House of Wax, while far from great, is still a decently entertaining remake featuring some well done practical and halfway respectable visual effects plus had some creepy moments.
House of Wax
— Collector’s Edition —
Shout Factory| R – 113 min. – $34.98 | July 13, 2021
Date Published: 07/12/2021 | Author: The Movieman
Shout Factory provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.
THE MOVIE — 3½/5
Plot Synopsis: A group of college friends — Carly (ELISHA CUTHBERT), boyfriend Wade (JARED PADALECKI), brother Nick (CHAD MICHAEL MURRAY), best friend Paige (PARIS HILTON), Paige’s boyfriend Blake (ROBERT RI’CHARD) and Nick’s friend Dalton (JON ABRAHAMS) — are en route to a school football game when they wind up with a flat tire in a ghost town. They are forced to seek help in the only place that’s open: the local wax museum. Once inside the spooky and seemingly abandoned building, they find the works on display are not quite what they seem and they soon discover it’s being hunted by the insane twin brothers (BRIAN VAN HOLT) who run the museum.
Review: Despite its title, 2005’s House of Wax is less a remake of the 1953 classic and instead more a remake of the 1933 film, Mystery of the Wax Museum, sharing a similar plotline. For one reason or another, and although I owned this movie twice over on DVD and Blu-ray (part of a 2-movie feature with 13 Ghosts, also receiving a CE Blu-ray from Shout Factory), this is one I hadn’t gotten around to watching, perhaps in part many of these modern horror remakes, or at least those in the late 90s, early 00s, were rarely all that well made (Thir13en Ghosts included). However, after watching this version, it’s wasn’t half bad. Not great mind you but still fairly entertaining.
The ensemble cast — i.e. most there to be victims of serial killers — is nothing especially noteworthy, although with Elisha Cuthbert in the starring role, reminded me she was kind of the it-girl of the early 2000s following her part on the 24 television series, having leading roles in a variety of films. She and Chad Michael Murray, were at least alright and Brian Van Holt in dual roles, portraying the film’s maniacal murderer. The others, including Paris Hilton, are just there for some hideous kills, Hilton especially was gnarly. And in all fairness, albeit not great, she was okay in terms of performance for a thinly written part.
The biggest advantage House of Wax has going for it is the practical effects. Not only are the wax figures, at least once they’re chipped away revealing flesh and bone underneath, were fantastically gruesome, but the finale in a literal house made out of wax, was pretty spectacular. Director Jaume Collet-Serra (upcoming films Jungle Cruise and Black Adam), making his feature film debut, utilized as much practical effects as possible and visual effects only where necessary. It’s old school filmmaking and makes for a pretty memorable third act.
In the end, I thought this was far better than expected, even though my expectations were rather low. Although the characters are a bit paper-thin with only exposition to give us any clue to their personalities, the finale and effects made up for the deficiencies and makes this worth checking out.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3½/5
This “Collector’s Edition” comes with a matted slip cover and the interior sleeve is reversible with the film’s original poster artwork.
Here we get four new interviews with a fair array of perspectives with Hilton and Ri’chard recounting their experiences while Baird and Ottman get a bit more technical on their respective crafts. Would’ve been nice to get a couple other cast members, but who knows if the others had the best experience while director Jaime Collet-Serra has been busy of late so no surprise he’s absent.
B-Roll and Bloopers Video Cast Commentary (26:31) — Elisha Cuthbert, Paris Hilton, Jared Padalecki and Chad Michael Murray sit on a couch and talk about B-roll footage.
From Location (1:32) — Producer Joel Silver reveals House of Wax.
Wax On (7:25) — Featurette on the production design.
The House Built on Wax (10:11) covers the visual effects on the movie.
Alternate Opening (1:29) showing another stranger being taken by the serial killer.
Gag Reel (4:42) filled with line flubs and missteps.
Vintage Interviews and Featurette (19:45) is your basic EPK feature with on-set interviews with the cast.
Theatrical Trailer (2:21)
VIDEO – 4½/5
|Shout Factory releases House of Wax on Blu-ray receiving a new 1080p transfer from a 2K scan of the interpositive, and presented in the original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio. For the most part this looks rather good, detail is relatively sharp and colors have some vibrancy shown especially during night scenes when the lights turned on an otherwise vacant town while black levels are solid, never appearing crushed.|
AUDIO – 4/5
|The included DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. I’m fairly confident this is similar or the same as the original tracks on the previous Blu-ray release. It’s nothing incredible but when the action/attacks start ramping up, the track comes alive. Dialogue does come across the front channel with good clarity and the depth is decent enough for ambient noises or John Ottman’s generic horror score.|
OVERALL – 3½/5
House of Wax, while far from great, is still a decently entertaining remake featuring some well done practical and halfway respectable visual effects plus had some creepy moments. The Blu-ray release from Shout Factory has a few new interviews and a new transfer which I found to be fairly good.
Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.