September 11, 2011

House of Wax (2005)

"Six friends are stranded in a ghost town where a towering wax museum looms ahead. And inside are two brothers who have a special way of making the wax figures look real..."

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you'll already know that I've got a soft spot for Paris Hilton. No, not the compost heap at the bottom of the garden or anything nasty like that. I genuinely like Paris Hilton even though, based on her performance in "House of Wax" and a couple of other horrors that I've seen her in, she can't really act. I had to put the subtitles on several times to find out what she was mumbling.

What Paris can do really well though, apart from the obvious, is promote a film. If it hadn't been for her, and knowing in advance that her character was going to die horribly in "House of Wax", I doubt that as many people would have gone to the cinema to see this re-imagining.

"House of Wax" was one of the first batch of "re-imaginings" rather than "remakes" to hit us as Hollywood ran out of ideas six years ago but it wasn't a totally awful one unlike the dreck we are getting now. In fact, "House of Wax" is still actually quite a decent film as I discovered when I watched it again last night.

If you can make it through the first ten minutes, where you just feel like slapping some acting ability into everybody, then it gets much better and, surprisingly, it's far more entertaining for a modern audience than its 1953 namesake. The use of suspense is almost unbearable in places but exceptionally well done.

Even though most of the characters are extremely unlikeable and do many of the predictably stupid things which you'd expect, at least the two leads, Elisha Cuthbert and Chad Michael Murray, are a little bit more credible than the rest of the cast and I almost cared about what happened to them. I say "almost" because there isn't a whole lot of character development or even consistency to them.

Of course, nobody really cares about any of that, least of all me, since "House of Wax" relies mainly on the use of outstanding effects from KNB as its main selling point. The gore scenes range from brutal to some which actually make you feel sorry for the characters even if they were the most annoying assholes to begin with.

One scene in particular which involves Jared Padaleck's character Wade getting turned into a waxwork is probably the most memorable for everybody especially as the aftermath is one of those things which gets stuck in your head for a while and leaves you thinking about how horrible it would be.

Without giving away any more spoilers for those of you who haven't seen "House of Wax", there aren't any big twists but there are certainly some very original touches and surprises which will make you want to revisit certain scenes again to see how the characters were initially fooled.

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