Theatrical Review: Hostel Part 2
When the original Hostel ended, the young man, Paxton, had just escaped the European torture facility by having to commit a few brutal murders of his own. Hostel Part 2 picks right up with Paxton at it’s start, but quickly moves on to a new set of victims for it’s second installment. Three young female students are making their way through Europe and while attending an art class in Italy, they meet a young model who becomes attached to them and takes them to the Slovak area, setting them up to be the next targets for the dreaded Elite Hunting group (if you’ve seen the first movie, then you know that Elite Hunting is the name of the group that finds these young victims and then puts them up for bid for wealthy business people to come and do with as they please, with the end result having to be killing their victim). We also follow two American businessmen, one who’s gung-ho to do this thing while the other is a little skittish about it. And from there, hijinks ensue…
For the most part, Hostel Part 2 follows the same formula as the original, with setting up the girls in it’s first half, as well as the businessmen, and then it ups it’s pace in it’s second half taking place within the torture facility. Writer/Director Eli Roth follows this,, but also manages to throw in a twist or two along the way, and it’s usually a twisted twist as well…
Critics of these films call them torture-porn, but I don’t quite see it the same way. What Roth has done with his first three movies (the two Hostels and Cabin Fever) has basically gone back to a 70s style type of terror film from which really there is no hope… you’re taking the ride with the victims, and in some cases emphasizing with them, but ultimately the shock comes in either their own demises or what they have to do to get through this themselves. In the case of Paxton with the first film, it was transforming him into something that he wasn’t. In the case with this one, it’s the same with a young woman named Beth, very well played by a young actress named Lauren German- but Roth gives us the twist though too with both of his business men, Stuart and Todd, played respectively by Roger Bart and Richard Burgi.
Personally, I do think that Hostel Part 2 is a pretty effective piece of terror until it’s very final scene and then Eli Roth turns it all into a cartoon, basically I think trying to ease an audience into not taking this all too seriously. I could’ve done without his choice in the end to do this, and would’ve preferred that he ended it without the laugh and just kept it as dark and disturbing as he could’ve.
All of the actors give some decent performances here, along with the above-mentioned, Bijou Phillips plays Beth’s friend Whitney, who’s way more of a sexual free-spirit, and independent actress Heather Matarazzo (who I hadn’t seen in anything in awhile), plays Lorna, their somewhat nerdish friend, who at least for me was the most sympathetic character in the film and whose torture moment is probably one of the most painful and disturbing to watch, primarily due to just how well Matarazzo plays the part.
Even with the ending that I disagree with, I’d still recommend this film, especially if you enjoyed Eli Roth’s other films. His films certainly are not for everyone, I’d be the first to grant you that, but if you like to see a horror/terror film that pushes the boundaries about as far as they can go, then Hostel Part 2 just might be up your alley.