Home | Reviews | Exclusive Writings | Great Links | Miscellaneous | FAQ | Contact Us

House of Wax /

Rated: R

Starring: Elisha Cuthbert, Chad Michael Murray, Brian van Holt, Paris Hilton, Jared Padalecki

Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra

Produced by: Herb Gains, Steve Richards (III), Bruce Berman
Written by: Chad Hayes, Carey Hayes
Distributor: Warner Bros.


Elisha Cuthbert in Warner Bros. Pictures' House of Wax

Paris Hilton in Warner Bros. Pictures' House of Wax

Jon Abrahams , Chad Michael Murray , Elisha Cuthbert and Jared Padalecki in Warner Bros. Pictures' House of Wax

    “Guilty pleasure” is not a term that I am fond of using. Why should anyone be guilty over their opinion of something as highly personal and subjective as a film? Anyone who truly appreciates art acknowledges the validity and uniqueness of each viewer’s taste. All genuine movie-lovers should understand that the motion picture was created to be enjoyed and anyone who can do so—hard as it may be with certain films—should be able to.


     I have no problem calling House of Wax, on the other hand, a guilty pleasure for me; it’s hard enough to actually be respected by most when acknowledging it as a film, let alone a good film. However, I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy every minute of it. What other movie has gruesome scenes in which people are covered in wax alive and then crumble to pieces when touched, Paris Hilton messing around and being impaled through the head with a crowbar, Elisha Cuthbert kicking all the ass that Elisha Cuthbert can, and sequences of characters escaping from a gooey, melting house?


     There’s about as much wicked pleasure in House of Wax as could be. On an episode of “Ebert and Roeper and the Movies”, Richard Roeper suggested that the only thing that could’ve made it better was “a lot more gratuitous sex and nudity!” And although he was being partially sarcastic, he’s right. The movie is all about escaping the pseudo-sophistication of “good” taste and letting loose by enjoying what is denounced as the very tastelessness of the material.


     If every movie similar to this one could boast the same about it, going to the cinema would be a whole lot more fun. The reason that House of Wax is so successful at being so grotesquely wonderful is that it’s made with the utmost care and perfection. The standard, run-of-the-mill horror-flick is put together by a geeky hack, whereas this one was directed with genuine flair in an interesting debut by Jaume Collet-Serra. Serra used to make music-videos and commercials but has clearly found a new calling.


     Similar to that of the recent Mr. & Mrs. Smith, the cast of House of Wax isn’t so much playing their characters as they are themselves. Cuthbert’s that hard-assed, but still very attractive and vulnerable chick from “24”; Paris Hilton’s well… Paris Hilton; Chad Michael Murray is the guy who’s in all the movies made for teenagers; and the rest of the actors are just raw meat waiting to be turned into wax-figures. The whole scenario is like the ultimate pop-culture experiment; it’s clear that the whole ensemble is having fun being sliced, diced, and scared to death. And while I can’t speak for all viewers, I can certainly say that I had a hell of a time watching them.


     As the only two remaining characters climbed out of a melting wax-museum in one of the film’s final, most beautiful, and elaborately designed sketches—after eighty minutes of a whole slew of terrifically cheesy material—I grinned in a state of sheer surprise. House of Wax was one film that I never expected to be of quality and I was shocked that I was actually able to enjoy it. Sure, maybe I did so for the wrong reasons; maybe the intent of the cast and crew was to make an actually frightening film akin to 2003’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. Still, that doesn’t excuse the fact that I was able to embrace what I found amusing about the material. House of Wax may not be the most enlightening cinematic experience in the world, but it’s undoubtedly a pleasurable one—guilty or not.


-Danny, Bucket Reviews

Back to Home
The Bucket Review's Rating Scale