House of Wax ★★★★

House of Wax might be the quintessential 2000s horror movie. It combines so many elements that were everywhere back then – remakes, gore, awful music, Paris Hilton – and somehow manages to be good.

I remember when this movie was first released its main appeal was Paris Hilton being killed – which looking back is pretty fucked up for a lot of reasons that I'm not gonna unpack here because it would take too long. Her death is probably the most uninteresting and needless part of House of Wax since she and her boyfriend never even get involved in the main storyline around the wax museum.

It takes almost an hour until something happens and yet apart from the beginning where the movie spends way too much time establishing that Chad Michael Murray's character is the bad guy of the group it never gets boring. Once they find the animal carcasses and meet the first resident of the town there's a constant sense of danger that doesn't disappear until the very end.

Once the killing starts it surprises me every time how shocking the violence is. Scenes like the one where of the friends is trying to free another from his wax prison by trying to peel it off have burned themselves into my brain to the point where even if I haven't seen the movie for years I will sometimes remember them and shudder of sheer horror. At the same time there's a certain beauty to House of Wax. There's something eerily beautiful about the scene where Wade is prepared to become a wax figure and the way the camera moves up and down his body.

House of Wax is a movie that could easily be dismissed as just another horror remake but Jaume Collet-Serra managed to turn it into something completely original and unforgettable – a quality that not many horror movies from that era possess.

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