Friday, June 03, 2005

House of Wax

"I don't do formula" contends serial unpublished author Miles Raymond in Rex Pickett's Sideways.

Formula is hard to do well. One a genre has matured the distinction between motif and cliché is at best imprecise, and recently the fashion in the slashers been to seek credibility through an ironic conspicuousness of reference.

House of Wax has its "hello, is anybody there?" moments and the mere prescence of Paris Hilton will encourage many critics to look down their noses at it, but I'm willing to contend that this is actually a very worthy contribution to the formula.

Overall a faultess execution of what this kind of script is supposed to execute - dumb American youth. V was suffering from fingernail depletion at the end!

Paris Hilton found herself at the mercy of the rednecks a year or so back when she signed up for Fox's The Simple Life, but these dentally-challenged heartlanders have no intention of being a reforming influence for this particular pool of ominously-detoured post-teens.

Stunning contemporary effects and production design are embedded in a nostalgic set-up. It's all rather Friday the 13th meets the Twilight Zone. The art deco architecture of this deadly "off the GPS" destination is particularly pleasing.

The script is well-structured, has instances of memorable dialogue and takes time to develop the soon-to-be-dead into credible individuals. It may not make us want them to live to become useful members of society, but then why should it? And while you could argue that the victims make some fairly suicidal decisions along the way, that's also part of the formula isn't it?

Before the movie started we watched a trailer for the American re-make of Dark Water, directed by, of all people, Walter Salles. An unlikely fan of Asian psychological horror if ever there was one. Of all ways to sell out to Hollywood, the remake is the least propitious. It's hard to tell from the trailer what Salles is bringing to the party other than anglicisation.

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