to know what happens, skip ahead to the end. First to enter the town are Carly and Wade. They're a nice couple who only want a fan belt, but end up in a world of trouble. They're the first to enter the House of Wax and the first to feel some of the pain. When Wade gets attacked, I was thinking, OK, standard horror film, nothing too graphic, but still scary. Then Carly gets taken by one of the bad guys and has her lips glued together. OK, that's something new, but still, nothing too extravagant. Then Nick and Dalton wander into town looking for Carly and Wade. And that's when the movie really takes off. Now, this is maybe an hour into the film, so up until now, we've had a few thrills and one attack (notice I don't say death) but nothing too special. Nick finds one of the bad guys and is talking to him, right on top of Carly. Carly manages to free herself enough to poke a finger out of a grate, near where Nick and Bo (one of the bad guys) are talking. Bo notices, Nick doesn't. Bo snaps Carly's finger off. Right then and there I knew this movie had just taken a turn towards serious brutality. I can't remember the last time the female star of a horror film had something that bad happen to her without warning. A lot of horror films advertise brutality but tend to go for the same kind of thrill where you start to see something happen, but then they shade it from you. These days horror films are starting to become more violent (take House of 1000 Corpses for instance) but House of Wax really takes it up a notch. If it was just Carly and her finger, OK, no big deal, but it just gets more and more brutal from then on out.
As I said, the movie took about an hour to really get going. There were some times where you couldn't help but laugh at some of the things the writers and director did. Like the scene early on where they're camping and Carly hears something, so she goes to investigate, wearing a tank top and a really tiny pair of shorts, yet has on these huge thick socks. Or when she sees something outside the house and Wade tells her to 'just wait there' while he goes to check it out. After watching countless horror films over the last few years, audiences are jaded and can smell things coming a mile away. So the production team decided to go with that ideal and jack it up a notch and tell the audience, OK, you know what's going to happen next, but we're going to make it ugly so you'll jump out of your seat. And casting Paris Hilton was a stroke of genius because for the first time that I can recall, you had a nice, hot female character that people still wanted to see die. And, she did a nice striptease down to her underwear before the bad stuff happened to her. And when it went bad, it went really bad in a hurry. In fact, all the death sequences were quite horrible to watch, yet I couldn't help but clap.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I liked House of Wax. I love horror films, and this one had me jumping a couple of times, clapping a few times, laughing a lot and was just a lot of good harmless fun. Because what are the chances you'll ever really end up in an abandoned House of Wax by accident?
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