Sunday, June 10, 2007
Hostel: Part II (2007)
When Hostel first came out, I avoided it in theaters. I figured it was a sorry excuse to exploit the bread and butter of the horror genre, the blood and nudity. After it came out on DVD, I still waited a few months before tepidly picking it up. When I finally watched it, I was blown away by its smarts, its clever foreshadowing and its commentary on the world we live in today without sacrificing its extremely brutal entertainment. Suffice to say, I couldn’t wait to see what Eli Roth would do with its sequel. I am happy to report that Hostel: Part II returns with an even bloodier, more brutal and fun film that is more a continuation of the story than a sequel that is sure to please fans!
It begins right where the first film left off, with Paxton (Jay Hernandez) having escaped and hiding out at his girlfriend’s family’s farm. He’s having nightmares about the Elite Hunting Agency and hasn’t even told his friend Josh’s mother that her son is dead. It doesn’t take long for heads to roll and we meet a new group of American tourists in Rome. These three girls, Beth (Lauren German), Lorna (Heather Matarazzo) and Whitney (Bijou Phillips), are heading to Prague, but our convinced by new friend Axelle (Vera Jordanova) to go with her to Slovakia for the therapeutic hot springs. When the girls arrive at the now infamous hostel, bids are immediately placed on the girls’ lives from wealthy people around the world via cellphone, PDA and laptops. The winning bidders quickly arrive in Slovakia for their chance to kill a human being. Among the arrivals is an American businessman (Richard Burgi), who has bought two of the girls, one for him and one for his friend Stuart (Roger Bart). As the three girls get separated, we also learn more about the actual hunting agency and get a peek “behind the scenes.” The Bubblegum Gang also makes a few more appearances. Everything leads up to the blood-gushing finale, which has a few surprises up its sleeve.
With Hostel: Part II, Eli Roth has hit it out of the ballpark. This sequel to Hostel is everything a fan could ask for! It’s well-constructed, it doesn’t insult the audience, it’s smart, it’s entertaining and it delivers the blood-soaked goods!
I was definitely looking forward to Hostel: Part II, but I was also a little anxious to see how it turned out. I was hoping that Roth didn’t just make another Hostel only this time with women as the victims. Luckily, the movie isn’t just a repeat of Hostel, but adds to the story and tells us more about the powerful Elite Hunting Agency. It also brings back several characters from the first film, including the creepy hostel desk clerk and the Bubblegum Gang, to name two, which were a delight to see. Instead of a sequel, it’s more a continuation of the first film, which definitely works in its favor.
Unlike the first film, Hostel: Part II dives right into the grue and resurfaces just long enough to take a breath before plunging back into the crimson. Scythes, power tools, scissors and numerous other instruments of pain release the flow of blood while we are privy to decapitations, shootings, a throat slitting and various methods of torture. My favorite scene of torture, and perhaps the most cringe-worthy scene for men, occurs toward the end and involves a man’s testicles being menaced by a pair of scissors. In fact, I think I scared my boyfriend a little with my maniacal laughter throughout this scene. Another scene, involving a tub, a candlelit atmosphere and the well-known promotional image of a naked girl hanging upside down is the most bloody in the film and another of my favorites.
Hostel: Part II, like the first film, takes its time to develop the characters and show us different hardships they go through when traveling in Europe. The girls don’t all get along and they are not all likable. Whitney, the party girl, and Lorna, the sensitive, getting-in-touch-with-her-feelings type, clash, while Beth is daddy’s little rich girl. Yet, when they face pushy, abusive guys on the train and are abducted from the hostel, you really do feel for them. Very much like the first film, while the characters might not all be likable you still empathize with their pain.
I was pretty impressed with the acting. I really wasn’t expecting too much from the leads, but they definitely delivered. Lauren German was the standout actress in the film, portraying Beth as strong, smart and self-reliant. Vera Jordanova also impressed me with her performance as the shady Axelle. For her first feature film, she did an excellent job going from friendly and helpful to creepy and cruel. Roger Bart also gave a multi-layered performance as the meek and conflicted Stuart. Heather Matarazzo and Bijou Phillips also gave spot-on performances as unlikable characters that we actually ended up feeling for as they are tortured. It was a joy to see the still gorgeous Edwige Fenech in a small cameo, as well as Cannibal Holocaust director Ruggero Deodato in a cameo as a cannibal within the hunting agency.
Hostel: Part II is everything Eli Roth promised. He has truly made a film (and a sequel at that!) for the fans that delivers all the horror we demand. Hostel: Part II just may very well be even better than Hostel and had me leaving the theater with a huge grin plastered on my face!
Get it on Amazon!