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Awesome: 12.98%
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Pretty Crappy31.3%
Sucks: 28.24%

11 reviews, 65 user ratings

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House of Wax (2005)
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by David Cornelius

"Gives 'dumbass slasher flick' a bad name."
1 stars

Here’s how they made the new “House of Wax:” they told the screenwriters a) “make sure it’s called ‘House of Wax’” (check); b) “make sure it’s a horror movie, preferably one with some ultra- gruesome violence” (check); c) “make sure you have a big scene in which a fire melts lots of stuff” (check). This remake fits all three points, yes. But somebody forgot to come along and add anything else. “House of Wax,” it turns out, is a whole lot o’ nothin’.

It surprises me that Dark Castle, the company that’s been remaking classic horror pictures (their “House On Haunted Hill” was underrated brilliance, their “Thirteen Ghosts” was unwatchable slop) and managing to stick fairly closely to the originals (plot-wise, at least), here decides to make an in-name-only upgrade. All we get from the 1953 original (which was, itself, a remake of and an improvement on 1933’s “Mystery of the Wax Museum”) is the title, the notion of somebody killing folks for wax figure purposes, and a scene where stuff burns up real good. Everything else - that is to say, everything that made the 1953 version so outstanding - is forgotten, replaced with substandard Dead Teenager Movie fare. (It’s so derivative it actually involves attractive, dim-witted teens taking a detour through the backwoods of the deep south, only to stumble across a family of redneck maniacs. Seriously, that’s the best they could do?)

Here’s how absolutely moronic the movie gets: the writers (newcomers Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes, for those keeping score), hearing that they need to write a movie called “House of Wax,” decide to make their script about a house made entirely of wax. (And check out the finely honed dialogue, which crackles with sheer poetry: “It is wax, like, literally!” Like, wow.) I can see the Hayes bickering:

Hayes #1: “But dude, the guy told us it’s called ‘House of Wax,’ so that means the house is, like, made of wax.”
Hayes #2: “You sure, dude?”
Hayes #1: “I dunno.”

And thus, another chunk of ass-crap slasher movie is made.

Yeah, even as lame slasher flicks go, this one’s a major dud. Horror movies are not supposed to be this boring; when I wasn’t laughing at the asinine plot developments or the ridiculously inept acting (more on that in a smidge), I was straining to stay awake. Here’s a horror flick in which nothing really happens for a good hour, and then a few things happen, only they’re not that exciting either, and then nothing happens for a little while longer, and then there’s some big finish that probably looked cool on paper but was, in fact, just as dull as the earlier parts. And when the killings finally do happen, they’re the kind of scenes that confuse gross-out for scary, turning this movie into nothing more than a vulgar blood bath. (And if that sounds like you’re kind of horror movie, trust me, it’s a mind-numbingly tedious vulgar blood bath.)

Worse, the film actually suffers because of its desire to include more set-up than the usual slasher pic. “House of Wax” thinks by spending more time with its characters, then we’ll care for them more, I suppose - except that its characters are so obnoxious and generic that we don’t. The film is merely one big waiting game, the audience waiting with all the patience they can possibly muster for these raging idiots to finally - finally!! - croak.

The writers and their director, Jaume Serra (the obligatory music-video-director-making-his-feature-debut they always get for horror movies), seems content with flat content, because, hey, they’ve got Paris Hilton! Yup, the inexplicably famous no-talent V.D. depository is here to buy her way into a movie career, and functionally retarded trust fund kids always get what they want. Her acting’s so exceptionally terrible that I’m surprised she didn’t accidentally slip stage directions into her dialogue. (“Oh. No. Look. Out? Turn page. The killer is. Here. Acts surprised. Screams. Don’t. Kill? Me.”) I’m reminded of all those sports stars who popped up in movies in the 1970s, or politicians who’d host “Saturday Night Live” when they couldn’t find an actual entertainer; Hilton’s performance here recaptures the magic of, say, Bruce Jenner in “Can’t Stop the Music,” or maybe Ralph Nader bungling the punchline off the cue cards in some Mango sketch.

The filmmakers obviously know the value of having Paris Hilton in their film, namely, that we want (and, more importantly, will pay) to see her die, preferably violently. And so the script holds off on it, forcing us to sit through scene after scene in which she stretches her acting chops by playing a spoiled, brainless slut. Finally, when she dies, it becomes a stop-the-movie massive set piece. Too bad the scene doesn’t work in the slightest. It’s not scary, it’s not exciting, it’s just “get on with it already.”

But then, I wouldn’t expect a movie this stupid, this poorly made, to get good just for its one key sellable scene. No, that would go against the many other idiocies - the overdependence on red herrings (just to keep the audience from completely falling asleep, we get fifty gajillion bits where the guy behind the other guy is - nope! not the killer!!), a complete lack of logic (and not just the why-are-you-running-up-the-stairs-you-schmuck variety, but the if-this-is-a-town-frozen-in-time-then-why-is-it-frozen-in-the-60s-when-the-backstory-tells-me-it-should-be-the-80s-or-maybe-90s kind), the terrible cast (not just Hilton, but everyone, ranging from the barely passable thanks-for-the-paycheck performances of Elisha Cuthbert and Chad Michael Murray to the unwatchableness of Jared Padalecki and, in an hysterically dumb double role as the two killers, Brian Van Holt), and, well, did I mention the complete lack of logic? I mean, that melting house looks good, I guess, but come on. I mean, just come on.

A final thought. In the final, not-entirely-boring final half hour, our heroes wind up in an abandoned movie theater where the killer has been playing “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?” on an endless loop since he first decided to start luring hapless twits into his ghost town. I’m sure Serra probably thought the image of an aging Bette Davis singing “I’ve Written a Letter To Daddy” while Cuthbert hides from the psycho would make for a cool visual. But he forgets the First Rule of Borrowing Movies: never, ever, ever, ever, ever show a clip from a great movie in your bad movie. It only reminds the audience that they could be watching something infinitely better. And since we’re already pissed that we could be watching the old “House of Wax” instead, well… just another moment when the filmmakers shoot themselves in the foot. But not, like, literally.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=12045&reviewer=392
originally posted: 05/12/05 12:54:10
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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

2/20/17 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
6/23/09 Kailee An okay movie, very slow beginning but it picks up towards the end 3 stars
6/09/09 RHYS Not SCARY enough. No suspense, just drags. Good special effects at end. 2 stars
8/14/08 Shaun Wallner Ugg boring!! 1 stars
11/07/07 art excellent 5 stars
11/01/07 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
2/21/07 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
11/01/06 cody Slow at first , but the movie delivers in the end, good mixture of blood and scares. 3 stars
8/05/06 Taelor Blevins I thought it was great Paris Hilton and Chad Murray and Elisha Cuthbert done a great job! 5 stars
7/29/06 Shaun Wallner it was alright 4 stars
7/13/06 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
7/11/06 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
5/08/06 Brittany I LOVED IT 5 stars
4/30/06 BILL it wuz to brillent but to perdicetble 4 stars
4/24/06 Carol Baker Too Predictable for words to describe 2 stars
1/19/06 Danny Repulsive. Poor Jared! Yuck! 1 stars
12/20/05 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
11/20/05 Indrid Cold Being slightly better than the typical slick Hollywood horror movie makes it just average. 3 stars
11/15/05 Jeff W Great fun. As good a slasher as anyone can ask for. 5 stars
11/11/05 j I LOVE THIS MOVIE BECAUSE I'M A COMPLETE FUCKING MORON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
11/05/05 HGTV fanatic I loved this movie for one reason--Paris bites the dust---now "THAT'S HOT"!!!! 1 stars
10/27/05 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
10/10/05 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
9/08/05 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
9/08/05 Kyle More than delivers on its promise. 5 stars
8/21/05 Christian A vehicle for Paris Hilton, bleh 1 stars
7/26/05 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 wax..paris hilton should stay away from acting! 2 stars
7/16/05 Charlene Javier Lame-o! 2 stars
7/15/05 Green Gremlin Great production design...shame about the story !!! 2 stars
7/15/05 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
6/22/05 nicky white i didnt understand why they were killing people 1 stars
6/15/05 adrian ace pure garbage, trailers looked great, movie sux ass 1 stars
6/14/05 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
5/17/05 kelsey we only went to see it to see Paris Hilton die. this movie was ok but it wasnt the best. 4 stars
5/17/05 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
5/16/05 E-FUNK 20 minutes of gore in the middle of this turd is worth your time. Otherwise, SHIT-FEST. 2 stars
5/13/05 Sgt Slaughter For beter Paris Hilton, see the South Park episode where she coughs up cum the whole time.. 1 stars
5/12/05 James The only people that will call this a awesome movie is brain dead teenagers. 1 stars
5/12/05 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
5/11/05 ROY L. CAIN JR. The greatest movie of all time. ("Please don't kill me!") 4 stars
5/10/05 Jeff W. Why the negative reviews? Anyways, it's a terrific horror movie, and worth the ticket. 5 stars
5/08/05 Taylor I thought this movie was pretty good. it was not scary at all just gory. 4 stars
5/06/05 Danielle I don't know what these people are talking about. Truly entertaining, grisly horror flick. 4 stars
5/06/05 Nikky It was very bad 1 stars
5/06/05 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
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  06-May-2005 (R)
  DVD: 25-Oct-2005



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