Hostel Part II
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E dir-scr Eli Roth
with Lauren German, Heather Matarazzo, Bijou Phillips, Roger Bart, Richard Burgi, Vera Jordanova, Jay Hernandez, Jordan Ladd, Milan Knazko, Edwige Fenech, Stanislav Ianevski, Patrik Zigo
release US 8.Jun.07, UK 29.Jun.07
07/US Screen Gems/Lionsgate 1h33
Bad holiday: German

matarazzo phillips bart

HOSTEL (2006)

hostpart Picking up where the first film ended, writer-director Roth adds two angles to his formula, but neither is enough to make this grisly film worth watching.

While on a tour of Europe, Beth and Whitney (German and Phillips) break away from their group, reluctantly taking the loser Lorna (Matarazzo) along to visit Prague. On the train, they run into Axelle (Jordanova), who seductively convinces them to visit a Slovakian spa town, booking them into the hostel that we know feeds a torture ring where rich men and women buy the chance to inflict suffering and death away from their civilised lives. Two such men, Stu and Todd (Desperate Housewives' exes Bart and Burgi), have appointments with Beth and Whitney.

The first different perspective is having women as the victims, which is hardly original for the horror genre and makes the film feel thoroughly misogynistic, especially when the actresses are often either wearing bikinis or nothing at all. The second change is to see the torturers' point of view, which does add some intrigue, especially as Stu is being reluctantly pushed into this by Todd. And then there's the vampish woman (Fenech) who, quite literally, wants a bloodbath.

The level of nastiness reaches unbearable levels in that particular scene, as well as a few others, and viewers who get their kicks out of sadistic brutality might find this entertaining. For the rest of us, this film has little to offer: it's not scary or suspenseful, the black humour is funny but rather cheap, and the subtly interesting elements (such as showing the clients in their everyday lives) are never meaningfully followed through.

It's a mystery how Roth attracted such solid actors, there's not much to the script. His earlier films subverted expectations and kept us entertained with clever wit, but this film does neither. It even has a much more straightforward visual style. So it feels simplistic and rushed, with corny references to Pulp Fiction and Borat, lots of teasing red herrings and then, just as things start to get provocative, a series of twists and turns that give the film a bit of a kick, but never bring it to life.

cert 18 themes, extreme violence, language, nudity 25.Jun.07

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... hostpart Aron Biro, Romania: 3.5/5 "I find your review a little bit harsh, even if the torture movie trend is one of the most despicable ideas in the horror culture. First, having women as main characters in Hostel II is not mysogynistic, it provides a nice symmetry with the first movie. It's also heavily influenced by the way Tarantino promotes 'woman empowerment' in a pulp key (the plot resolution is exactly the opposite of mysogynistic). I find the two angles added to this movie to be more than any other maiming movie did (Saw, Final Destination). And no, the violence is not gratuituous here. It costs and for some people is an investement. So we also have a little bit of subtext (hardly found in similar movies). And the image of Eastern Europe that this franchise promotes is totally hilarious, in the vein of old Fu Manchu / Eastern Terror pulp horror." (30.Jan.08)
2007 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall