HOUSE OF WAX (2005) / Horror

Running Length: 105 minutes
MPAA Classification: R for horror violence, some sexual content, and language.

Cast: Elisha Cuthbert, Chad Michael Murray, Brian Van Holt, Jared Paladecki, Paris Hilton, Jon Abrahams, Robert Ri’chard, Andy Anderson, Damon Herriman
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Producers: Joel Silver, Susan Levin, Robert Zemeckis
Screenplay: Charles Belden, Chad Hayes, Carey Hayes

Disgusting. Disturbing. Depressing. Depraved. All of these words can be used to describe House of Wax, that 2005 slasher flick that’s more commonly referred to as, “Oh, you mean the one with Paris Hilton?”

While I could justify this review with a plot synopsis, I won’t. I don’t really feel the need to. Is there a plot? Yes, of course there is. Is it really anything that you’re gonna care about? More than likely, no. See, House of Waxisn’t about story or characters or any sort of technical triumph. It’s more focused on shocking us with brutally violent death scenes. Its characters are merely there to be killed. They serve no other purpose other than that. When they die, we feel no emotional connection. All we say is, “I saw that one coming.”

What kind of person makes this kind of movie? Better yet, what kind of person likes to watch this kind of movie? What’s so good about it? Watching as people are continuously and gruesomely executed? What’s the big payoff at the end? Is there even any at all? It disturbs me deeply to know that there are in fact people out there who get their kicks from watching other people as they are executed in the most horrific ways possible. These questions lead me to wonder about the mental health of everyone involved in the making of this movie, especially the director.

There is not one redeeming quality here that makes me go, “Oh, okay, now that was pretty cool.” No. It is all bad, from the robotic acting to the lousy camerawork to the cheesy special effects. This is director Jaume Collet-Serra’s debut and he shows no promise. His direction is bland and uninspired.

Now, a lot of you might be saying, “Were you really expecting greatness?” No, I wasn’t, and I doubt the crowd that this movie was made for were either. But I was so bored that I had to do something.

Is it growing more and more common as the times move on that people are into these kinds of movies? What does that say about our generation? What happened to the great horror flicks of the past, where gore was not so heavily relied upon? There used to be a fair amount of heart involved. Now, it’s all the same. Horror is a genre that now works like an assembly line. House of Wax is the same car in a different color. There are no longer movies like The Evil Dead or Dead Alive, where you’d have just as much of a time laughing as you did being revolted. Here, the violence is just distasteful. It’s there simply because without it, we’d have nothing to watch. And that’s just a shame. The horror genre has moved on to a new unsubstantiated low.

Final rating: ★ (out of ★★★★)

© 2011 Stephen Earnest