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Film Review: House of Wax on, wax off, Paris Hilton-son

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My goodness, would somebody please hook up Paris Hilton with a TV dinner? Instead of her and Nicole Ritchie probing that cow in the Simple Life, they should have eaten it. But wait … oh, yes, this is a review of the new horror flick, based on the old horror flick (1953) House of Wax (HOW) which was based on Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933). The 2005 remake really only has wax in common with the prior flicks. Instead of Charles Bronson playing Igor and the uber-creepy Vincent Price, viewers are treated to Paris Hilton romping around, Elisha Cuthbert emulating her “Run, Kim Run!” escapades in a past season of 24 and other actors I don’t recall seeing before.

Based on the marketing alone, where you could catch the last week via podcast Paris talking about how tiring it was promoting HOW, I wanted to see the new movie which actually had Elisha Cuthbert, not Paris Hilton, in the lead role. Besides, until Star Wars III next week, it’s really the only game in town. It’s the remake of the Vincent Price movie of the same name, and it has moments of that classic eerie ambience.

The basic plot is a group of young adults are heading to a football game and take a detour and camp out near a creepy town. During this campout one of the campers has his fan belt break (or cut?), so he has to make the trip into town with his girlfriend, played by Elisha Cuthbert, who has the lead role, not Paris Hilton. This is where they see this House of Wax which is quite literally a house made of wax.

These two siamese twin brothers, separated at birth (?), have a bizarre fetish working where they cover humans — living or dead — with wax. From the previews I thought wax people came alive and walked the earth, sort of zombie-style, but that’s not how it goes. Too bad, that might have worked better. Also, in the end, there is a slight twist — which I won’t ruin — which almost guarantees there will be a sequel. Or two. Or three. That’s the way it goes in and on the horror movie franchise conveyor belt.

Paris Hilton really has only a small part in this movie and most the time you see her locking lips with her African American boyfriend who seems more interested in getting to the football game, getting laid and playing his tunes than being involved in the movie. Though I didn’t count, it sure seems like Paris Hilton has more lip-locking and close-ups of scantily-clad dress scenes than actual acting scenes. When she does act, it’s horribly wooden and unpolished. Get into pron officially already, Paris!

Elisha Cuthbert, perhaps most notable for her role as Kim Bauer in the Fox TV show 24, has a different look and does OK as the lead in the flick. It can’t be a step up for her professional acting career moving into remakes of old horror flicks though.

So the real question is: does Paris Hilton get waxed? I won’t tell you if she gets wacked, that would ruin the fun, but she definitely does not get waxed. I was hoping they’d put some wax on her and put her on gruesome display at the end of the movie. They could have tied in some clever Simple Life segues and satirical stabs and totally missed the opportunity.

Comparing this movie to other B-grade horror flicks and it’s not horrible, but it takes a good hour — which is too long — to get the story and characterizations painted. Some of the characters are sterotypically cheesy: football jock looking for redemption, brother and sister feuding, etc. Still, no boobs! No nudity alert! What is a lame horror movie without bare breasts? This movie could have been so much more with some headlights on, but you don’t even see those through any shirts. You get some pictures of chests, even closeups, but no knobs. Downgrade there.

Sound wasn’t anything special. There were a few jump out of your seat shock moments, but not enough to make HOW truly scary. HOW may make for a good rental, but forget about it in the theater. We paid matinee prices which, after popcorn, soda and candy, worked out to be like $30, not counting the $5 gas to get to the theater. It was a decent Saturday afternoon diversion, but wait for it on DVD where it will probably be packaged with a ton of goodies for less money. I doubt this one will last long in the theater as I counted 15 people in the theater besides us. Grade: C+

A slighly different version of this review originally appeared at Things That … Make You Go Hmm. Erin McMaster reviews HOW for Blogcritics here.

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  • meaghan

    to all upeopel who say stuff about paris well go tohell i love paris so much i am up set about the fight between hher and nicloe thow.I think paris did a really good job on the movie !!!! i think she is a amazing person!

  • this movie sux i couldnt belive i had to take off my fucking clothes ok well i am gonna go have lesbian sex with nicole richie love you guess later