HOSTEL: PART II
**** (out of 5)
June 8, 2007
Lauren German as BETH
Roger Bart as STUART
Heather Matarazzo as LORNA
Bijou Phillips as WHITNEY
Richard Burgi as TODD
Vera Jordanova as AXELLE
Jay Hernandez as PAXTON
Directed by: Eli Roth
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
I broke with many critics eighteen months ago when I gave “Hostel” a favorable review. It’s not that I thought it was a great movie. Trust me, I’m really not a big fan of the dirty-basement torture porn that Hollywood is passing off as slasher films these days. However, I thought “Hostel” was effective in what it set out to do, and Eli Roth – whether you want to admit it or not – is a talented filmmaker.
When it comes to this graphic and extreme violent horror flicks, the hotly anticipated “Hostel: Part II” delivers. In fact, compared to much of what’s out there in the genre, it’s one of the better films.
This sequel picks up with a new batch of victims stalked by the dastardly Elite Hunting company in Slovakia. This time, the new crop of “product” is a group of three college girls studying abroad. Like any standard slasher film, they represent the typical characters – a nerd, a whore and a nice girl. Guess who survives.
If you’ve seen the first film, you know that this idyllic European trip will suddenly turn horrendously ugly as the girls are invited to youth hostel in Slovakia. However, this time around, we know exactly what is in store for the girls: the rest of their short lives as playthings for the rich and powerful to torture and murder.
This is where I really found myself interested in the movie. Where “Hostel” brought us along for the ride with the victim, in “Hostel: Part II,” we follow some of the customers. The two main customers, oddly plucked from the “Desperate Housewives” cast, are two American family men who are trying to find new ways to get their jollies.
I found this character examination far more interesting than the traditional victim. After all, how much depth of character can you discover in a person who’s strapped to a chair prior to being eviscerated? The customers – Richard Burgi as an overly eager one and Roger Bart as the one with second thoughts – were far more interesting. In particular, Bart does an excellent job showing us a man struggling with the knowledge of what he’s about to do.
While most critics, parents and anyone else with weak stomachs are going to bemoan this film, I found a lot to appreciate about it. It’s no surprise to those who know me that I’m a huge horror movie fan, and so is Eli Roth. Because of this, I found a lot to love about “Hostel: Part II,” just as I loved the more obscure references and style choices in “Grindhouse.”
While he made a gut-wrenching movie, Roth has also made a deft homage to the slasher films of the 1980s. All the elements are in place, but instead of psychos in hockey masks, you have rich guys in slaughterhouse outfits. Instead of a warning to kids to not have sex at summer camp, you have a warning to kids to be careful traveling abroad. Instead of creative ways to kill people with sharp instruments, you have… well, you still have creative ways to kill people with sharp instruments.
Like many horror films nowadays, “Hostel: Park II” was not screened for critics. And while this tight policy by studios annoys me to no end, I can completely understand why this film was held back. Still, I think the movie is being released at the perfect time – the same weekend that the lush slut Paris Hilton is let out of prison for a cushy stint in house arrest. Watching hottie Bijou Phillips go under the knife can only make us fantasize about laying out some dough to do a number on her bud Paris Hilton.
And people think that Eli Roth’s films don’t offer a public service.
Ultimately, the secret behind “Hostel: Part II” is no secret. If you don’t know what you’re getting into when you see this movie, you deserve everything you get. And if you can handle the flesh, blood and gore, it’s a better film than the first.
It’s sick. It’s twisted. Some scenes made me want to throw up. But I loved it. God help me.