HOSTEL, PART 2--REVIEW

jackie-chan
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Every now and then you're thrown a choice plum, even though sometimes it's dripping in blood!! Tonight I was among the first audience to see the world premiere of Eli Roth's anticipated sequel Hostel 2, with Roth in attendance to introduce the film and to field questions afterwards. Was the torturous wait worth it? Absolutely!!

Take my running complaints about titillating torture porn and throw them out the window. Hostel 2 takes everything I found offensive about Hostel and ups the ante, becoming even more outrageous and, in the process, somehow funnier and—dare I say it?—more enjoyable. Perfectly pitched to the extreme, Hostel 2 emerges unabashedly camp and this is why it's a better movie than its predecessor. Hostel punched Narnia out of the number one slot when it stormed the megaplexes. This year—pitted against the Transformers, Spidey3, and PiratesHostel 2 might just prove once again that it delivers a more satisfying bang for its buck.

Official Website for Hostel 2.

Fresh from the resounding adoration of his Grindhouse faux-trailer Thanksgiving, Eli Roth has picked up his tale exactly where the first film left off. Paxton (Jay Hernandez), minus a few fingers, is found bleeding on a train. If you recall, he kept his head and survived the Slovakian torture factory. That proves essential to kick start this story which introduces three young women touring Eastern Europe—Beth (Lauren German), Whitney (Bijou Phillips), and Lorna (Heather Matarazzo)—who become beguiled by Axelle (Vera Jordonova), one of the most seductive villainesses in recent cinema history. She lures the nubile trio to our favorite hostel in Slovakia, allows them an evening to enjoy a harvest festival and the following day to soak in the spa, oblivious to being auctioned off to the highest bidder. Americans Todd (Richard Burgi) and Stuart (Roger Bart) win the international bidding war (gleefully rendered in split screen) and arrive in Slovakia ready to fulfill their secret sadistic desires. The rest, you might say, is a slice of life.

A major shout-out to Heather Matarazzo who may just become the reigning queen of lesbian gore. Not to be mistaken with Lesley Gore. She'll never be able to go back to the Dollhouse now. Every moment she's on screen is a delight.

Eli counters that it's a matter of personal taste whether audiences find this sequel funnier than the original. He happens to think the original was just as funny; but, I don't agree. Hostel's tone was decidedly more paranoid and uncomfortably mired in dread. That may have been partly because Hostel was influenced by the extreme cinema coming out of Asia—the work of Takashi Miike (who had a cameo in the first film), films like Audition, Battle Royale, and Chan-wook Park's Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance. With Hostel, Eli wanted to place this extreme Asian violence into an American genre film.

Whereas while he was toying with Hostel 2 and writing the sequel, Roth went to Rome where he met such great Italian directors as Sergio Martino, who made the amazing I Corpi presentano tracce di violenza carnale (Torso, 1973). Roth also saw other films like Avere vent'anni (To Be Twenty, 1978) by Fernando Di Leo—"Which was just so fucking sick; the ending of this movie I just couldn't fucking believe it"—and L'ultimo treno della notte (Night Train Murders, 1975) by Aldo Lado. These were all early 70's giallo films; not the operatic Argento-style giallo but the realistic-style giallo.

While in Rome, Roth lunched with the beautiful actress Edwige Fenech with whom he fell "madly in love." Though currently a producer and distributor, Fenech came out of 15 years of retirement to play the role of Hostel 2's Art Class professor. The Italian detective in the opening hospital sequence is Luc Merenda, the star of many 70's polizia films and famed director Ruggero Deodato (Cannibal Holocaust, 1980) flew from Rome to portray Hostel 2's cannibal (in an over-the-top scene that puts Hannibal Lecter to shame). So, yes, without question, Hostel 2 pays homage to the 1973 Italian giallo films that Roth had never seen until recently and I suspect this influence has rewardingly stylized the violence.

Cross-published on The Evening Class.

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MarkMay 31, 2007 6:25 PM

Wow, I had absolutely no interest in this movie until reading this review. I might have to check it out now.

SharkyMay 31, 2007 8:46 PM

Boy, I really have to disagree with this review. Being a big fan of the original, I found this sequel to be a big disappointment.

FJOMay 31, 2007 9:23 PM

I agree with Sharky. The intro involving Paxton feels totally irrelevant, and the bulk of the film feels like a less interesting direct remake of the first film. Good ending, but will viewers stay interested long enough to make it to the ending?

JSJune 1, 2007 12:32 AM

Count me in with Sharky and FJO, it was totally slight in every way the first was substantial. Any of the possible "gasp!" moments (which were plentiful in the first film) were oversold. The only thing that Roth got from giallo was license to use less realistic effects.

CaseJune 1, 2007 12:55 AM

"the first was substantial."

Did you have as difficult a time writing this without cracking up as I did reading it?

And no shit they were influenced by Chan-wook Park's "Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance." Where do you think the first completely ripped-off the tendon-slicing scene?

"With Hostel, Eli wanted to place this extreme Asian violence into an American genre film."

And he got everything right...except for the style, story, substance, characters you actually gave a shit about, the ability to keep you awake and watching the screen, etc. Roth has billions of light years to go before he's even qualified to be in the league to sniff Miike and Park's wet farts.

GarthJune 1, 2007 2:18 AM

I completely agree with Case.

Also, I didn't find Hostel to be funny at all. Especially the awful, first part that was "supposed" to be like a sex comedy.

I'll say what I've said many times before: Eli Roth, like Rob Zombie, needs to stop thinking he's a writer. I think he's a pretty decent director and if he got someone to write good scripts, I think he'd make pretty decent movies.

For example, I'm actually looking forward (tentatively) to his adaptaion of Stephen King's 'Cell' because I recently learned that he's not writing the script, or at least he's not the primary writer, because I'm sure he'll have input, if not do a rewrite/polish himself...

JoaquinJune 1, 2007 7:52 AM

The fact that this is "funnier" is the reason why I hated it. I'm still waiting for Eli Roth to take horror content seriously as opposed to mocking or spoofing it. Yes, that means I prefer horror films to be heavy-handed as opposed to sprinkling elements of intentional humor on them. The only guy who can pull off horror-comedies with any real consistency and retain the actual horror of plot situations is Miike. Roth showed me some promise with his Thanksgiving trailer but his feature length films, I have found very lacking. I appreciate his tastes in films and see he has talent but he hasn't honed all that into a successful feature. Hostel had its moments...but the sequel was a big step back.

yuval chenJune 3, 2007 9:05 PM

if i may say, i agree with most of the author comments and reviews.

i think hostel 2 is much much much better than the first one, especially due the focus on the content and the chain of events contrary to the its predecessor.

one of the best films i ever seen and one of the films that will make you think all around (long after you finished watching it).

the best element in this sequal is the in depth look into the organization logistic. watching these detalis make you wonder about money, about people, about life. more over, it will make you want to do something to change the ego side of humanity cause it shows you how low can we get when we are all occupied on our own goals and ego instead of fulfilling humanity destiny by learning to give not to get. the realistic picture which drawn in this movie can make you feel the bad nature of humanity, and the need to change it asap, because otherwise, the outcome is a total disaster. it can show you the darkest side of money persuit and the darkest side of the 'excitment' fulfilling, which common to all of us in diffrent levels (and the levels issue is also shown in hiddn clues. i.e.: when the american guy cant finish the work and presented as 'sensitive' pervert who just realized he made a terrible mistake which will cost him in his own life, for all the meaning). the highlight of this reflects in the epus top of the film story, the last part, when the victim buy his way to freedom and life with the support of money (of course), and when the appropriate price can even change the balacnes when the pervert criminal becomes the victim of its own deeds (and this is common to stuart and to the seductive lady as well. they both suffer the same ironic goring ending, which make you release a breath as the poetic justice finds itself in the best way, as always).

i think that this film is brilliant, a must for all of you out there who really like thinking and not merely watching blood and gore. by the way, the blood scenes are not that good as those we all remember from the first film, but they still better and overcome the last merely to the fact that the overall content is more overwhelming, so the combination together seem to make the influence very hard, and even more than that.

the key word in this movie can be found in one of the last sentences, when beth take stuart's dick as pow (prisoner of war) and the factory manager arrives with his body guards employees. after a short negotiation (about money of course) stuart cant believe he is turning from customer to a victim, but then the manager says: "its a business". this sentence reflect the whole idea of the movie which make us see that for money people will do the lowest thing you can imagine, as you can see throughout the entire movie, how this 'business' creates living for the entire city and maybe country.

thats it...i give this movie 9.99 out of 10, and cant wait to see the third part (i have plenty of ideas for the third part, great ideas how to make it more interseting and overwhelming).

go and watch it. try to find the hidden clues spread throughout the entire movie, rather than merely focusing on the horror scenes themselves.

yuval chen,

israel.

LucasJune 3, 2007 9:48 PM

I thought it was a pretty ok movie. It was smarter than the first, and about as gorey. 3.5/5

AntoinetteJune 8, 2007 3:55 AM

I have yet to see this film... I'm rather interested, I must say. But I question... is it as "pornographic" as the first?

RichieJune 9, 2007 11:10 AM

This Movie Was Gruesomely Funny As Hell, Right When You Think The Chick Is Ganna Be Mutilated By the Sick Rich Guy, The Cord Is To Short And Gets Unpluged!!!! LOL IT WAS SO FREAKING FUNNY! The Whole Theater Just Bursted Into Laughter, This Has To Be the Sickest/Funnest Horror/Suspense Movie I Have Ever Saten Though.

AdamTheKingJune 9, 2007 11:05 PM

Well this movie was a dissapointment!! i liked the first alot and then couldnt wait for more gore/porn/being disturbed. This movie did not live up to any of the hype. O well... Hopefully there will be a Saw 4 that will bring this too me... O ya and by the way one of the guys is from 24 in there... Alan York

MayaJune 10, 2007 12:49 AM

Thanks for commenting, Adam. It's to be anticipated, I guess, as with any sequel, that audiences will polarize. Along with Sharky, FJO, JS, and Joaquin (whose comment about finding the humor of the sequel offputting I found interesting), you join those who preferred the first over the second. I'm just curious if your taste in horror runs more towards Asian Extreme than Italian Giallo? If that stylistic approach that Eli took is the precise source of the polarization?

brainpsewJune 13, 2007 5:57 AM

Though i've not seen this film, the writer of this review sounds almost like hes on Eli Roth's payroll. There's a wide range of disappointment from the comments that proves the movie just cant be perfect like this guy alludes to.

In the future, try to be more objective.
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