Monday, February 15, 2010

'House of Wax' has little in common with
classics that share the same title

House of Wax (2005)
Starring: Elisha Cuthbert, Chad Michael Murray, Brian Van Holt, and Paris Hilton
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Rating: Six of Ten Stars

A group of teenaged friends get lost and then stranded in an isolated stretch of back country. Seeking help in a nearby town, they come upon a wax museum far more remarkable than it even appears at first... and the fact the whole building that houses it is made of wax is pretty damn remarkable. Naturally, there's a crazed killer or two lurking among the exhibits.

"House of Wax" is scary in the way one of those Halloween haunted houses that spring up in neighborhoods, amusement parks, and empty warehouses this time of year is scary. It's also a film that requires a similar level of suspension of disbelief and willingness to play along. While it does contain some genuinely creepy moments, its very premise is so far fetched and ludicrous that even the most "game" viewer will find himself shaking his head at times. The acting is what you'd expect in a film like this, and the director and casting folks need to be congratulated for putting the best actors in in the movie in the leads.

For slasher-movie fans, there are a couple of nice kills--including that of Paris Hilton's character--but limited gore. For fans of absurd, there's the climactic encounters between siblings--our protagonists good girl Carly (Cuthbert) and her rebel-without-a-cause-but-with-a-criminal-record brother Nick (Murray) versus the crazed twin brothers who are masters of the House of Wax (both played by Holt)--in a most unusual environment, and they build to a thrilling finale to the film. For fans of horror movies in general, there are some good scares and a handful of wild set pieces that make the movie worth your time.

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