More of a radically altered update than an homage or remake, House of Wax is a miserable modern day horror film. There’s simply nothing here to work with, and not a single actor that can even come remotely close to the eerie performance of Vincent Price back in 1953, which was the cornerstone of the original. This is a brain dead teenage slasher movie.
It’s the stereotypical small town, and the stereotypical horny teenagers manage to find their way to it. Inhabiting it are stereotypical freaks, and a stereotypical guy with a knife. This leads to stereotypical sequences of decapitations and murder, to go along with stereotypical stupidity on the part of the characters.
If that’s not enough, how about illogical actions such as walking upstairs when a completely wax building is melting due to a growing fire? If that’s not illogical enough, how about trying to guess how anyone managed to save enough wax to build, from the ground up, a complete museum out of it? Still need more illogical aspects from the script? How exactly do you keep said building from melting throughout the summer season?
That’s only the blatantly apparent set of issues with House of Wax. The scares are predictable, deaths rarely innovative, and the villain is generic. Prior to the arrival in a town full of inhabitants who have been turned into wax sculptures (without anyone finding out beforehand), the character set-up is dull. It’s a complete waste of time, as many aren’t even given a chance to show who they are before being taken off screen and encased inside a sculpture.
False scares permeate the early going, building them up constantly with no pay-off. It’s purely filler. Countless references to Paris Hilton’s sex video are tiring, much like her performance. Kudos for having her killed on screen in a particularly gruesome death scene, but this should open a movie to get the audience involved from the start. Then again, most would leave as this is the only reason to watch this mess.
This is a muted HD transfer, lacking in significant improvements over a SD version. Black levels are muddy and are unable to create depth. Colors are inconsistent. Finer details hardly come through until the finale, which does look spectacular given the amount of fire. The final images are hardly worth the wait.
Audio is likewise dead until the action-oriented finale. Some minor soundtrack work in the rear speakers is evident, though minor. While it nicely mixes bass in where needed, it doesn’t have the needed punch to send it over the edge.
Extras are sparse, the key draw being a unique cast video commentary. Here, the cast views some behind the scenes footage and discusses their experience. Wax On is a short featurette on the building of the town, and the museum itself, though they still don’t address how the construction of a wax structure would actually work.