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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 Erik Childress

"People In Wax Houses Shouldn't Light Candles"
2 stars

We finally got the “R”-rated horror film we’ve been asking for this year. Perhaps we should have asked for a scary one as well. The scariest thing about the Dark Castle remake of Vincent Price’s House of Wax is that millions of young actresses were left without a paying gig so that Paris Hilton could act in a Hollywood film. And many people are looking forward to seeing her in this movie with unanimous intent. In typical fashion, Miss Hilton opened her mouth wide again and let loose that she suffers a “cool” demise. It’s sad that the film had to place Hilton front and center, starting off with a video camera joke, then a blowjob gag before finally having a large phallic object go right through her face. If that’s what you’re coming to see, please save your money.

The remake has little to do with the 1953 3-D feature. Many hardcore fans may recognize the revamped plot as nothing more than an updating of the 1979 Chuck Connors feature, Tourist Trap, and latecomers may find it more of a bandwagon to the 2003 Texas Chainsaw Massacre update, right down to Elisha Cuthbert’s tight white T-shirt and jeans used to great effect by Jessica Biel. That Baywatch Nights scripting coming in handy from Carey & Chad Hayes.

Driving from Florida to see a Baltimore Ravens(???) game at Memorial Stadium, Cuthbert’s Carly joins her friends, including bad-boy brother, Nick (Chad Michael Murray) and good-boyfriend, Wade (Jared Padalecki) in a battle of the Tuesday night WB all-stars. A camp-out and a breakdown later, two-by-two go the wandering victims into a practically abandoned town with a tourist attraction that takes its name literally. A pre-title sequence clues us into a pair of twin brothers whose ancestry into rhapsodic waxing forms the basis for sadistic behavior that’s hard to grasp as entertainment.

Quality kills are a long-standing tradition of gaily violent horror flicks. The recent Final Destination series is a solid example of how to bask in the termination of someone who doesn’t deserve to die, but does so with such suspense and irony that laughter and applause is a proud release. House of Wax doesn’t have anything to be proud of in this area. There isn’t much scary about a prying putz traipsing around where he shouldn’t and getting a pair of scissors to his ankle tendon for his long-winded effort. We can’t much root for the idiocy of these characters, who constantly split-up and take rides from backwooded hillbillies who they’ve just witnessed dumping deer carcasses into a gulch already filled with them. Apply Airplane’s point/counterpoint philosophy here.

For a music video director, Jaume Serra actually takes his time in getting down to it, wasting 35 minutes getting to know these morons before finally introducing the house made entirely of wax. It settles into such a standard slasher flick so quickly afterwards that you may need Madame Tussaud herself to be reminded of the homage factor. It’s insistence on exploiting a video camera feed for purposes of instituting some Blair Witch/Texas Chainsaw tragedy befalling these youths is analytic of how few ideas the Hayes brothers had in scripting this thing. Do they honestly believe there’s some psychological parallel in making Cuthbert and Murray a pair of twins as well? Does anyone feel that the two twists on the identities of the Wax Kids are going to surprise anyone, including those in a constant vegetative state?

At times, House of Wax is like watching Dee Snider’s Strangeland all over again, gazing upon its ickiness without a thought of what it could be like to be an actual living wax sculpture. There’s real horror in that and should have been relied on for at least one moment of agonizing suspense. The finale is rather nicely handled (including a comeuppance that ranks just outside of Gaspar Noe’s Irreversible), although you would think a true artist would rather safe his life’s work than duking it out with a pair of inconsequential teenagers. This is the town that everyone forgot (and should forget), since no one can drive a truck through the puddle separating it. Although the Sheriff at the end gives it a shot at an explanation, he can’t explain a horror greater than seeing Paris Hilton on screen, which is that she actually playing good sport to those who wanted to make fun of her sex tape escapades and witness a second impaling. Now how can we extract any fun in that?

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 05/06/05 14:03:28
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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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