Tuesday, June 07, 2005

House of Wax

For those who haven't seen it:

Six friends go on a road trip with hopes of getting tickets from a scalper for the first game of the season. We have our usual set here: the hot girl with her feet on the ground, her goody-two shoes boyfriend, her thug brother, a not so bright annoying friend and a horny couple (Paris Hilton is in the cast, guess which of these is her character). When it gets too dark they decide to camp and wait till morning to continue the journey. Their bonfire is interrupted by a shady stranger who arrives in a truck and just stands there before thug brother smashes his headlight with a bottle. The next day the bunch wakes up (at 2pm) only to realize one of their cars is busted. After falling into a pit full of roadkill our female lead and her good boyfriend are offered a lift to the nearest town by a creepy fellow. They arrive to what looks like a deserted town, home of Trudy's House of Wax (which is literally made of wax), only to be hunted by a maniac (and we know he's a maniac because his headlight is smashed) who wants to make them part of the wax collection. You see the figures in the house are real people coated in wax...


For those who have seen it (spoilers):

The movie opens with a flashback of two little boys, one is well mannered, the other one apparently so psychotic that needs to be restrained so tight that his skin rips open. We never see their faces however. When later in the movie we realize there are two killers, one of them totally disfigured, it's hard not to add two plus two. Why conceal the boys' identities at the beginning of the movie? Because, you guessed it, the disfigured boy was the good one and the normal one was the psycho.

However... Both are psychos! If anything, the disfigured guy (Vincent) is even more dangerous than his brother Bo. Not only that but we have to watch a ridiculous ending where the sheriff gets the disturbing news that the mother of these lunatics "didn't have 2 sons; she had 3". Ooooooooooh. This "twist" is so pointless that one can only shrug. So what? Is this 3rd brother supposed to rebuild the house of wax and keep killing? No! All he did was be creepy. Is that a shocker? Is it a surprise that the only other guy in the cast, the one who pointed them in the direction of the town, was actually involved? No, this is just a lame attempt to close the movie with a so-called surprise.

Let's go back to our "heroes". Here you have this young couple who goes into this ghost town. Freaky place. Me, I'd like to get out of there fast. But, this guy can't resist peeking inside this House of Wax, which looks more abandoned than the town itself. Later when he is invited to the house to use the bathroom he leaves his girlfriend outside in an old truck with a complete stranger while he explores some of the rooms.

Our heroine has her lips glued shut and has to pry them open. One of her fingers is cut off too. Yet this girl picks up a baseball bat and turns the psycho's head into pulp. Talk about fast healing.

And finally, the way they escape from the melting house has to be one of the most ridiculous scenes out there. You have this enormous building literally melting around them, they have the wit to try to dig their way out through a wall, only to emerge inside the HOUSE OF WAX sign two floors above the ground. So it's really convenient that the whole sign detaches and carries them down to the ground like an elevator and then waits for them to jump off before melting.


My thoughts:

Far from being a film that stands on its own, House of Wax is a collection of references to other flicks. You can easily spot elements from Friday the 13th, Jeepers Creepers, Halloween, Psycho, among others. This is one of those films that could have been much more appealing with a better treatment of the story. Siamese twins stuck face to head. One an artist, the other one evil. A town where every single person is a wax figure. There is so much material there for a great story. However this movie takes the easy road, and rounds up its good share of gushing wounds and slashed ankles. The movie is never faithful to its plot, and the characters engage in ludicrous behavior in order to set up the slayings. The ending is pointless and just adds to the neverending string of clich├ęs.

Finally I want to say this much about Paris Hilton's film debut. There are two kind of people out there: those who frown at the idea of watching her in a movie and those who can't wait. I'm among the frowners. That said, I have to say, she was actually pretty convincing in her role. There's no heavy drama of course, but I thought she kind of gave a twist to the "skank" character, making it more digestable instead of plain obnoxious. Of course the writers did throw in a strip scene and a hinted scene of oral sex. I wonder how she would do in a different role.

4 Comments:

At 4:35 AM, Blogger Sury said...

Excellent critique. All I can say is I have to watch out this space for more. Books too, please, and also some that fall outside the realm of horror/suspence/action etc. :P

 
At 5:26 AM, Blogger m_g_miller said...

I agree, even with your thoughts on Paris. I'd also have cut it by about 30 minutes.

 
At 9:41 AM, Blogger Blog World said...

Faith is spiritualized imagination.
Henry Ward Beecher- Posters.

 
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