House of Wax

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Two things popped into my head when I decided to watch “House of Wax”. First, I knew that it was a remake of an older, Vincent Price version (1953) and second I knew that Paris Hilton was in it (and I assumed it had something to do with candles). That said, I pretty much knew what to expect after seeing the first five minutes – but that’s not an entirely bad thing as “House of Wax” really wasn’t as bad as I had expected. First of all, it gave me even more appreciation for “Scream” in that people are still making horror movies that follow every single cliché in the book. Two teens go investigate a strange noise, people have sex and everyone drinks and disturbs the locals. “House of Wax” has all of this, but with somewhat of an edge as well. Any movie that contains a group of college-age kids is doomed from the get go. We know that most (if not all) will be killed, we just don’t know who or how. The movie actually lets us get to know most of them before they start disappearing, which did throw a wrench in the “Scream” philosophy.

The plot is fairly simple. A group of teens are heading to New Orleans for the big Florida/LSU football game (it’s referred to as “Louisiana” in the movie, but c’mon – Baton Rouge…you figure it out). They’ve been driving all night and decide to camp in a rural forest and then drive the rest of the distance the next day. They set up camp and we’re introduced to the main characters. Carly (Elisha Cuthbert) and Nick (Chad Michael Murray) are twins with Nick being the self-proclaimed “Evil” one. Paige (Paris Hilton) and her boyfriend, Blake (Robert Ri’chard) and Dalton (Jon Abrahams) and Wade (Jared Padalecki) round out the rest of the cast. They awake to find that the fan belt has been cut from the car, one group heads onto the game and the others stay around to find a replacement part. As they enter the town, it’s very obvious that something isn’t right and as Wade and Carly try and find a fan belt, they’re met by Bo (Brian Van Holt) someone who turns out to be the baddest of the bad. We all know what happens next, bodies start piling up and pretty soon it comes down to two (I won’t say who) to put the psycho in his place.

“House of Wax” was fairly decent in my opinion. It did follow the “rules” of a horror movie, almost to a tee – but even though I knew what would happen, I still jumped in my seat a bit. If nothing else I discovered that Paris Hilton isn’t nearly as bad of an actress as I thought and I also discovered Elisha Cuthbert who has a starring role on television’s “24”. Wow. I’ll have to see what else she’s been in! Chad Michael Murray plays the anti-hero and I can recall him from some more light-hearted roles (“A Cinderella Story”) so maybe he’s trying to break that squeaky clean image of his. I really don’t know. I’m kind of intrigued to see the original Vincent Price version of this movie to see what was changed, but don’t let the negative reviews fool you – “House of Wax” really wasn’t that bad. Evidently they can build an entire house solely out of wax…

Video: How does it look?

“House of Wax” is presented in an anamorphic 1.85:1 transfer that is, for the most part, very good. I noticed a bit of grain in some of the indoor shots and there appeared to be a softness to some of the shots as well. It didn’t apprear that this was the director’s intention, but as a result of the transfer. I was expecting a pristine print from Warner (this being a new DVD and all). Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good-looking transfer, I just had higher hopes for “House of Wax”. All in all, a good-looking transfer but it could have been better.

Audio: How does it sound?

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack isn’t really utilized that much here. There are some spots, mainly at the end of the movie, when all five speakers are blaring but on the whole, it’s a basic “good” soundtrack. A majority of the movie is dialogue-driven and only to build suspense do the speakers kick in. Nothing really stood out in this soundtrack, but that’s not to say that it isn’t still good.

Supplements: What are the extras?

“House of Wax” comes equipped with something interesting, a “B-Roll and Bloopers Video Cast Commentary”. It’s a few of the cast members laughing at the movie lasting about 30 minutes. A featurette called, cleverly enough, “Wax On” shows the production design – and once you see the house of wax, it really is pretty amazing. There’s a gag reel and a brief alternate opening. Finally, we get a word from Producer Joel Silver as he chats about the movie. “House of Wax” wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Just sit back, know what you’re going to get and you’ll have a good time watching it.

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