Hostel Part II (2007, Eli Roth)

Who Were Those People:
The Hero: Lauren German from Texas Chainsaw Remake and Crispin Glover’s next one
The Hot One: Bijou Phillips from Bully and some other horrors
The Dorky One: Heather Matarazzo from Saved and Scream 3
Evil Girl: Vera Jordanova from Finland
The Guy From Part 1: Jay Hernandez from World Trade Center
His Girlfriend: Jordan Ladd from Death Proof and Darkened Room!
Tough-guy torturer: Richard Burgi from Cellular and lots of decent TV
Repressed evil torturer: Roger Bart from Harold & Kumar 2
Writer/Director: Eli Roth, the guy who made Thanksgiving

No doubt this movie’s being accused of aestheticizing torture and murder. The posters do all that and more. The movie itself… well, definitely in the scene where the dorky one gets hung above a hot naked cult girl who slices her up and bathes in her blood… but not anywhere else.

Somehow after seeing Hostel 1, I decided Eli Roth was a terrible man. Don’t know why I rented Cabin Fever, but it got me liking the guy. The problem with Hostel is that I went to see it (and Wolf Creek the same night) for sheer entertainment. I watch Spiderman 3 and Stranger Than Fiction and Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors for entertainment, but not The War Tapes or Road To Guantanamo. Those two are practically horror/torture movies themselves, and are a reaction to the same current events as Hostel 1 & 2, so even if I don’t scrutinize the Hostels quite as much as, say, Inland Empire or Children of Men, they should be taken a lot more seriously than Elm Street 3. Watching Hostel 1 for thrills was like watching The War Tapes hoping to see some action… a psychotically stupid idea.

So, having reconsidered Eli Roth, I gave Hostel 2 a chance… and it paid off, mostly. This ain’t a superintelligent comment on post-9/11 society, but it’s closer to that than to the brutal kill fantasy it’s accused of being. More than anything, it seems to be a comment on Hostel 1, exposing the machinery behind the torture chamber itself, not how the whole organization works but at least the torturers themselves, sick rich Westerners who kill as a vacation, because they can afford it and get away with it. A very appropriate sequel, then, and probably better than the first one. The hardass torture-guy wussing out (and getting eaten by dogs!) and the wussy one turning out to be a repressed psycho was a trick I should’ve seen coming, and the post-escape revenge setup is just as formulaically sweet as in part one. Although I don’t remember Jay Hernandez being implicated by his own wealth and actions as much as Lauren German ends up in this one, paying off the torture camp then befriending the wild child gang to trap and behead the bitch behind her friends’ deaths.

Have to say I liked it, and felt pretty happy for having seen it… not gonna run out and recommend it or buy the DVD or anything, though. Katy stayed away, obviously.

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