House of Wax
- Elisha Cuthbert as Carly
- Chad Michael Murray as Nick
- Brian Van Holt as Bo/Vincent Sinclair
- Jared Padalecki as Wade
- Paris Hilton as Paige
- Jon Abrahams as Dalton
- Robert Ri’chard as Blake
Formulaic and clichéd to say the least, House of Wax still emerges as a slight cut above the rest of the slasher movies in the last few years, with its tongue in cheek yet highly inventive death scenes and gory visuals. If you’re expecting it to be an updated version of the 50’s version, you will be sorely disappointed. But for those not as well acquainted with that version, sit back and watch this blood-spilling horror.
The plot follows six teenagers heading to an exciting football game in Louisiana. The group comprises of Carly; her twin brother and ex con Nick; Carly’s boyfriend Wade, her best friend Paige; Paige’s beau Blake and his good pal Dalton. Whilst on the journey, they set up camp in a deserted part of the woods. That night, a truck pulls up and shines its headlights on the group, the driver is not seen but refuses to move until Nick smashes a bottle against one of the lights. The morning after, Wade finds the fan belts on his car have been damaged. The group then comes upon a rural man, who tells them that Ambrose, the nearest town is not far from here. Wade and Carly hitch a lift off him, whilst the others attempt to get to the game. The group soon finds the road blocked and head back to the camping site. When Wade and Carly arrive at Ambrose, they discover it is practically a ghost town, with the eponymous museum the attraction. After receiving no service at the gas station, they run into the mysterious Bo Sinclair, who offers to give them a fan belt which is situated in his old house. It is here where events take a dark turn and the teens realize that Bo, as well as a shadowy figure are guarding a horrifying, murderous secret and that it is only a matter of time before they end up in the House of Wax as more than just visitors. Prepare for gruesome methods of dispatch, eerie music and creepy atmosphere that bring a whole meaning to the phrase pay and display( or should that be slay and display!).
House of Wax as a film has its fair share of flaws. The most prominent one being that the character’s are split up too much and the story takes a little too long before it turns into terror-inducing viewing. On the positive side, the gradually chilling and imaginative stalking of the members of the group and many of the deaths are well executed. Jaume Collet-Serra has an excellent eye for visuals, displaying the eponymous house in all it’s depraved and disgusting glory. Sonically, the ever-growing terror is accentuated by haunting music and effective albeit clichéd jump scares.
The cast work well with the script, sometimes rising above the limitations of their characters. Elisha Cuthbert plays the main girl plunged into a survival battle, she is actually pretty good when she tries to outwit the stalking killers. The relationship between her and her twin brother Nick is interestingly explored as they eventually overcome animosity in a time of bloodshed. Chad Michael Murray may force the bad boy aspect of his character Nick, but is more than adequate at playing him. Brian Van Holt takes the honours as the villainous Bo, who has sinister and well-preserved plans for the unwitting group. Jared Padalecki has a few good moments as the doomed Wade, his eventual fate becoming a gruesome highlight of the picture. While she’s not going to be considered a great actress, Paris Hilton isn’t that bad as Paige. As with Padalecki, her fate provides a good tongue in cheek moment that is still chilling and highly gory. Jon Abrahams and Robert Ri’chard are not given much to do, but work their way through the script’s flaws.
So House of Wax is not going to go down as a great films in the annals of the horror genre, but it does deliver some effective scariness and brutal slaying to keep you interested.