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The Tomatometer is 60% or higher.
The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
The Tomatometer is 75% or higher, with 40 reviews (movies) or 20 reviews (TV). At least 5 reviews from Top Critics.
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Solid, old-fashioned haunted house tale uses ambience, dim lighting and first-rate production design to create scares. Virtually no violence or gore, just some spooky old toys and an old woman who pops up from time to time. Daniel Radcliffe is ok as a young lawyer sent to the old mansion to settle the estate. What he finds is a mystery that could have been much more intriguing if fleshed out more. This film may have been a classic had there been a better mystery beneath the strange goings on. Instead, the result is still a very good ghost story that with a bit better writing, could have been great. Excellent slow-burn atmosphere though.
Inspired, creative, well-made and conjuring dusty, dirty horror movies of the 60's and 70's such as Texas Chainsaw and Tourist Trap, this movie is really far better than most of its critics gave it credit for. Admittedly, the movie is formulaic, especially during the first act when we are introduced to a typical group of immature, horny, ignorant teenagers who embody the usual stereotypical characters - the jock, the slut, the "good girl," the criminal/bad boy and his henchman, and the sole black guy. With the victims in place, they quickly drive out to the middle of nowhere and get lost, oversleep, suffer vehicle problems and end up separated (naturally) in a very creepy, frozen-in-time town which seems to be void of actual living people, save for a filthy local who picks up roadkill, and a rude local who runs the town gas station. You cannot begin to examine the plot (and plot holes) in a movie like this and still hope to enjoy it on any level. It's a ridiculous plot which cannot stand up to the slightest scrutiny. However, on its surface, the film is first-rate in some very key areas when it comes to horror. The sets, props, makeup and production design is fantastic, and worth the price of admission. If this movie had even an average script, it might have been a small masterpiece thanks to it's production design and wax figures, fake town and attention to detail. I was totally sucked into this little town frozen somewhere in the 40's or 50's, although it isn't quite clear when things went south for this place. In any event, turn off your brain, pop some corn, and enjoy the visual splendor that is House of Wax, a very scary movie with some real thrills and a dynamite closing act.
This is what good horror/thriller/mystery films are to me. This movie has a good story with a mystery at its center needing to be solved by a suddenly widowed music professor who rents a 100 year old mansion with a dark past. This film has very little violence or gore, just a creaky old mansion, odd noises in the night and a hidden staircase leading to an attic bedroom where a secret has remained hidden for decades. This film possesses many of the same qualities as the Omen, with it's plot centered around the urgency to solve the mystery before more bad things happen. I hold both films in about the same esteem, with the Omen achieving slightly higher marks for technical virtues and a better overall cast. I would like to find more films like this one - a ghost story with an actual mystery at its heart, and an engaging journey to solving the puzzle and ending the curse.
Atmosphere, atmosphere, atmosphere. And then, more atmosphere. Story? Well, it's mostly about Nicole Kidman rambling around a poorly lit mansion with her pale children and very odd housekeeping staff when things start to go bump in the day and night. Not much really happens in this movie, and that's a good thing. The mood is tense and dream-like, but having watched this movie a few times now, it is far too obvious what the big twist is. We know the twist long before Kidman's character learns of it, but it doesn't undo an otherwise solid ghost story. This area is well-worn, sadly, as it would be nice to see more like this (such as Woman in Black) where violence and gore take a backseat to mystery, creepy sounds, and offbeat characters giving clues as to what all the fuss is about. It's not easy to make a successful ghost story anymore, but this one is a very good attempt.
Home invasion flick provides a few good jolts, but is ultimately undone by a director who forces the victims to do things you and I would most likely never do. They don't call 911 when they have a working cell phone. They don't drive away as fast as possible when they have a working car. They don't shoot the intruders when they have a working and loaded shot gun. Instead, they allow their cell phones to be taken by the badies, their car to get smashed by the badies, and they shoot a friend instead of the badies. The film starts off with some promise, and then repeatedly insults our intelligence before its bleak and pointless ending.