By Gregory Kirschling
Updated May 04, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT
HOUSE OF WAX: Vince Valitutti

House of Wax is unusual for one reason only. Not counting the Paris Hilton sex tapes sold to all the Luddites who couldn’t find it online, this is the first time you’re actually being asked to pay to gape at the hotel-heiress swizzle stick who already pops up everywhere — TV shows, parties, and film festivals — at no cost. A few people would even pay $10 just to make her stay at home for an evening.

So it’s hot when, just a few minutes into a mercenary horror remake about kids stumbling onto a fake town run by Achilles-tendon-slicing waxworkers, Hilton turns out to be a pleasant addition to the dead-meat cast (led by waxy Justin Timberlake and Kirsten Dunst look-alikes Murray and Cuthbert). Not because she gets murdered, but because scary movies thrive on a sense of play, and except for when Paris is on screen giving us the winking sex eye, Wax is just a museum of gory, joyless, easy shocks.