House of Wax

For all you gore aficionados, first-time director Jaume Collet-Serra’s “House of Wax” should be fun to watch. Replete with original murder scenes and a star turn by US socialite Paris Hilton, the film is entertaining throughout, right down to its explosive climax.Six teenagers are on their way to the year’s most anticipated football game when they get sidetracked and end up in the derelict and fictional town of Ambrose, Louisiana. After an eerie encounter with a mysterious trucker, the group splits up – in true slasher flick style. Carly (Elisha Cuthbert) volunteers to accompany her boyfriend Wade (Jared Padalecki, “Gilmore Girls”) to the nearest town to find a replacement fan belt for his car, which had been tampered with. Once there, the duo stumbles on a funeral wake and befriends the seemingly harmless town mechanic, Bo (Brian Van Holt, “S.W.A.T.”). Meanwhile, the town’s macabre House of Wax sits eerily in the background, waiting to unleash its terror.This kitschy, and at times terrifying, horror film contains sequences that are both grotesque and surreal. Two scenes are particularly perversely delightful. The first shows the step-by-step process of how to embalm a living body in wax. The second comes when Dalton discovers Wade’s body and tries to claw away the wax coating – only to remove his skin, exposing blood, tissue and muscle. Definitely not for the uninitiated.Director Jaume Collet-Serra never takes the film too seriously, and even throws in an outrageous death sequence for Hilton that draws its influence from old horror flicks such as “Friday the 13th.” But when it comes to plot and scare tactics, the movie is pretty routine, down to its passe rock soundtrack. Oh well, you can’t have everything.