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House of Wax (2005)

For some reason or another this film came and went with little to no attention towards it upon its initial release. And although it always cropped back up, I never felt compelled enough to give it my time, which is maybe strange, given my love for 90's and 00's slashers. So, nearly 18 years later the day has finally come to give this audience dividing remake some attention. I guess the only question is, should I have waited so long?

'House of Wax' features some surprisingly great cinematography, enhancing some genuine heart pounding moments of suspense. Given that this comes from director Jaume Collet-Serra, who is no stranger to the horror genre, directing The orphan and The Shallows, it comes as no surprise that some of his earlier work is equally as enthralling as some of his later projects. Everything looks aesthetically pleasing, even including the very welcomed addition of the use of a hand held camera from one of our main characters. This provides the opportunity to interweave some interesting, tension building moments of found footage throughout.

The cast is a "who's who" of teenage heartthrobs, from side characters including Chad Michael Murray, Paris Hilton, Jared Padalecki right through to lead actress Elisha Cuthbert. Although collectively you would assume that they would give the usual half-hearted TV procedural performances they are so used to playing, I remarkably found all of them delivered exceptionally engaging displays. Especially that of Cuthbert. I can only assume her dedication to this role brought out the best in those around her. Even Hilton steps out of her reality TV personality and gives a somewhat natural delivery of the majority of her line delivery.

The effects work here is outstanding. There is one scene in particular in which Padalecki's character 'Wade', gets half of his face cut off once been turned into a wax statue and looks incredibly convincing. With that in mind, the majority of the kills are particularly impressive, with the demise of Hilton being a personal favourite of mine. The set design of the town and the museum itself is really good, especially in the closing act when a fire breaks out melting everything around them. As to be expected from any horror film to be released in the 2000's, there are some flawed CGI fire effects that really haven't held up well. However, as a whole, when the CGI is used in conjunction with the phenomenal practical work, it makes for a more than passable combination.

I was quite confused by the 2 hour runtime when I initially sat down to watch 'House of Wax'. I couldn't understand how a mid 2000's slasher could not only justify its runtime but also hold my attention.for that long. As it turns out, quite easily. This was a very enjoyable 2 hours spent, and a film that I would strongly argue still holds up rather well by today's standard. If anything, the soundtrack alone is worth your time, featuring a plethora of artists from my youth such as, 'The Prodigy', 'Disturbed' and even 'My Chemical Romance'. Granted, it falls victim to more than a few clique moments. But, these instances felt more nostalgia inducing for me than outright flaws.



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