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House of Wax (15)



Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: One

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: None listed

HAS anyone made a career out of being kidnapped and chased quite so effectively as Elisha Cuthbert?

Having fallen foul of evil-doers through three seasons of real-time TV thriller, 24, she then played The Girl Next Door, a former porn star on the run from her former employers.

Now, she becomes a potential victim once again in House of Wax, a remake of the Vincent Price classic that bears little resemblance to its predecessor.

Poor Elisha plays the supposedly bright member of six Louisiana friends whose decision to take a short-cut deep into the backroads of America has dire consequences for just about every member of the party.

Rather than getting them to their destination faster, the route brings them to a town watched over by twins who have dedicated their troubled lives to recreating a town made from wax - using fresh bodies to 'inhabit it'.

As a result, the hapless teenagers must try and avoid becoming additions to the twins' trophy cabinet, while finding a way to escape from their nightmare.

To be fair, House of Wax is one of those movies that's so bad it's actually quite entertaining.

Aside from Cuthbert's woman in peril, there's also a certain Paris Hilton to run around and scream in skimpy outfits, who seems fully aware of the film's exploitational intentions and enters into the spirit with relish.

Quite what she would make of the chorus of cheers that greeted her demise is another matter entirely, though!

Yet as game as everyone is to play by the rules of the film's cliche-ridden script, House of Wax still struggles to emerge with much credit and is a fairly bog-standard entry into the stalk-and-slash genre.

What's worse is the unforgivable stupidity of just about every character, who seem to go out of their way to do the most obvious thing to put them in harm's way.

Cuthbert, especially, seems intent on getting herself killed, frequently venturing out into the night-time by herself, or remaining in buildings that obviously pose more threat than the outside world.

But then every cast member has at least one laugh-out-loud moment of idiocy that contributes to their demise.

Were it not for the grisly nature of the violence, this might have played better as a spoof, given its continual ability to raise smirks rather than shivers.

As things stand, it provides its fair share of thrills - but for all the wrong reasons.

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