More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

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

Latest Reviews

In Action by Erik Childress

Spiral (2021) by Peter Sobczynski

Woman in the Window, The (2021) by Peter Sobczynski

Those Who Wish Me Dead by Peter Sobczynski

Oxy Kingpins, The by Jay Seaver

Dry, The by Jay Seaver

Water Man, The by Jay Seaver

Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America by Jay Seaver

About Endlessness by Rob Gonsalves

I Was a Simple Man by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

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

"Not scary, just like all the movies that it's exactly like weren't scary."
2 stars

There is precisely one creepy idea in "House of Wax," and it's the one everyone already knows, about a maniac turning people into wax-museum figures. Yet this remake-of-a-remake (first in 1933, then Vincent Price's famous 1953 version) persists in wasting our time with other matters before finally getting to the point.

I have to assume there is arrogance involved in making a film like this, and not just stupidity. I assume first-time director Jaume Serra and writers Chad Hayes and Carey Hayes have seen a few teens-get-killed-in-the-woods movies. And every time they watched one, didn't they say to themselves, "Why are they wasting time with characterization when we don't care about them?"? Yet when the opportunity arose to make a slasher film, what did Serra do? He figured HE could do it right, even if few before him had. He figured HE should spend time with the characters before the killing starts, because HE would be able to make the audience care.

It didn't work, needless to say. There are six college-age people in the film, who have car trouble in the wilderness on their way from Florida to Baton Rouge for a big college football game. They are describable only in their basic attributes, as that is all the movie gives them. Carly (Elisha Cuthbert) is the Heroine, with an internship at InStyle magazine coming up this summer. Wade (Jared Padalecki) is her All-American Boyfriend, with whom she has a mature, wholesome relationship, which is to say their sex is implied and not shown. Paige (Paris Hilton) is Carly's Slutty Friend, by which I mean her sex IS shown. Paige's boyfriend is Blake (Robert Ri'chard), and he is the Black Guy.

Along for the ride for reasons Carly doesn't really explain is her twin brother Nick (Chad Michael Murray), the Rebellious One, and he has brought his own buddy, Dalton (Jon Abrahams), the Comic Relief. What two unattached straight guys want to take a road trip with two amorous couples? These two, I guess.

Carly and Wade eventually find themselves in the nearly abandoned town of Ambrose in search of a fan belt, and it is there that Judy's House of Wax occupies a prominent position. It is unlikely that a place called "Judy's House of" anything could contain terrors, but here we are. The man who runs the town's service station, Bo (Brian Van Holt), recounts the tragic story of Judy and her family, and how the town eventually came to ruin. Later, there are old newspaper clippings -- movies like this always have newspaper clippings -- to tell us the rest of the tale.

Typical of this genre, the "dangerous" characters turn out to be harmless, and vice versa; there is virtually no suspense over who the bad guys really are. And, true to form, when the crazy people's motivation is explained, it is ludicrous. (I don't care what happened when you were a kid, there is never a good reason to build an entire house out of wax.)

I will give the movie credit for providing a few surprises regarding some characters' fates. I wouldn't have expected the first one killed to be the first one killed, for example, and another character receives a gruesome non-fatal injury that I figured would only be threatened, not actually executed.

In fact, there are a few moments in the film's second half -- NOTHING happens in the first half, let me tell you -- that achieve a feeling of good old-fashioned slasher-film terror 'n' gore. But a few moments do not make a good movie. It's impossible to take any of it seriously, of course -- it's about a lunatic who puts people in WAX, for crying out loud -- and yet the movie often expects us to do just that.

A film like this can work if it surprises us, startles us, or keeps us in suspense. "House of Wax" does very little of that, and I'm astonished that Serra ever thought otherwise. These movies are done so poorly so often that I'm truly puzzled: Why did you think it would work when you made it just like all the other movies that didn't work? Repeating the same actions yet expecting different results, that's even crazier than dipping people in wax.

Note: You might be wondering how Paris Hilton does in her first major acting role. Well, she isn't very good, but she's no worse than plenty of non-famous people who have played equivalent roles in similar movies. She's actually the least of the film's problems, and when Paris Hilton's acting is the least of your problems, you know you're in trouble.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 05/06/05 17:01:34
[printer] printer-friendly format  
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
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  06-May-2005 (R)
  DVD: 25-Oct-2005



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast