A group of teens on their way to a football game are forced to take a detour after one of their cars won’t start. They end up in a small town called Ambrose, which used to be famous for its wax museum.
It soon becomes clear that not all is right in Ambrose – and the teens find themselves fighting for their lives.
Back when House of Wax first came out, I saw it for the same reason I suspect most people saw it: to see Paris Hilton die. In fact, casting her was a stroke of genius on the filmmakers’ part for this very reason; because, while she may have been as much of a charisma vacuum on screen as everyone expected her to be, her death was satisfyingly dramatic, making everything else worthwhile.
To an extent, I feel like this is a pretty good analogy for House of Wax as a whole.
The movie is pretty vacuous, with some seriously unlikable characters making increasingly stupid decisions that lead to their well-deserved, generally pretty creative deaths. In fact, despite the pretty epic nature of the movie’s finale, I would’ve been happier with an even higher body count – because I don’t feel like anyone really deserved to come out of this encounter alive.
But, having said this, I have to admit that there’s something satisfying about yelling at a group of people making the kind of stupid decisions that lead to their deaths. I mean, isn’t that kind of what slasher movies are about?
So, as much as I was prepared to critique the hell out of House of Wax, instead I find myself (rather grudgingly) having to acknowledge that, while it’s not a great movie by any standards*, it ticks most of the boxes that are necessary for an entertaining slasher film. Which is to say, it’s basically a perfect movie-night-with-friends kind of slasher.
So, you win this time, Paris Hilton. 😐
*Except for the non-CGI special effects, which were actually pretty good. Especially during the final act.