Horror Movie Review: House of Wax (2005 – Remake)


I don’t think I fully understand the hate that surrounds this remake/re-imagining. Sure, it’s not exactly great. It has some poor acting & terrible characters but there is so much worse out there.

High praise indeed…watch House of Wax (2005), there is so much worse out there.

House of Wax 1

Here’s the thing…you can’t hold this movie up against the original. It’s so far removed from a remake with almost no connections at all. This is a re-imagining in every senses of the word. It’s also worth remembering that the 1953 classic was a remake of the 1933 movie, The Mystery of the Wax Museum.

It doesn’t matter if it was necessary or not, it’s here & it’s got Paris Hilton in it. Yes, THE Paris Hilton. Funny enough, she’s not the worst thing in it (although she is pretty bad).

House of Wax 2

The movie opens in the past as we see two parents struggling to control one of their sons. He’s a right little git. So much so that they tape him into his high chair! All parents can sympathise. The mother is making a wax mask that the violent child knocks off & shatters on the floor.

Jump in time to 2005 where a group of friends, family & couples are heading to a huge football game. It’s a long old drive that ends with some of them in the town of Ambrose looking for a fan belt to fix a faulty car. Ambrose is a virtual ghost town that’s central feature is a wax museum made of actual wax!

House of Wax 3

While exploring, the couple of Carly (Elisha Cuthbert) & Wade (Jared Padalecki) discover just how lifelike the wax models are before they run into Bo (Brian Van Holt), the local mechanic. Bo takes them to his house where he keeps extra car parts but reveals himself to be a psychopath alongside his brother Vincent (also played by Brain Van Holt).

Vincent knocks out Wade & turns him into a living wax figure while Carly ends up in the hands of Bo.

House of Wax 4

Carly’s troublesome brother Nick (Chad Michael Murray) & his annoying friend, Dalton (Jon Abrahams) arrive in Ambrose looking for Carly & Wade while Paige (Paris Hilton) & her boyfriend, Blake (Robert Ri’chard) remain at their campsite.

Those two are killed shortly later by Vincent while Dalton finds the wax figure of Wade & tries to free him by pulling of his skin. It’s a great image made even better when Vincent slashes half his face off. There can be few complaints about many of the non-CGI visuals in House of Wax!

House of Wax 5

Meanwhile Nick manages to free Carly & escape the clutches of Bo where they discover Ambrose’s big secret. There is no-one here beside Bo & Vincent. Everyone has been turned into living wax figures & the same will happen to them if they don’t escape.

Up until it’s great finale, House of Wax is unsurprising & uneventful, playing out exactly as you might expect. It’s extremely uninspired helped by the bland characters. These are an awful bunch without any memorable traits or moments. They could have been ripped from any horror movie ever & you wouldn’t notice the difference. Even Bo & Vincent are the usual ‘crazies’ that we’ve seen before. Brain Van Holt comes across far too cheesy as the psychotic Bo but his portrayal of Vincent is one of sympathy, something that just doesn’t really work.

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Most of the gore is so-so, nothing special except the wax related moments, imaginative moments with some nice visual flair. The finale, a fight to the death within a melting & burning wax building looks great & results in some really fun moments. This sequence makes it worth watching even if the ‘sequel’ bait final scene makes no sense.

House of Wax 7

House of Wax - Remake
  • 5.5/10
    The Final Score - 5.5/10
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