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House of Wax
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House of Wax (2005)

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Plot Summary:
"Car troubles sideline a group of teens in the quiet town of Athelston, Iowa. Directed to the only business that can offer assistance - a creepy gas station owned by a suave bad boy named Bo - the stranded kids are lured deeper and deeper into Bo's web."

Review by
Ryan McDonald
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Review Date: 30 October 2006 My Rating: out of 5


Forgetting the fact that there was no need to remake a film that worked the first time, let’s jump right into the synopsis. The film concerns a bunch of lost and horny campers (Twins Elisha Cuthbert and brooding Chad Michael Murray, Paris Hilton and her boyfriend Robert Ri’chard, and a few others not even worth a damn), who stumble upon what appears to be a ghost town.

There they find a seemingly helpful fellow named Bo (Brian Van Holt, looking alarmingly like veteran character actor Bo Hopkins), and of course, a wax museum. Unlike the 1953 classic, this wax museum is itself made entirely of wax! Anyway, it’s not long before people start dying, with the audience hoping and praying that Paris Hilton will get it, and get it good.

Your fondness for this remake from the Dark Castle people requires a fondness for late 70s and early 80s slasher films, say “Friday the 13th”, and a general hatred of Paris Hilton (what does she do for a living exactly? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?). As some of you may already know, I am no “Friday” fan, and this thoroughly routine, empty stalk-and-slash flick bored me to tears for at least its first 45 minutes. I cared nothing for the characters, who despite plenty of screen time, are barely developed. I cared even less for their situation, which for the first 45 minutes consisted of practically nothing at all. Where was the house? Where was the wax? Where in the hell is the movie? It’s 45 minutes of walking, waiting, and talking on cell phones.

But then things started to change…a little. You see, gone it seems are the dreaded days of PG-13 horror, watered down efforts that give true horror fans the main things they generally watch these films for (violence and T&A). This flick may not have much of the latter (and given that I don’t find Hilton the slightest bit attractive, I wasn’t bothered), but the gore (just about the only good thing about the “Friday” series) is quite brutal and fun if you’re into that sort of thing. We get the celebrated decapitation scene (guess who gets a long shaft shoved into the wrong part of their head?), a great severed finger, a brilliantly nasty sliced foot, and my personal favourite, a knife to the head, followed by the killer stepping on the knife to push it in further. Now that’s just plain not nice!

It’s such a shame that every other aspect of this film stinks, including boring characters and performances. At least the original B-grade classic was great fun. And as for the concept of a house made entirely out of wax, answer me this; Looking at it, can you actually tell it is made of wax? Does it look visually interesting? The answer to both of those is no. Even fans of the slasher flicks of yesteryear are likely to lose patience with this one. And if you’re a fan of “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane”, you will be unimpressed to hear that this film desecrates that film’s name a couple of times in lame throwaway in-jokes.

As much as I’d like to recommend this film to anyone who has always wished the very worst for Paris Hilton, this dull and uninspired remake isn’t worth it. Fans of the “Friday the 13th” series might get some enjoyment, if they can make it past the first 45 minutes.

Reviewer: Phil Davies Brown @horrorasylum
Location:Scotland, UK
Review Date: 29 May 2005 My Rating: out of 5

Well, the most hotly anticipated/debated slasher movie of the year is finally here, and whilst I thought it was very good, it wasn't as amazing as the trailer would have you believe.

The set up is nothing new, as a group of friends get lost on their way to a football game and decide to camp out. After a creepy encounter with a mysterious stranger in a truck, the kids awake the next day to find that one of their cars has been messed with and so the group splits, with two of them heading for help in a nearby town which has it's very own House of Wax. Creepiness ensues as the film builds to it's gory, novel and messy conclusion.

I was really excited about this as I love slasher movies, but I also know that Dark Castle never deliver the goods, so I was praying that they would finally get it right with this one, and to an extent they did. The film has a very gritty look and feel that gives it an indie sensibility, which in turn makes the 70's vibe even stronger.

There is a strong feeling of dread present and a lurking fear throughout the film's initial set up, and it ends up being very violent and extremely wince inducing in many parts.

I really liked the cast here and applaud Dark Castle for taking the standard 'let's just use cast members from some of our shows to fill the roles' route and turning it on it's head by making Chad Michael Murray a sarcastic prick, and Jared Padalecki a different kind of nice guy. The characters relationships work really well, as they all seem to care for each other and i'll say it again....Paris did a good job here, as she did in her previous horror effort Nine Lives (which I also predicted would be released here in the UK due to the hype surrounding HOW and what do you's out June 6th).

The film really does take time to establish itself and it's characters before offing it's cast in unpredictable and very gory fashion. Teenage girls screamed, adult audience members grimaced and a few commoners shouted things along the lines of 'That shit is f*cked up!!

What didn't work so well for me was John Ottman's score, which fails to make it's presence known and lessens the impact of Paris' much anticipated chase sequence. The jump scenes were so slowly paced that you didn't really jump, and I also think they underused the wax aspect which is ultimately more terrifying than just being slaughtered.

I'm quite perplexed by the comments across the net about Elisha Cuthbert being able to do certain things with an injury, or not doing things that she probably should have, as everything is explained. The film has many subtleties that are admittedly edited quickly, but if you pay attention you'll see that the filmmakers have thought things through.

This is definitely Dark Castle's best film to date and is well worth seeing. I think that the majority of horror journalists enjoyed it more than they will admit, as they may have a problem with confessing that they were wrong, not to mention hasty to predict it would suck. I also think that the apparent box office failure (although it's not doing too badly) is down to the fact that it's rated R Stateside and it's got a real mean streak in it. Horror fans need to stop complaining and get their bums in seats to ensure that we begin to see more movies like this taking chances and actually delivering something slightly disturbing instead of chopping it out and then slapping it back in for the DVD.

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