House of Wax


House of Wax

Critics Consensus

Bearing little resemblance to the 1953 original, House of Wax is a formulaic but better-than-average teen slasher flick.



Total Count: 156


Audience Score

User Ratings: 404,518
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Movie Info

A road trip to the biggest college football championship of the year takes a turn for the worse for Carly, Paige and their friends decide to camp out for the night before heading to the game. A confrontation with a mysterious trucker at the camp site leaves everyone unsettled, and Carly has her hands full trying to keep the peace between her boyfriend Wade and her hot-headed brother Nick. They wake up the next morning to find that their car has been deliberately tampered with, leaving them with no transportation. At the risk of being stranded, they accept a local's invitation for a ride into Ambrose, the only town for miles. Once there, they are drawn to Ambrose's main attraction -- Trudy's House of Wax, which is filled with remarkably life-like wax sculptures. But, as they soon discover, there is a shocking reason that the exhibits look so real. As the friends uncover the town's dark secrets, they are stalked by a demented killer and find themselves in a bloody battle for survival. The group must find a way out of Ambrose -- or become permanent additions to the House of Wax.


Critic Reviews for House of Wax

All Critics (156) | Top Critics (33) | Fresh (40) | Rotten (116)

Audience Reviews for House of Wax

  • Jan 08, 2017
    Picture it, 2005 in the United States. America was just made their second biggest mistake in their presidential elections when they re-elected George W. Bush. I'm sure you all know the biggest mistake. It happened recently. The number one song in the U.S, the same week of this film's release, was the awful Hollaback Girl by Gwen Stefani. The #1 album that same week was Something to Be by Rob Thomas. Remember him? And Paris Hilton was famous for, essentially, being famous. This was back in the day when I was still high school, so some of you, at least some of the younger people, might not even know who this woman is. Let's just say that she was Kim Kardashian before Kim Kardashian was ever known. Paris had more of a shooting star quality, she was gone almost as fast as she hit the 'big time'. Which is unlike the Kardashians, who have stuck around longer than anyone ever wanted them to and who I wish would just go away live their lives in obscurity. The point of this all is the fact that when this movie was announce, it was sort of a big deal because of Paris Hilton being in it, even though her fame was fading by this point. I say big deal in that people wanted to see her die a gory death because they hated her so much. And because there was a sort of morbid curiosity to see how bad of an actress she would be. Twelve years removed from the film's release I can say that, in all honest, Paris Hilton isn't as bad of an actress as one would reasonably expect. She's obviously not super talented by any means, but she wasn't bad to the point that she deserved a Razzie nomination for worst actress. She was barely in the movie, but she was perfectly fine in the scenes she was in. And, honestly, I think she could have done well in films like this, where they don't really require much in the way of acting talent. But this movie isn't about Paris Hilton nor is it centered around her character. Admittedly speaking, this is about as generic a slasher as you will ever get. It has the basic story of a group of teens, or in this case adults in their 20s, being hunted down by a murderous madman, or madmen in this case. You've seen it before and you will certainly see it again until the end of time. Even with that, however, this is still a fairly decent movie with one of the coolest visual set pieces I've ever seen in a horror movie. It should be obvious the scene I'm talking about. Somebody starts a fire in the House of Wax, I don't remember the circumstances that led to it, and the wax figures and the house, which is made entirely of wax, start to melt. I don't know how to describe it properly, but the visuals of everything slowly melting was actually really fucking cool and, easily, the highlight of the entire damn film. There's just something grotesque yet oddly enthralling about seeing this house and the wax figures, made of actual human beings, just slowly melting away. I realize that the entire movie can't be like the third act, but the actual melting of the House of Wax is so inspired that you sort of wish that they serviced a considerably better movie than what we ended up getting. Which is, as I mentioned, a run-of-the-mill slasher with very little that differentiates it from other films in the genre. I never thought it was a bad movie, at any point actually. I just felt that, like I said, outside of the third act, it all felt a little too similar to other flicks in the same genre. There's nothing special for about 2/3rds of the film. Another problem is the film is that it's so damn long. There's no reason that this movie, and I went back and checked, should be 1 hour and 47 minutes long. Yes, really. It's unnecessarily long. It's almost 40 minutes into the movie before the villain, or one of them at least, appears. And then they kill off the majority of the characters in quick succession. There's almost 30 minutes left in the movie when all but two people are killed off, the most important characters of course. So the timing and pacing between each kill is awful. The movie takes too long to get going and when it does get going, it kills its characters so quickly that none of the deaths are remotely close to memorable. That's another thing, outside of the two that are left alive to battle the villains, there's no one character with anything resembling a personality. And that's not saying the protagonists are that great to begin with, but they have a somewhat decent backstory as it relates to the backstories of the villains. It's not good, but at least it's something. The pacing and length really were the best part of the movie. It's long, the characters are not all that interesting and the deaths come so quickly that it has no impact. The third act is excellent and actually worth seeing just because of how visually cool it is to watch an entire house of wax slowly melting. The rest of the movie, eh, you wouldn't be missing out. Average movie, but that's all due to the third act. I can't give this a recommendation when you take into consideration that I didn't enjoy about 2/3rds of this movie. Watch at your own risk, but you could always do worse.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Jan 25, 2012
    Inspired, creative, well-made and conjuring dusty, dirty horror movies of the 60's and 70's such as Texas Chainsaw and Tourist Trap, this movie is really far better than most of its critics gave it credit for. Admittedly, the movie is formulaic, especially during the first act when we are introduced to a typical group of immature, horny, ignorant teenagers who embody the usual stereotypical characters - the jock, the slut, the "good girl," the criminal/bad boy and his henchman, and the sole black guy. With the victims in place, they quickly drive out to the middle of nowhere and get lost, oversleep, suffer vehicle problems and end up separated (naturally) in a very creepy, frozen-in-time town which seems to be void of actual living people, save for a filthy local who picks up roadkill, and a rude local who runs the town gas station. You cannot begin to examine the plot (and plot holes) in a movie like this and still hope to enjoy it on any level. It's a ridiculous plot which cannot stand up to the slightest scrutiny. However, on its surface, the film is first-rate in some very key areas when it comes to horror. The sets, props, makeup and production design are fantastic, and worth the price of admission. If this movie had even an average script, it might have been a small masterpiece thanks to it's production design and wax figures, fake town and attention to detail. I was totally sucked into this little town frozen somewhere in the 40's or 50's, although it isn't quite clear when things went south for this place. In any event, turn off your brain, pop some corn, and enjoy the visual splendor that is House of Wax, a very scary movie with some real thrills and a dynamite closing act.
    Mark H Super Reviewer
  • Dec 22, 2011
    It's not that bad to be honest, I enjoyed it a lot, the acting isn't good, but it has it's moments. And the homage of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane is a must see scene
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Nov 29, 2011
    Awful. Just plain awful. What kind of person makes this kind of movie? Better yet, what kind of person likes this kind of movie? Watching as people are gruesomely executed? What's the big payoff at the end? It disturbs me deeply to know that there are people who like to watch movies about people as they are mutilated in the most horrific ways possible. I wonder about the mental health of everyone involved with this movie -- especially the director. Is is just growing more and more common as the times move on that people are into these kinds of movies? What does that say about our generation? Sure, The Evil Dead was gory, but it was all in good fun. Here, its just distasteful. I feel like the horror genre has dropped to an unsubstantiated low; less thrills, more gore.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer

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