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House of WaxHouse of Wax on DVD

If you’ve seen the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and are undecided as to whether or not you want to see it again, perhaps House of Wax would be a sufficient substitute.

Basically, it’s the same movie, but instead of a chainsaw, wax is the weapon of choice.

Six teens are on a road trip from point A to point B. While in the middle of nowhere, their car breaks down mysteriously. A friendly local happens upon them, and takes them to the desolate, creepy nearby town. It appears almost completely uninhabited, and features a House of Wax full of creepily realistic “people.”

Before long, the teens start disappearing or turning up dead. Of course there’s a serial killer in town who coats people in hot wax and puts them on display in his house. Our protagonists must find a way to escape the merciless madman before they become a part of his collection.

House of Wax is, essentially, a write-off. On the one hand, it’s not a bad movie per se, but on the other hand it’s merely a complete rehash of other movies. There are some pretty good gross-out moments, and some very well done slasher deaths (Paris Hilton’s is particularly gruesome). Even the climax is pretty exciting, though slightly underwhelming.

Any movie that features Paris Hilton is just asking to be mocked. Granted, it appears to have been a role written specifically for her, and she leaves us in a worthy manner, but her acting skills are bad even for a slasher flick.

We’ve had several friends asking us to borrow House of Wax. We tell them to watch Texas Chainsaw again, instead. It’s better and it’s shorter.

The DVD for House of Wax is presented in anamorphic widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. The video crosses between good and bad. Some scenes are very dimly lit and are marred by grain, while other scenes look bright and colorful and almost perfect. Overall detail is generally good, but the scenes with grain are nearly unacceptable. The audio is pretty good, with the surrounds being used periodically throughout and booming during the climax. The subwoofer is reserved, but the separation and panning adds to the whole horror movie effect.

The cast assembles for a 25-minute video commentary in which they discuss their thoughts on the film, but is actually more like sitting at a table with a bunch of high school kids and not saying anything. Yikes. There are short featurettes covering the visual effects and production design, a shorter feature with Joel Silver talking about the film, an alternate opening, blooper reel, and the trailer.

House of Wax, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
113 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Elisha Cuthbert, Chad Michael Murray, Brian Van Holt, Paris Hilton
Produced by Joel Silver, Robert Zemeckis, Susan Levin
Screenplay by Chad Hayes & Carey W. Hayes, Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra


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Updated May 13, 2006