Thursday, May 12, 2005

"Wax" Sophomoric

What causes these studios to throw together these half-baked, sham remakes? House of Wax is no mere failed attempt on cashing in on a recognizable name. No, it's something far more sinister...The complete and utter bastardization of a great genre work by one of cinema's most complex and challenging auteurs: Andre De Toth.

Not that House of Wax 2.0 actually pretends to be a direct remake. The narratives are nothing alike, and the execution of the two films couldn't be at more of a contrast. Director Jaume Serra (who, no doubt, probably came from the delightful world of music videos) doesn't seem to be able to find a usable composition at all. Visually, the film's a mess. The exteriors look like something left over from an episode of The Brady Bunch, and the interiors are lensed dark, dark, dark. Would someone tell contemporary directors that things can be scary in the daytime as well, please?

Though the original Wax had the gimmick of 3D, De Toth's film was actually surprisingly subdued and expertly crafted. 2.0 reaches for scares through, of all tired things, crazed hillbillies (who just happen to be, you know, Siamese twin artists separated at birth and left orphans when both parents died).

The most fun to be had here is, of course, in watching the on-screen demise of a certain spoiled luminary. Ms. Hilton's death scene is a gas, but it was obviously concocted as "The Paris Hilton Death Scene That Everyone Will Love".

Everything else (awkward "romance", sibling rivalry, etc.) comes off as more than unpolished...it's downright infantile.

Oh, and one last thing...STOP using CGI in films with $20 million budgets. It doesn't work (here we get an exploding, melting house made entirely of wax...I kid you not).

Here's hoping there's no afterlife, otherwise De Toth has some haunting to do.

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