Follow Us on Twitter

Hostel: Part II - Review

Lauren German in Hostel: Part II

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

WITH the original Hostel, Eli Roth tapped into a seemingly insatiable lust for torture and depravity among viewers that even saw it filter into films like Casino Royale and TV shows like 24.

In so doing, he created a worrying trend for “torture porn” that made murder and mutilation the new horror cool.

Twelve months on and he’s at it again, desperate to up the ante while continuing to pay homage to the grisly exploitation flicks of the ’70s (such as Cannibal Holocaust and their ilk).

The result is Hostel: Part II, a grim re-tread of the original that substitutes male back-packers for girls and attempts to shed new light on the Elite Hunting company behind the torture and the men (and women) who sign up to take part.

Beth (Lauren German), Whitney (Bijou Phillips) and Lorna (Heather Matarazzo) are the latest three victims to be lured to deepest, darkest Slovakia after falling foul of one too many amorous men in Rome, while Stuart (Roger Bart) and Todd (Richard Burgi) are the businessmen who have successfully won the bidding war to torture and kill them.

Ironically, the film is at its best (and most thought-provoking) when following the journey of the men, with Bart in particular providing a chilling transformation from father to slayer.

But while Hostel: Part II is better than its predecessor in many ways (in filmmaking terms) and you have to (begrudgingly) admire the director’s warped imagination, it still leaves an unpleasant taste.

Roth attempts to side-step some of the inevitable outrage surrounding violence against women by having another woman commit one of the slayings but the scene in question (involving Matarazzo’s victim) is loaded with a warped eroticism that’s really quite cynical.

While the resolution is so ridiculously over the top that the film transcends horror to become almost laughable (amid an orgy of castration, cannibalism and decapitation).

The lasting impression is that Roth has lost the plot in his desire to achieve ever higher grosses (both physical and financial), which makes Hostel: Part II a victim of its own excess.

The most distasteful thing about it, however, is the way in which Roth attempts to make depravity fun. By encouraging audiences to cheer along with the violence, he has them baying for blood in a way that cleverly proves the point he claims he’s been trying to make in the first place – that there’s a dark side to everyone.

But that type of thing should never be encouraged, which makes Hostel: Part II objectionable to say the least.

Certificate: 18
Running time: 93mins