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The Independent Critic

STARRING
Elisha Cuthbert, Chad Michael Murray, Paris Hilton
DIRECTOR
Jaume-Collet Serra
SCREENPLAY
Chad Hayes
MPAA RATING
Rated R
RUNNING TIME
113 Mins.
DISTRIBUTED BY
Warner Brothers
 "House of Wax" Review 
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While the rest of the intelligent world found itself seeing such films as "Kingdom of Heaven" and "Crash" this weekend, there I was in all my humble glory somehow talking myself into seeing the latest Paris Hilton fiasco, the remake of "House of Wax."

You must understand that I am a huge fan of the original film, and found myself snickering during the trailers for this film during another film I saw recently. So, my expectations were moderate at best. Yet, I had hope. The source material is great and, with Hilton and Elisha Cuthbert, one could hope for numerous scenes of flashing and a certain camp value in the film. So, even with great hesitation I thought this film could end up being worth my time.

I was wrong.

The story centers around the typical group of college students, car breakdown and, in this film, they visit an oddly "lifelike" House of Wax in the town they find themselves. Blah Blah Blah.

I've yet to be impressed by anything featuring Paris Hilton, including the oddly comical, yet widely seen porno tape. Even in her porno, Hilton seems detached, fake and insincere...If the girl wasn't rich, the girl wouldn't be popular. It's really that simple. Supposedly, she has a strong business sense and is now getting serious...here's hoping that acting is not part of her getting serious...because, in this case, getting serious would involve either serious acting lessons or a return to silent films. (Hmmm...mental note...find out of they made silent pornos).

The 2005 version of "House of Wax" is an ultraviolent "horror" film that still is obviously targeted at teens. It is filled with incredibly graphic scenes including the aforementioned Hilton's death scene...a scene that evoked laughter and applause from the audience. Most actors would kill to have a great death scene in a film...in this case, the audience was dying to see Hilton get slaughtered. Mission Accomplished.

"House of Wax" is predictable throughout and the performances are largely wooden, save for a moderate performance by Chad Michael Murray. Cuthbert has yet to do anything impressive other than breast flashing, and since she's not my type even that leaves me cold.

During a week when Paul Haggis has his directing debut, we have the other end of the scale here. Director Jaume Serra's feature film debut is chock full of everything a director shouldn't do in a film...predictable camera work, unmotivated performances, a boring script, average and often cheesy horror shlock. Serra has largely directed music videos up until now, and it shows in his improvisational, poorly paced and Attention-Deficit techniques. On a slightly positive note, Brian Van Holt did a fairly nice job in a supporting performance...but, it's hard to look good when you're surrounded by mediocrity.

"House of Wax" is a bad film saved from failure only by its camp value and my utter delight at watching the slaughter of Paris Hilton. Wait for the DVD, and then wait till it gets off the "new release" wall. This film's value can't be more than a dollar, and only diehard horror buffs (or Paris Hilton haters) should catch this film.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic
    The Official Rating Guideline
    • A+ to A: 4 Stars                
    • A- to B+: 3.5 Stars            
    • B: 3 Stars                         
    • B- to C+: 2.5 Stars           
    • C: 2 Stars
    • C- to D+: 1.5 Stars
    • D: 1 Star
    • D-: .5 Star
    • F: Zero Stars

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