Thursday, August 18, 2011
House of Wax
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Writer: Chad Hayes
Genre: Horror: Thriller
I'll readily admit that I never really liked the 1953 House of Wax. It's certainly a piece to see because it's rather creative, but definitely a relic of another era. This version of the film is very different and even casts Paris Hilton as one of the characters (not simply a cameo). The film was so proud of having her in it that her face even appears to be on the cover, just wax-ified.
Despite the really awkward casting choice the movie is surprisingly engrossing. Also, Ms. Hilton is not the lead character. Thank goodness! The story is changed up quite a bit. In this version, there are a group of teens (or 20 somethings?) who are just trying to travel to a big football game. One of their cars breaks down along the way and so they travel to the nearest town to try and get it fixed. Of course, visiting the town leads into murders.
What surprised me first was how much time in the film is spent building up the story and characters. For what felt like more than 20 minutes the movie lets you experience the characters and their interactions. It throws out red herrings and slowly casts a feeling of dread over everything. Maybe at 30 minutes they finally enter the town. It's incredible to see modern movies not just try to jump right into insanity. It's not quite up to Psycho quality lead-in, of course, but it's better than a lot of modern attempts.
Because of the building up of characters and helping viewers to become attached to them it is more worrying when they are cast into dangerous circumstances. It seems like a little bit of the film was inspired by Saw at one point, but aside from that it kept a strangely classic vibe. The climax is exciting and was also just really cool to watch. It was a fun watch and I hope others think so too.