Saturday, August 22, 2015

Movie Review: House Of Wax

Right around late 2004-early 2005, the execs at Dark Castle thought it was a swell idea to remake the Vincent Price Horror Classic The House Of Wax, which is also a remake of 1933's Mystery Of The Wax Museum. So basically it's a remake of a remake of a remake if that makes sense. But let me assure you this is not a remake of the actual movie. It's really a remake of Tourist Trap, this obscure slasher with the same plot and concept released in 1979.
Though let's get to the real topic at hand. This was the day in age of Paris Hilton and boy, everybody was obsessed with this woman. Commercials, TV spots, a reality show, movie offers, and even her own music album. And it was all because of a sex tape that nobody would just shut up about. I've seen it and it's not anything remarkable.

So the buzz came around for this movie when MTV had a Behind The Scenes special that had it's own daily episodes, here and there. For some odd reason, I had the urge to watch this because it was at a time where I was really into slasher films and seeing what was going on in the set was pretty interesting. But looking at the special was total spoilers for me, even though the plot was predictable and the characters were stereotypical, when you know who lives or dies.
After all that though, seeing that it's ten years old, this movie was totally overrated and not especially memorable.
Although the acting was kind of good, the special effects was cool, and there were some suspenseful scenes, the overhype sort of ruined the movie for me.
The story: A group of college kids on their way to a football game, suddenly find a deserted town where two deranged brothers keep a collection of wax people, only to find out they might be part of the display.

The cast of this movie is obnoxious, but not to the point of infuriating. Their fatal flaw is how incredibly bland and cardboard they are, where I just couldn't find myself to know or care in the least.

Elisha Cuthbert as Carly is an exception though but in any other case, of course, it would be. I'm not saying there's anything special about the character, I would say she is kind of a badass and Elisha Cuthbert plays her with so much gusto that you can't help to root for her. The only character development I got from Carly is the dynamic between her and her brother, Nick. She's the good twin, he's the bad twin. Simple as that but they could've done a "show, and don't tell" scenario. We would know Carly would be the heroine of the story, so it's pretty obvious. Though the twin motif is a big honkin' deal in this movie, so I'll leave it for later into the review.

So what's there to say about Carly? Well, she's the typical good girl always trying to do the right thing, always looking out for everybody, etc. And although she seems like a stereotypical character, at least she's a pure badass.

Nick played by the very sexy Chad Michael Murray is the typical bad boy where as Carly is the typical good girl.

He's not particularly the most likeable character and he's difficult to get along with, especially with his sister. And right off the bat, he's pretty much comfortable being the bad twin since he's been labeled with that all his life but it seems as though Carly and Nick are just there to define each other, which is not a bad thing, it's just they don't have much agency to define themselves on their own.

Nick does manage to redeem himself once he becomes the hero, nothing much has changed but he's get better.

I would have  to say this though, there is a very nice shot of Chad Michael Murray's fantastic body and play the bad boy very well I might say.

Wade played by Jared Padalecki, well...Meh. Jared Padalecki is not a bad actor at all and very handsome to boot, however, Wade is...kind of dumb and there's really nothing memorable about him. he's just Carly's boyfriend nothing more, nothing less.

And when you think about, he's the reason why him and Carly are captured because of his stupid actions.

In a way, he would most likely become the hero of the movie, however, in a not so surprising way, he's the first one to get "waxed."

And now we come to this, the almighty Paris Hilton in her first big screen debut. So what do I think of Ms. Hilton? I've....I've got nothing. She's pretty much playing the typical blond bimbo in a horror movie but once I really looked at her performance, she's more likely playing herself. It's Paris Hilton playing Paris Hilton basically. Even her character's name sound similar. But here's the real kicker, the movie is punching jabs at her. The movie is clearly making unwanted jokes about her, always shoving a video camera in her face and in one scene where it looks as if she's giving her boyfriend oral sex when in actuality she was looking for her lip gloss.

The biggest pet peeve of how the film treats Hilton is how they sexualized her every move, especially in this one unnecessary scene where she striptease for her boyfriend. We Get It! Paris Hilton Is Hot! I would say there's nothing more to her character other than being the hot girl but don't worry, there is some character development in here somewhere. Her character arc consist of whether she might be pregnant or not, trying to explain to her boyfriend, who is too busy listening to his music. The guy sure does love his radio. And it's like her character is portrayed as this blond ditz who doesn't know the concept of safe sex.

So up until this point, here's the moment that everybody in the movie theater payed to go see is the death of Paris Hilton's character. So after the death of her boyfriend, she tries to get away but not too easily. And I must say, her chase scene is quite suspenseful. But do you want to know how she dies? a pole is penetrated through her head while the killer videotapes her dead body. Now I know there was a lot of oral sex jokes at the expense of Paris Hilton but this was just despicable amongst the filmmakers. I don't want to say I feel bad for Paris Hilton but I kind of do, since she was just a ploy for the movie to make profit at the box office.
Just to get this out of the way, here are the less focused characters:

Here you have Paris Hilton's main squeeze Blake, a typical jock who seems to be obsessed with football and music, constantly ignoring his girlfriend unless she's stripping for him that is.

The you have Dalton, Nick's bumbling idiotic friend, who is the target of gay jokes. So bad that I wanted to bang my head against the wall.
That's honestly all the information I got on this two guys.

There are actually two serial killers in this movie, The Sinclair Twins. There's Bo, the seemingly normal one and Vincent (get it?), the more quiet, reversed one who does most of the killings/harvesting and who wears a mask out of wax, which is very unique. Their backstory is quite interesting and they are much more interesting than the main characters themselves. So after the death of their parents and basically the entire townspeople, the two living brothers decided to make the dead bodies into wax, including new victims. I thought that idea was so creepy and well done. And to add a special note, I think the twins are kind of hot, and yes I'm including Vincent. Sue Me!

The real heart and soul of the project is the directing and the special effects. Okay, here are my two favorite scenes in the movie: The movie theater scene and the melting of The House Of Wax.

Now with the movie theater scene. The way it was handled was incredibly suspenseful and exciting all the same. I mean who would come with a chase scene while Whatever Happened To Baby Jane plays. Its totally thrilling in my opinion. But what's even more thrilling is the climax.

all of the flaws of the movie were looked over, once Carly become more badass, the chase scenes more hair-raising and the action more jam-packed. And to take a moment for a little trivia, the house is actually made out of wax. So the two actors had to roll around in actual hot wax! Okay guys, if I ever act in a horror movie, pray for me.
I would say that Samuel Collet-Serra has an amazing eye and is a very competent director. It's nothing too flashy and nothing too modern, just right for tight suspense and for well-crafted scenes. He's definitely gifted with an artistic flare.
Okay, out with the good and in with the bad again, the biggest problem I have with the film is that...It's too long. Normally, a slasher movie is at least 80-99 minutes long but this was two hours max. And all the filmmakers did was stretch out unnecessary scenes to make up for the running time, which could be a chore to watch at times.
So it all comes to this: The Verdict? Well, I'm not familiar with the Vincent Price version but I'm positive the movie is a well deserved classic, along with Tourist Trap, which is a underrated gem in it's own right. And although this is an entertaining slasher with a very 80's retro feel, It has weak story and with even weaker characters, that makes it kind of forgettable.
To call this a remake is notwithstanding, however, it is still a guilty pleasure. So you at least have that.
My Last Word: Give it a go. It may be middle of the road but it has it's shining moments.


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