Related to the 1953 Vincent Price film in name, embalming technique and Warner Bros. pedigree only, the new "House of Wax" is a dreary, predictable tale of hormone-driven young people who take a shortcut off a Louisiana highway only to find themselves potential figures in a backwater Madame Tussaud's.
Elisha Cuthbert and Chad Michael Murray are the nominal leads, playing twins (she's the good one, he's the bad seed) on a road trip to a Florida-LSU football game with four buddies — including Paris Hilton, who is required to do nothing beyond that for which she is already famous.
After a promisingly ominous and disturbing prologue, first-time feature director Jaume-Collet Serra and the film settle into nearly 45 minutes devoid of anything besides wan attempts at character development and genre-ratified ploys to separate members of the group. The final hour-plus has more action but is as frightless as it is humorless, lacking even the camp elements bad horror usually provides, before a spectacularly ridiculous ending in which characters swim through rivers of molten wax without getting so much as a hot foot.
"House of Wax," R for horror violence, some sexual content and language. Running time: 1 hour, 53 minutes. In general release.
Frustration: It's just part of the processA curio created in the editing room, "Nobody Wants Your Film" is a genuinely original work that won't be for everyone but will certainly resonate with aspiring filmmakers and those interested in creating art in a world of commerce. Consisting of footage shot on the set of an independent film and e-mails stringing together a semifictionalized story line involving the difficulties of gaining distribution, the movie's strengths lie in revealing interviews with cast and crew members as well as surreal — at times beautiful — visuals.
Director Peter Judson includes conversations with indie stalwarts such as Peter Dinklage and Sam Rockwell as well as more seasoned actors such as David Proval. Abstract but absorbing, the interviews vary from locker room jocularity to heartfelt expressions about craft and capture all the banality, frustration, passion and exuberance that go into making a movie. "Nobody Wants Your Film" is both the cautionary tale implied by its title and an inspiring note from the indie underground. The glory may lie in getting your film seen, but the struggle and the numerous rejections cannot negate the importance of doing the work.
"Nobody Wants Your Film," unrated. Running time: 1 hour, 28 minutes. At Laemmle's Sunset 5, 8000 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, (323) 848-3500.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun