House of Wax

on May 06, 2005 by Paul Clinton
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The latest medieval gore-fest for the under-25 crowd, "House of Wax" strips away the storyline of its source material, 1953's wonderfully creepy Vincent Price spectacle. Instead of anchoring the film to the desperate dream of a showman to rebuild his wax museum destroyed by a fire, "House of Wax" stakes itself in the familiar territory of teenagers lost in the woods.

Carly (Elisha Cuthbert) and her brother Nick (Chad Michael Murray) join four friends on a road trip to a big football game. Predictably, car trouble causes them to stumble into a deserted town where they are terrorized by backwoods freaks. The teens are tortured by deranged twins who have been stalking them in a ghost town that includes a wax museum, exhibiting the paraffin-covered corpses of victims pulled off the roads.

Writers Chad Hayes and Corey Hayes incorporate elements from "Psycho," "Friday the 13th" and "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" in a script that offers few thrills and a slapdash story, but delivers a memorable finale thanks to impressive sets and art direction. Performances that include Paris Hilton doing a partial striptease are mostly forgettable.

The original "House of Wax" provided heart-stopping sequences, psychological suspense and grisly shocks. Only the third element gets its due in the remake. Starring Elisha Cuthbert, Chad Michael Murray and Paris Hilton. Directed by Jaume Serra. Written by Chad Hayes and Corey Hayes. Produced by L. Levin, Susan Levin, Joel Silver and Robert Zemeckis. A Warner Bros. release. Horror. Rated R for horror violence, some sexual content and language. Running time: 112 min

Tags: Elisha Cuthbert, Joel Silver, Robert Zemeckis, Chad Michael Murray, Paris Hilton, Jaume Collet-Serra, horror, remake, slasher
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