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Overall Rating

Awesome: 12.98%
Worth A Look: 24.43%
Average: 3.05%
Pretty Bad31.3%
Total Crap: 28.24%

11 reviews, 65 user ratings

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House of Wax (2005)
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Scott Weinberg

"-or- The Movie You'll See Just to Watch Paris Hilton Get Murdered"
2 stars

Take a horror movie that the old gorehounds admire (1953's "House of Wax"), a modern remake that made a lot of money ("The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"), and a forgotten old cult thriller that's just prefect to steal from ("Tourist Trap") and you get this muddled concoction, a horror flick that's mercilessly dry and boring for 2/3rds of its running time ... and hopelessly loud, stupid, and gore-soaked for the final third. And be sure to toss Paris Hilton into the mix, beacuse, as a shameless marketing ploy hoping to cash in on the talentless gal's current popularity, "that's hot."

Six college student idiots are traveling from Florida to Louisiana for a football game. They get lost, suffer a mechanical problem in one of their vehicles, and begin wandering around. The two sentences you just read represent approximately one full hour of House of Wax's running time. Somehow mistaking a whole lot of aimless blather for actual intensity and character development, first-time director Jaume Serra seems fully intent on boring you into a coma before unleashing a skimpy collection of nasty gore-bits. But since you don't care about any of the characters one bit, and the very concept of the movie is pretty much all things pedestrian, House of Wax feels like 75% yawn, 20% dripping gore, and 5% left over for the end credits.

Mr. Serra, along with the equally inexperienced screenwriters Carey and Chad Hayes, seems entirely content to let his film do nothing for the first two acts. The six main goofballs are not even remotely sympathetic, challenging, or interesting. They say stupid things before doing stupid things ... and then we're introduced to a giant haunted house made entirely of wax. (Good thing it never gets hot in Louisiana!)

Elisha Cuthbert is the most famous of all the cast members, which (of course) means that her character will live to see the end credits and that her agent will be demanding double the paycheck House of Wax 2: Wax Off!. Paris Hilton, in a startling display of typecasting, plays a slutty whiner who exists only to deliver a particularly nasty death scene that audience members will adore ... if only because they really hate Paris Hilton. Acting-wise, she's similar to Pia Zadora, only with less natural talent. The four boys in the cast are as photogenic as they are one-note: the noble boyfriend, the rebellious bad boy, the goofy comic sidekick, and the black guy who doesn't even warrant an onscreen dispatch.

If I told you that the local wax house was populated by a pair of resoundingly homicidal maniacs, I doubt your response would be "Hey, TWO killers! This movie must be good!" But by the time that House of Wax begins to pick up some steam and deliver the good, gory gristle ... you just won't care. As a hardcore horror freak, I was able to appreciate that House of Wax delivered a handful of unapologetically gruesome murder scenes, but the long, lingering looks at the severed limbs and blood geysers exist only because, well, there's nothing else worth watching.

It's as if the young director realized that A) his movie does nothing for 55 minutes, and B) it's not actually scary in any discernable way, so he just amped up the gory bits and let his camera lovingly linger on the bloodletting a few times. Because when you can't make something that's actually creepy and intense, you should just snip off an extra finger, Krazy-Glue someone's lips together, or allow the gorethirsty audience get three long looks at Ms. Hilton's hideous demise. That's a tacky approach for any horror flick to take, so while House of Wax has handsome production value and a few cool ideas, the overall result is really not much more than your typical Friday the 13th sequel ... only with less creativity and a lot more Paris Hilton.

And in keeping with the 'wax, wax, everywhere WAX' concept of this goofy little gore-bucket, I'll just glibly assume that the screenplay was written in crayon.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 05/07/05 04:38:06
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Tribeca Film Festival For more in the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival series, click here.
Horror Remakes: For more in the Horror Remakes series, click here.

User Comments

2/21/17 morris campbell house of shit is more like it 1 stars
10/18/09 Chad Dillon Cooper Should have been called "House of Hollywood Hostess Twinkie garbage". 1 stars
7/14/09 faiche13 Ultra creepy campy fun 3 stars
6/24/09 Kailee An okay movie, very slow beginning but it picks up towards the end 3 stars
6/10/09 RHYS Not SCARY enough. No suspense, just drags. Good special effects at end. 2 stars
8/15/08 Shaun Wallner Ugg boring!! 1 stars
11/08/07 art excellent 5 stars
11/02/07 hank3395 favorite scene: when Paris dies 2 stars
5/19/07 wooo hooo kid i like it andthe song and when paris is in the tent 5 stars
2/22/07 Beau For Paris her performance was good, but elisha cuthbert and chadwas amazing!! good casting 4 stars
1/13/07 bullit16 Wow. An absolute abortion of a movie. 1 star is 1 too many 1 stars
11/09/06 sofi best part wen paris gets killld wooohhoooo 4 stars
11/02/06 cody Slow at first , but the movie delivers in the end, good mixture of blood and scares. 3 stars
8/06/06 Taelor Blevins I thought it was great Paris Hilton and Chad Murray and Elisha Cuthbert done a great job! 5 stars
7/30/06 Shaun Wallner it was alright 4 stars
7/14/06 Stanley Thai This is the BEST horror film of 2005. Don't listen to other people. It's not crap but it's 4 stars
7/12/06 Anthony Feor My favorite part was the acting 1 stars
7/08/06 drydock54321 this is a nice one 4 stars
6/15/06 Garrett So many talk bad about Paris, But im sure she is a main reason why they watched the movie. 4 stars
5/09/06 Brittany I LOVED IT 5 stars
4/30/06 BILL it wuz to brillent but to perdicetble 4 stars
4/25/06 Carol Baker Too Predictable for words to describe 2 stars
1/20/06 Danny Repulsive. Poor Jared! Yuck! 1 stars
12/21/05 Carolyn Rathburn the only thing that impressed me was the painting by Vincent 2 stars
12/12/05 Trisha Gifford it was relli good, the main chick was relli good tha hot black guy was sooo fine 5 stars
11/21/05 Indrid Cold Being slightly better than the typical slick Hollywood horror movie makes it just average. 3 stars
11/16/05 Jeff W Great fun. As good a slasher as anyone can ask for. 5 stars
11/12/05 j I LOVE THIS MOVIE BECAUSE I'M A COMPLETE FUCKING MORON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
11/06/05 HGTV fanatic I loved this movie for one reason--Paris bites the dust---now "THAT'S HOT"!!!! 1 stars
10/28/05 dylans gurl this film rox and i soon will own it hopfully and i luv the part where chad takes off his s 5 stars
10/25/05 chris fox (the god) a good movie worth watching 5 stars
10/17/05 Nikki Louise Gledhill I thought it was brilliant. It was pretty scary 5 stars
10/11/05 Tom Burns I loved it. A great horror movie. 5 stars
9/12/05 Svante Skoog I LOVE GORE!! Finally the slashers of today are bringing back the splatter to life :) 5 stars
9/09/05 Lloyd Kaufman is a Sex God It has Elisha Cuthbert in it and Paris Hilton getting killed. What more could you ask for? 4 stars
9/09/05 Kyle More than delivers on its promise. 5 stars
8/22/05 Christian A vehicle for Paris Hilton, bleh 1 stars
7/27/05 Jerry MUCH better than recent slasher movies. No reason for the harsh reviews. 5 stars
7/17/05 Vic it was texas chainsaw massacre with hilton should stay away from acting! 2 stars
7/17/05 Charlene Javier Lame-o! 2 stars
7/16/05 Green Gremlin Great production design...shame about the story !!! 2 stars
7/16/05 Steve W. Thankfully, there are two critics on this site who know what a GOOD slasher movie is. 5 stars
7/08/05 Sophia Great horror movie. Fun, popcorn entertainment. 5 stars
6/23/05 nicky white i didnt understand why they were killing people 1 stars
6/16/05 adrian ace pure garbage, trailers looked great, movie sux ass 1 stars
6/15/05 JFK awful script 2 stars
6/05/05 Dave Really good special effects, but little else. 2 stars
5/31/05 jocelyn i haven't been on edge at the theater in a long time. this was a very welcome scare! 5 stars
5/18/05 kelsey we only went to see it to see Paris Hilton die. this movie was ok but it wasnt the best. 4 stars
5/18/05 Tracie Smegelski I liked it! Seeing Paris die was worth it! Just call me brain-dead, I guess... 4 stars
5/17/05 Neon Another sad remake of an old movie - Hollywood needs new material 1 stars
5/17/05 E-FUNK 20 minutes of gore in the middle of this turd is worth your time. Otherwise, SHIT-FEST. 2 stars
5/14/05 Sgt Slaughter For beter Paris Hilton, see the South Park episode where she coughs up cum the whole time.. 1 stars
5/13/05 James The only people that will call this a awesome movie is brain dead teenagers. 1 stars
5/13/05 Naka Slasher shit. We can do better then this one. 1 stars
5/12/05 irbear as slasher flix go this one is entertaining 4 stars
5/12/05 ROY L. CAIN JR. The greatest movie of all time. ("Please don't kill me!") 4 stars
5/11/05 Jeff W. Why the negative reviews? Anyways, it's a terrific horror movie, and worth the ticket. 5 stars
5/09/05 Taylor I thought this movie was pretty good. it was not scary at all just gory. 4 stars
5/07/05 Danielle I don't know what these people are talking about. Truly entertaining, grisly horror flick. 4 stars
5/07/05 Nikky It was very bad 1 stars
5/07/05 Kristina Williams look at the cast. Were you expecting greatness? Fools. 1 stars
5/06/05 Genny Knowl This is really a dumb movie with bad acting 2 stars
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  06-May-2005 (R)
  DVD: 25-Oct-2005



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