Warner Home Video
Cast: Elisha Cuthbert, Chad Michael Murray, Brian Van Holt, Paris Hilton, Jared Padalecki
Extras: Cast Video Commentary, Alternate Opening Sequence, Featurettes, Theatrical Trailer
I remember growing up and watching the latest and the greatest in horror films, where the thrills were really thrilling and there was usually something fresh and new being presented. Lately, horror fans have become the unwilling benefactors of disappointment after disappointment, as new batches of horror films seem to pop up every other day that are either totally unoriginal or just a poor re-telling of their predecessors, which simply have nothing new to offer fans of this genre, myself included.
Now, I'm all for an updated version or sequel to a film classic, just make sure to give us something that is worth our time, period. Enter "House of Wax", this 2005 remake of the Vincent Price horror film that attempts to deliver a little something special, but ends up falling flat overall.
Centered on a group of horny teens, with the usual perfect hair and oh-so-glossy white teeth are headed out of the city to attend a football game, when – surprise, surprise – while on-route to the game, the teens take a wrong turn and then experience car trouble in the worst possible of all place. Nearing the rather creepy small town of Ambrose, with a literal "House of Wax" as its somewhat infamous attraction, the group decides to set up camp for the night. The next morning, while venturing into the small town in search of a little help, only ends up leading the naïve bunch on a collision course with murder and mayhem brought on by a couple of the creepy redneck townsfolk, with an abusive past.
I do have to give kudos to the production design team of "House of Wax", for utilizing as much real wax as possible to provide the really cool "look" of the film that served to enhance the overall visuals. "House of Wax" also has a fair share of some nasty scenes that will have you squirming in your seat.
I always try to view a film with little or no expectations to give the final presentation the benefit of the doubt, but for some reason, I expected a little more from this 2005 update of "House of Wax", which only managed to serve as its downfall. Now if we could just have something new to look forward to, without Hollywood relying on the possibility of recapturing the success of past hits, then this genre would be given a real boost, one that it truly deserves.
Warner Home Video presents "House of Wax" in a nicely produced anamorphic widescreen transfer, displaying an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Color saturation is quite balanced throughout producing naturally appearing flesh tones and combining with rich deep black levels to capture the feel and textures of the ample amounts of real wax used within the films production. Compression did expose itself in the form of grain during some night scenes, while the overall transfer does not display any forms of dust particles in the final presentation.
Warner Home Video has paired "House of Wax" with a well-balanced Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack that comes available in English, French or Spanish options. Bass levels are nice and deep mixing with good use of all available channels to produce a terrific overall sonic presentation. Vocal reproduction is good, but somehow manages to appear a little distorted throughout some scenes, but this is a minor discovery at best.
"House of Wax" is packaged with a few interesting extras including; "B-Roll and Bloopers Video Cast Commentary" that features the cast discussing certain footage being shown via a split screen presentation. If you enjoyed the final "look" of "House of Wax", then the two main highlights of the extras are "Wax On" and "House Built on Wax" that are two featurettes focusing on the production design and visual effects of the film, which I found to be quite informative.
A deleted footage segment titled "Alternate Opening: Jennifer Killed" is worth a viewing, with a short featurette "From Location: Joel Silver Reveals House of Wax", a gag reel and theatrical trailer completing the added value content.
When a movie has Paris Hilton as a "star," you know it's in trouble. Instead of wasting budgets and time on films that no one needs and that have been done better 50 years ago, why not make something original for a change with real actors and not the latest teenie-wanna-be's. All we need now is a remake of "Sophie's Choice" starring the latest American Idol winner. Hollywood, wake up. There are real movies to be made.