House of Wax Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra
Written by Chad & Carey Hayes
Starring Elisha Cuthbert, Chad Michael Murray, Jared Padalecki, Paris Hilton, Brian Van Holt, Robert Ri’chard, Jon Abrahams Warner Bros
Netflix Release: December, 2016
A 25% on Rotten Tomatoes. A Metacritic score of 41. 2005’s House of Wax… this movie must SUCK! Of course, if you hit the flashback machine a decade, the bane of all human existence was Paris Hilton. Long before anyone cared about the Kardashian sisters or what stupid names Kim names her kids, there was Paris, the heiress to the Hilton hotel fortune. Famous for a leaked sex tape, and a reality show on cable TV (sound familiar?), Paris Hilton coined the phrase “That’s hot” and… that’s it. That was her major contribution to America. And right in the middle of her notoriety, she gets cast in the remake of the beloved 1953 Vincent Price horror flick, House of Wax. The movie didn’t stand a chance. But here’s the thing… it’s kinda awesome. And, it’s now available streaming on Netflix.
First time director Jaume Collet-Serra (Non Stop, Run the Night) actually has a really good young cast fresh off popular TV shows. The big three were Elisha Cuthbert, from mega-hit 24, Chad Michael Murray of One Tree Hill, and Jared Padalecki right between Gilmore Girls, and Supernatural. Cuthbert and Murray play twins Carly and Nick representing the good and bad twins, as Nick is a recent parolee who lost a possible scholarship. Padalecki is Wade, Carly’s goody goody boyfriend. Those three, along with Paige (Hilton), her boyfriend Blake (Robert Ri’chard) and annoying tag along Dalton (Jon Abrahams) are en route to a big college football game in the deep south. They decide to camp out in a field rather than drive all night, and a bunch of minor events later, they all end up in the ghost town of Ambrose, once famous for its wax museum.
Here’s why this movie deserved better: First off, modern horror movies need to either be psychologically scary (The Conjuring/Paranormal Activity), or in your face with blood and gore (Saw franchise). This totally succeeds in being a gore-fest. Rewatching it last night, I actually forgot how bloody the film is. There are girls falling into roadkill pits, decapitations, fingers getting cut off, Achilles being sliced, and lips being glued together… and pulled apart. Then there is a really creepy and brutally disgusting part, where we watch Wade get turned into a living wax sculpture step by step.
Second, we have to address Paris Hilton. If she was cast as the heroine here and nobly fought off the killer twins, Bo and Vincent (Brian Van Holt), then all criticisms would be warranted. But her character only exists to die, and die she does in an EPIC way. I’m not joking or exaggerating, but when she dies, the theater crowd I was with cheered, and gave an ovation akin to watching a concert and hearing the band’s magnum opus. I won’t ruin the manner of her death, but it’s one of my personal favorites.
Lastly, the special effects are amazing. The wax museum and all the sculptures are phenomenal, and the ending featuring a massive fire and literal meltdown is a tremendous scene. There are a few scenes where shoddy CGI can be noticed, but it doesn’t take anything away from the others. The gore effects are really freaking cool and particularly gross. Dalton finds Wade encased in wax, and accidentally pulls his face off! The glued lip scene is guaranteed to make you squirm, and God bless Elisha Cuthbert for actually doing that scene legit.
Don’t expect Vincent Price, and don’t expect a classic. But if you want a gruesome and gory horror movie that’ll make you wince, then House of Wax is definitely worth the watch. How can you mock a movie that butchers Paris Hilton and manages to make Chad Michael Murray a convincing badass. It’s so much better than its 25% on Rotten Tomatoes would have you believe. House of Wax kicks all sorts of ass and I’m hoping this review convinces some to either give it a shot, and others to give it another try now that Paris Hilton is happily out of the limelight. The film is newly streaming on Netflix, free with a monthly subscription.
House of Wax (trailer #1)
House of Wax tells the story of a group of friends who fall prey to a sinister plot while passing through a small town on their way to a college football game.