Hostel Part II
By: Devon B. on June 20, 2007  |  Comments ()  |  Bookmark and Share
Director: Eli Roth
Starring: Lauren German, Bijou Phillips, Roger Bart, Heather Matarazzo
Screenplay: Eli RothCountryUSA
Australian Release Date: June 7, 2007
Distributor: Sony Pictures
Running Time: 94 minutes
Eli Roth has been whinging of late for a few reasons, but mostly because Hostel Part II isn't making enough money. Roth is blaming piracy and critics (more on that in a moment) for the low box office return, and warns horror fans we might be seeing the demise of R-rated (US) horror if we all don't run to the cinema and see Hostel Part II right now. I'm all for adult oriented horror, but I won't support something just because of its rating. Last time I did that, I got stuck watching Showgirls. Anyway, one of the bees in Roth's bonnet is that some critics have been slamming Hostel Part II after only seeing the pirated workprint, and he thinks that's hurt the film's takings. Well, Mr Roth, I saw your official release version in the theatre, and I even took a friend who isn't really into horror as you suggested, but guess what? Hostel Part II still sucks, and that's the reason it's failing at the box office.

Hostel Part II opens where Hostel ended, picking up briefly with Paxton, before seguing into our new trio of travellers: two nubile young women and one dork. Sound familiar? The group end up at the dodgy hostel, and while one of them notices some odd things going on, she doesn't assume they'll all be abducted for torture purposes. But they are.

Okay, so there's not much plot, but that wasn't the original's strongpoint either. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed the first film, since I didn't like Cabin Fever that much, but I never would've said it had a hugely clever and unique idea. What it did have was a somewhat new spin on things in that the victims were mostly male. Rehashing Hostel with women just makes the whole thing incredibly generic, while adding the problem that Roth can't write women for shit. Instead of one or two annoying characters, all our leads grate the nerves.

As a sequel, Hostel Part II fails to surpass the original on all counts. While the original boasted some really good acting performances from the leads, Part II really only offers annoying women being annoying. The first film also built and built, but we all know what's coming in Part II, so it has nothing to build to. This leaves the whole film really, really dull. Some have levelled criticism at Hostel Part II for being more sexual, but those people must've missed the whole gay sadist subtext of the original. Speaking of gay sadists, the lead villain in the sequel has nothing on the wannabe doctor of the first. The ending of Hostel Part II is also so ridiculous plot wise that Roth may as well have put a Terry Gilliam cartoon in as a link.

Given that the Hostel series are part of the hard and heavy new wave of gore, I'm sure a fair few fans of the first movie were severely disappointed with the violence this time out. The violence is Hostel one was very well done, really showing the distress of the people being tortured, adding a bit of realism. As I inferred, Hostel 2 has some BIG plot holes that break the suspension of disbelief, but even taking that into account, the torture is nowhere near as horrific. Aside from one scene, featuring an amusing cameo by Ruggero Deodato, the torture doesn't even seem particularly nasty. But even that bit strains credibility where it doesn't need to, lessening its impact. The finale might make some guys wince, but I would think most people into violent horror will have seen similar stuff.

I said Hostel harkened back to exploitation days of yore and was an entertaining film. Hostel Part II also harkens back to the exploitation days of yore, reminding us yet again to stay the fuck away from sequels.
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