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The original Hostel was a film that allowed the viewers to sympathize with the victims of an underground Eastern European killing club. With Eli Roth’s newest entry into the “torture porn” genre, he has subverted his protagonists. Hostel: Part II is very much a film about the killers, the men who have come to Slovakia in order to gain the power and knowledge of having killed another human being. I am a huge fan of the first film and thought that it was both stylish and smart while also bringing suspense and danger to the table. The pacing was great, as we learned who the characters were and created a bond to them once the movie turned dark halfway in. Roth knows that he has lost his element of surprise and as a result he can’t hide all his players behind the facades of friendly locals like he did. While this is very freeing in the fact that as viewers we now get to see more behind the scenes dealings—the people pretending to be on the up and up now get to be shown doing their jobs in acquiring their prey—it is also detrimental to the overall package. In order to be kept interested, we need to be given more blood and carnage, (and we do—talk about a literal blood bath), because the exposition is already there.

Unfortunately Roth still feels a need to show us the victims as humans. This is a shame because while we get to see them, we find they aren’t exactly model citizens. Heather Matarazzo is actually very annoying and you find you can’t wait until she is killed and Bijou Phillips is your run of the mill promiscuous party girl who you know will have to get hers in the end. Only Lauren German is allowed to have a shred of decency so that the audience can somewhat relate to her plight. However, like I said before, this is a film about the killers. All the scenes showing us these three American girls are used solely to benefit us by leading into the men who have paid to kill them. So, while the beginning does drag a bit in parts showing things we already know, I guess it works because by showing us how utterly superficial and unintelligent these girls are, we become more interested in the torturers’ motives. With that said, though, nothing can redeem the first twenty or so minutes of Jay Hernandez and Jordan Ladd. The scenes are used for one reason and one reason only, to connect us to the first film, (totally unnecessary because there are a ton of subtle easter eggs hidden throughout, like the photo in the mansion of our new Euro-hottie with the two from the previous installment). Not only is this bridge not needed, just the fact that they rehash the first movie makes me feel like a kindergartner, being fed everything by a spoon.

I will say, though, that I really walked out of the film with a smile on my face. The performances by our true focal points, Roger Bart and Richard Burgi’s torturers, are fantastic. Burgi is manic and hilarious at the same time while he tries to contain his excitement for the blood and Bart is conflicted and truthfully unsure of why he had agreed to come along. It is this indecisiveness that holds the film’s suspense together because you never know what his character will do in the end. As a companion piece, Roth has done a bang up job showing the other side of the coin and how broken and scared the murderers are as well. The final actions of these two men come as a surprise and a very successful one at that.

I credit Roth for not just redoing his first film with girls, no matter how much I thought he was at the start. Once the film is fleshed out and looked upon closely, you will see how he has changed the players and their motives. While the ending is nice, I don’t think it is as crazy as the hype has been saying. The final actions at the hunting club were fresh for this type of movie, but also obvious in the context of the story. I do have to say the final scene is a true joy, though. It is good to see Roth’s warped sense of humor from the conclusion of his debut Cabin Fever come through with the “gum kids” and a little game of soccer here.

Hostel: Part II 6/10
As comparison: Hostel 8/10

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photography:
[1] Lorna (Heather Matarazzo) in Eli Roth’s HOSTEL PART II. Photo credit: Rico Torres / Lionsgate
[2] Roger Bart as Stuart and Richard Burgi as Todd in Eli Roth horror movie ‘Hostel: Part II.’

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