House of Wax (2005)
Second Time Offender
Chad Michael Murray
Brian Van Holt
Six friends on a road trip, (there are a lot of fucking road trip horror movies), are headed to Louisiana for the biggest college football game of the year. They decide to take a shortcut (apparently they’ve never read the Horror Movie Survival Guide - cuz that's a big no-no) to shave an hour off of their commute only to run into a detour.
It’s late and everyone is tired so they decide to stop and camp for the night (again, horror survival no-no) and get up early the next morning and continue on their merry way. Instead of going to sleep though they end up partying (another no-no) until a mysterious truck arrives out of nowhere. The driver doesn’t exit the vehicle, instead he high beams them, and they grow uneasy (as they should). Nick, in a rugged display of manliness and badassitude, throws a beer bottle at the truck and after several more moments of tense inaction the truck backs out and leaves.
Even though they’re sufficiently creeped out by the event, and appear to be ignoring a putrid smell that they appear to be camped down wind of, they decide to stay the night (come on people, that’s just common sense…fucking morons deserve to die now).
In the morning, well…afternoon, they awake to find they’ve overslept and, to add insult to injury, someone has apparently cut the fanbelt on Wade’s car making it necessary for Carly and Wade to stay behind to get it fixed.
While the others are getting ready to head out Paige and Carly discover the source of the putrid smell – a roadkill graveyard – where they also meet the roadkill collector who informs them there’s a town just down the road where they can get the part they need.
Wade and Carly hitch a ride with the creepily disgusting roadkill collector and arrive at the quaint little town a short time later. The place appears to be deserted at first glance as they head for the gas station. Upon finding the gas station unattended they head to the church looking for help only to interrupt a funeral service.
The gas station owner/attendant, Bo, comes outside to see what they need and little do they realize they’ve just met their doom because the town is not what it seems and the wax museum hides a sinister secret they’ll be lucky to survive (:::insert evil villain laugh here:::).
Carly: [after hearing a noise outside their tent] Wade, wake up. Wade! I heard something.
Wade: Yeah, it's probably the serial killers or something.
Wade's wax transformation.
So where do I start? Technically there's nothing wrong with the film. The sets are great, the plot is decent, and the wax museum is sufficiently creepy. There are even some surprisingly good scenes (which I won't spoil for you) and it has a fairly decent sense of humor. I think the main problems it suffers from are poor casting, we're talking some cheesetastic performances by mostly decent actors (Paris Hilton being the worst!) and slow pacing (the painfully slow build-up to the action had me sitting in the theater rooting for people to die out of sheer boredom).
I think that building the rest of the cast around Paris Hilton kept the movie from fulfilling the potential it had. How is anyone supposed to take your movie seriously when you obviously don't? It never had a chance of comparing to the 1953 version with Vincent Price, but it had a chance to be more than it is which is probably the most disappointing thing about it.
That being said I have seen the 1953 version, but I haven't seen the 1933 version (Mystery of the Wax Museum) that both films are based on. The Vincent Price version is infinitely creepier, better acted, and a lot more frightening than this film could ever hope to be.
If you haven't seen either version you might like the remake, if you watch it though I do ask that you see the Vincent Price version because there really is no comparison.
In the movie theater where Carly and Nick are hiding, most of the wax figures were actually extras wearing masks.