Monday, April 26, 2010

Archive: "Hostel: Part II" (2007)

Writer-director Eli Roth is back, reprising the premise of his surprise 2005 hit "Hostel," which I despised passionately. "Part II" opens up with the survivor from the first chapter, minus two fingers, retelling his nightmare story of the hostel. He believes he's still in trouble for getting away from the tattooed clan of foreign killers who run this whole, sick ordeal; if you don't recall, it's an organization where people kill other people for pure entertainment. Well, it turns out he was right and we soon discover him sitting at the kitchen table with a bloody stump on his shoulders as a nice treat for the cat to lick.

Setting the mood nicely, we're then introduced to a group of American art students studying in Rome. There's nice Beth, nerdy Laura, and nasty Whitney. These three ladies get offered by a beautiful foreign woman to go to some luxurious spa, but little do they know, they're being dragged to the same lethal hostel the group of guys did last time around. Looks like the Slovak Republic is yet again the last place you'll want to go over spring break. (Keep that in mind, targeted teen audience.) Obviously Europe is the new, hip place to take advantage of the latest tourist trend: Mutilating and torturing innocent people for your own leisure. Yes, Eli Roth means for it to be a satire on our capitalistic and materialistic way of life; we get it already.

The clients' side of the story is provided, too, as we follow two men who are paying big bucks to partake in the torturing. A humorously sick scene occurs when we watch as people all around the globe are sending in their bids on the young group of American women. This man wins the auction by interrupting his game of golf to text in his bid, and once triumphant, he believes that this single day will benefit him and his buddy for the rest of their lives. He'll now have some kind of macho aura about him now that he's killed a person.

I went into this movie expecting the worst, so I was rather relieved to see how campy the violence actually was in comparison to the first. Let's take these few scenes for example: One of the vacationing girls is hung naked upside down, only to be sliced with a scythe by a woman client lying naked in a tub ready for a literal blood bath; one of the men clients is taunting his young lady with a buzz saw, only to have it accidentally go into her face; a penis is shown getting chopped off, and a dog eats it; and lastly, the movie ends with the last surviving woman exacting her revenge on the beautiful foreigner by slicing her head clear off with an ax. In some ways, it becomes totally absurd and laughable which, in my opinion, makes it more tolerable than "Hostel," which was downright, straight-faced awful.

Presented once again by Quentin Tarantino, "Hostel: Part II" is in some twisted way, though I hate to say it, a step in the right direction for Eli Roth. It's a very, minuscule step, however, because this movie is still soulless, pure torture, and there has yet to be one genuine scare produced. Is this really what horror movies have become? Roth isn't completely hopeless because he shows possibility in an ominous build-up scene at a creepy, foreign festival. Besides, I still liked his trailer from "Grindhouse," and you can't forget "Cabin Fever." With these flickers of potential, I'm ready to see Mr. Roth attempt something different and finally close this hostel forever.

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