It’s always dangerous to go back and watch a movie you enjoyed when you were younger. You always run the risk of realizing just how dumb you were as a youth.
But danger’s my middle name and so I threw caution to the wind and all sorts of other clichés when I sat down and rewatched “House of Wax” for the first time in a few years.
Granted, the movie is only eight years old, so it’s hardly a lifetime ago that I last saw this thing, but still, I’m a relatively young man and eight years is a pretty decent-sized gap.
Well, folks, I’m happy to say that for the most part, I still enjoyed “House of Wax.” It’s a mostly inoffensive, hokey, but fun horror movie. The acting is kind of meh at times, but the writing is mostly solid and it’s got some cool --- at least by 2005 standards --- effects thrown in for good measure.
In the movie, a group of friends are making their way to some sort of big football game that only one of them, Blake (Robert Ri’chard) is really excited to see. And boy is he excited. Super, needlessly excited.
The rest of the group, not so much. Wade (Jared Padalecki) is a country boy only there so he can spend some quality time with his gal Carly (Elisha Cuthbert) before she heads to the big city for an internship. Paige (Paris Hilton) is there for the sole purpose of having lots and lots of sex with Blake. Nick (Chad Michael Murray) wanted a change of pace from his usual routine of brooding and pretending to be a badass at home. And finally, Dalton (Jon Abrahams) is there because every group needs a goofy friend for the others to rag on.
|Acting is mostly fair, characters make too many bad choices, and it's WAY too long, but I'll gladly watch it again in a year or two|
Of course, things don’t go smoothly for our crew and soon they end up in a seemingly abandoned town with a really snazzy wax museum which is just full of amazingly lifelike sculptures. Unfortunately for most of them, they also get to meet the museum’s psychotic curator and learn the horrifying secret of what makes the sculptures look so real!!! Dun dun dun!
I saw horrifying, but not really. “House of Wax” is too paint-by-numbers horror to really be scary. There’s some good gore here and there, but it’s pretty obvious who’s going to live and die, there’s not a ton of tension of suspense at all. It’s not bad, just predictable. If you’ve never seen a slasher before though, this will definitely scare the pants off of you.
I’ve said it before: Paris Hilton is not an actor. She wasn’t a musician either. She was just a celebrity trying to justify her fame. She’s pretty clunky here. She doesn’t really manage to convey any sort of emotion and her character is just window dressing.
The rest of the cast has their moments. I love Padalecki so very, very much. He too isn’t given a whole lot to do though, which is sad. Chad Michael Murray is nice, but he’s more of a whiny kid than a true bad ass. Again, he’s got his moments.
The biggest problem with “House of Wax” is that, at just under two hours, it is way too long to the point where it gets hard to watch at times. There’s no reason this movie should be a second over 90 minutes.
There’s way too much time spent driving in cars, drinking in the woods, prattling on endlessly about who might be pregnant with who’s baby. Get rid of it. We don’t need it.
The movie’s most memorable scene is --- spoiler alert --- Paris’ death scene. The girl takes a giant metal pole right to the head and then the killer whips out a camera and films the aftermath, a not-so-subtle nod to a certain sex tape perhaps?
There’s some good stuff here and I certainly don’t hate “House of Wax.” I’ll watch it again in a few years. Don’t want to push my luck.
You can definitely have some fun watching this in a group and laughing at the characters and all their mindless decisions. There’s enough “We should split up and cover more ground” in this to fill eight “Friday the 13th” movies.
The good this is, other than the runtime, “House of Wax” doesn’t try to do too much or take itself too seriously. It’s a mindless, somewhat disposable slasher you can have some fun with and then resume your life.
Just that runtime. Ugh.
Worst of the Worst
So Paris’ character may or may not be preggers with Blake’s baby. He doesn’t know this, of course. She wanted to wait to tell him until after the big game that he’s been going on about for at least the entire movie and probably months before then.
Eventually, she just decides “Ah fork it, I’ll tell him now.” So she tries to tell him, right after performing a highly seductive striptease and right before they have sex. She’s mostly naked and she picked that moment to try to share potentially life-altering news with the man.
After a striptease! That’s just cruel. Logically, the scene doesn’t make any sense, but it also just feels like more filler in a movie that is already way too bloated anyway. Take the shears to it!
So there you go, “House of Wax.” Bullet dodged and bumblebee tuna.