Rubbish but totally ruthless, House Of Wax makes up for its idiot plot with a gallon of gore. Forget the camp Vincent Price original, this is a barbaric update with dumb teens (led by 24's Elisha Cuthbert) breaking down in Rednecksville and stumbling into a wax museum full of uncannily lifelike exhibits. 45 minutes of boring build-up suddenly explode as fingers are menaced with bolt cutters, mouths are stuck with superglue and Achilles tendons are sliced. Refreshingly nasty.
Our heroes are New York college students, yet if their stupidity in this movie is anything to go by, they must be special school graduates. Stereotypes include the solid upstanding bloke (Jared Padalecki), idiot loud mouth (Jon Abrahams) and sex-obsessed blonde bimbo (Paris Hilton, who clearly even finds playing herself a stretch). No wonder you're left rooting for the bad guys (Brian Van Holt, in a dual role), who run the creepy wax museum.
"IT'S THE SUBTLE MOMENTS THAT SURPRISE"
The schlock's enlivened by the crowd-pleasing character assassination of Paris Hilton, who was apparently too dumb to realise just how viciously the screenwriters were setting up her Internet Sex Tape infamy. Lots of body trauma brings winces, but it's the subtle moments that surprise, like the creepy sequence in a cinema full of wax dummies who are watching Southern Gothic classic Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?. Cuthbert makes a disposable scream queen - her chief talent seems to be making her cleavage bounce - but it shamelessly sets itself up for a sequel. Believe it or not, this wax works. Just about.