The older I get more I keep coming back to these bizarre and gimmicky slashers of the 2000s. House of Wax is a horror movie featuring solid production values, a creepy atmosphere, and one hell of a story. And, of course, this is a Dark Castle Production but more about that later. It’s actually based on a movie of the same name from 1953 starring none other than Vincent Price. In this version of the movie, we will be following a couple of college kids who accidentally stumble upon a mysterious town that’s not on any maps. And soon they’ll realize why. We have to deal with one thing first and that’s the fact that Paris Hilton stars in this movie.
Yes, it’s her, the girl who partied for the last two decades straight. At this rate, she’ll soon turn into Slurms MacKenzie, RIP. I just wanted to say that she wasn’t all that bad here. After all, this is just a slasher, so her wooden privileged antics worked in her favor. Apart from her we also have Jared Padalecki whom you might recognize from the tv show Supernatural. And the rest of the cast led by Elisha Cuthbert did a good job as well. House of Wax is actually a very different type of slasher horror movie. The characters feel annoying at first until you realize they’re quite realistic representations of asshole college guys and girls.
This makes you actually cheer for the killers in this movie to just fuck them teens up as fast as possible. Jaume Collet-Serra, the director of this movie, however, takes his sweet time. This was his first movie so he was doing things by the book even experimenting a bit with found footage gimmicks. Luckily, that didn’t last long. Jaume went on to direct such movies as Orphan, The Shallows, and Jungle Cruise. Moving on, I think that House of Wax is a movie worth watching despite all its flaws if for nothing else than for one hell of a finale. I actually saw the movie during its initial theatrical run and I can still vividly remember that glorious ending. The buildup is equal parts meticulous, ominous, and mysterious.
Six friends are on their way to the football game of the year. They started driving a bit late but Blake manages to find a shortcut that was going to save them a couple of hours. What they don’t know is that the shortcut is going to take them through a town that’s not on any of the maps. A town that seems eerily empty, like something horrific, just happened there…
Speaking of abandoned towns, does anyone else remembers Mindhunters, another visually appealing horror/thriller? Now I already talked about how much I love Dark Castle Productions but let me say that again. I fucking love Dark Castle Productions! They produced some of my favorite movies from this period like Thirteen Ghosts, Ghost Ship, and Gothika.
All of these movies feature a uniquely dark visual style and a decent amount of gore. Not to mention the fact that the soundtracks were bitching. Is that the right word, bitching? House of Wax soundtrack features such artists as Prodigy, Deftones, Marilyn Manson, and Disturbed (unfortunately). Right in the childhood as they say. The movie also features some pretty fucked up and graphic scenes. They’re not just visually unsettling but also psychologically.
However, the bizarre nature of the story and the superhuman attributes of the villains negate all of this. So, we’re left in the realm of, let’s say, Jeepers Creepers. Or better yet, Wrong Turn, as that’s what these guys and girls actually did. In the end, House of Wax may be this cheesy, generic, and over-the-top slasher but I still like it. I mean, the sets alone are a work of art when you consider just how much effort went into them. Let’s consider it a guilty pleasure and be done with it.
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Writers: Charles Belden, Chad Hayes, Carey W. Hayes
Cast: Elisha Cuthbert, Chad Michael Murray, Paris Hilton, Brian Van Holt, Jared Padalecki, Robert Ri’chard
Fun Facts: Jennifer Connelly and Kate Winslet both turned down the role of Paige which eventually went to Paris Hilton. She was the first one to be cast.