Friday, April 1, 2016

House of Wax – Cheesy Fun But a Little Too Long

Length: 108 minutes
Release Date: May 6, 2005
Rating: R
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

House of Wax opens in a home literally made of wax back in the 1970s. A woman is trying to feed a kid in a high chair when her husband comes in with a screaming and struggling second child. They strap him down before the movie jumps to the present.

Carly and her friends are on a road trip to a football game. She's seriously giving some thought to breaking up with her boyfriend Wade because she's about to move to the city and isn't sure she wants him to go with her or even if they should stay together. Her best friend Paige has problems of her own because she's late and thinks she might be pregnant by her jock boyfriend Blake who clearly won't marry her. Also along for the ride is their geeky friend Dalton and Carly's juvenile delinquent twin brother Nick.

To save money, the group decides to camp overnight on the side of the road. A truck pulls in later that night, shines its headlights on them, and acts like a tool before taking off. The next day, Carly and Paige go for a walk, Carly trips, and almost lands in a pit filled with dead animals. Though she thinks she sees a hand sticking out, it's actually a mannequin. A random guy shows up, shows her it's a mannequin, and laughs at her. When they find that the fan belt in Wade's car broke, the guy offers to take them for help while the rest of the group heads to the game.

Ambrose, the town he takes them to, is almost completely deserted. The only people they see are a few people inside their homes. They eventually wander into the church, interrupt a funeral, and find the Bo, the man who owns the repair shop in town. As he needs some time at the funeral, they agree to meet him later. This leads them to check out the wax museum in town, which they saw advertised earlier. It then doesn't take long before the group begins disappearing one by one and they learn that there is something sinister about the wax museum and the whole town.

The only thing anyone ever remembers about House of Wax is that it's the movie where Paris Hilton dies. I was literally just thinking that when I turned it on, the roommate sat down, and said the scene where she dies was the best moment in the movie. That's actually a little sad because she's not that bad of an actress. I thought she did an admirable job of playing a girl worried about the future and that the guy she loved might leave her. That said, yeah, it's actually pretty nice when she died!

House of Wax came out right around the time when studios were obsessed with PG-13 ratings, so I was a little surprised when I realized this was actually an R rated horror movie. Given the lack of gore, blood, and just plain deaths, it's hard to believe it didn't get a lower rating. The best death in the film – outside of Paris – is obviously Wade. When you see him sitting there covered in wax with his eyes moving, you can't tell me that didn't get to you. Add to that his best friend trying to “save” him by peeling off the wax to reveal the muscle and tissue underneath while his eyes still moved makes it one of the best scenes in the flick.

If you're like most people, you probably haven't seen House of Wax in years, but give it another go. It's a lot better than some of the crap Hollywood puts out today.

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