Reviews & Counting
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Hostel 2(2007)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Eli Roth

Lauren German/Beth
Heather Matarazzo/Lorna
Bijou Phillips/Whitney
Jordan Ladd/Stephanie
5 10
Three American chick art students get swindled into a “torture for dough” ring in oh so friendly Slovakia. Guess what ensues? Torture…. on three American chick art students... for dough.
Being a big fan of Eli Roth’s two previous films: CABIN FEVER and HOSTEL, I was mucho looking forward in having some chainsaw revving, tit slapping, head chopping enjoyment with HOSTEL PART II. Granted; at this point, I am freaking yawned up by the torture subgenre but the way I looked at it, if anybody could put it to rest for a while, with some oomph at that, it’s Eli Roth. Sadly that didn’t happen for this fan!

Now I’ll give HOSTEL II this; it played a handful of appealing cards, especially within its last half hour with my fav having to do with a sly exploration of two American clients hopping on the “torture” bandwagon. I was mucho engaged by those scenes and totally boogied as to where the plot line eventually went. Brave stuff! The bull’s-eye was hit gore wise too! In fact, this sequel was even more gruesome and warped than the original (And KNB hit it out of the park again with their stellar effects)! There was an uber artsy, sadistic and sexually perverse feel to the torment bits on this round. Wait till you see that blood bath incident. It had me grinning and popping wood for some reason... at the same time?!? Yup it’s shrink time...again…

With that eviscerated, the kills here distressed me less than the ones found in the original. I allocate that to the fact that I was then a cherry to the Hostel world and I actually cared/related to the a-hole Jocks getting the drill treatment; hence got my ass kicked. That didn’t happen here (read “why” below). Production design was on the money throughout. The "fun times chambers" we're taking much further in concept; less abattoir like and more theme room/operatic inclined. Upside of that; I relished la difference. Downside; the settings were less unsettling. Finally the last block of the picture sported a couple of left field plot-twists that I didn’t see coming and that I found pretty damn witty within the Hostel universe. Nice way to take the franchise’s rules and flip them on their severed heads! If only the saturated and auto-pilot first hour had taken a similar approach. If only…

Which brings me to WHY this sequel let me down like a hooker sleeping on the job when she should be eagerly chewing the fat to earn that quarter. For its first hour of build-up HOSTEL II pretty much followed the same narrative structure as Part 1 but minus its liveliness, “f*ck you” attitude and its “fun” factor. You’ve seen the first film; you’ll know what’s gonna go down every single step of the way here. So say buh-bye to suspense, suprrises and dread and say hello to a ho-hum chain of events that failed to hook me in deep enough. Why they took even longer on this run to get to the punch when we ALL already knew where this was going via the original is beyond me! The flick did have a shot at doing something fresh with the character of Paxton (from the first film) who was tossed into the mix but sadly it went nowhere with it. I had flashbacks of how Rachel was treated in Halloween 5. Talk about pointless!

It didn’t help matters much that the lead chickadees (the ones I'm supposed to root for...) were flimsily characterized, rarely going further than: the geek, the half nerd/half cool brunette and the happy-go-sucky whore (...who doesn’t f*ck…we don’t have the whores we used to have…). And to make matters worse; their dialogue was serviceable at best. The clever and politically incorrect yap-yap that I dug so much in Hostel was not in this house...like…AT ALL! Outcome of all that; I never got to the point where I gave an iota of a shit about these flatter than flat broads outside of their round buttocks. So I sat through the overly familiar one hour build-up in a semi detached manner, not bored to tears, but not thrilled either.

Alas, the meh villains didn’t fare much better either with “snare girl” Vera Jordanova in particular really missing the tug-boat with the part. Standing there and looking pretty does not make for an involving or threatening villainess. The presence, magnetism, darkness and edge that Barbara Nedeljakova conveyed in the original while tackling fairly the same role, were sorely missed here. Moreover, the film’s impact was lessened by the usual "sequel-itis" syndrome of going too deep as to the details behind its madness. This sequel offered us a play by play of how “it all worked” and although somewhat compelling; it nipped in the bud most of the fear (which was fed by the mystery behind it all) and feel of realism that the first one sported. The more I found out about it functioned, the less I believed in it.

And what was up with the “condom safe” approach to the sexual content? The prominent smut that I relished in the original was mucho diluted here (Where was my girl on girl action yo?) and so was the “on girl torture”. You’d think that having female victims would up the “disturbing” factor — no dice! That possibility was ruined by not enough focus on it and a watering down of it with castrations hitting the screen left and right. I thought this flick was about dames getting tortured not a "how to guide" on circumcision! Add to all that: an overuse of The Bubble Gum Gang (it went too far for my liking; those kids were freaking everywhere; what’s their MO anyways? Go to school ya bums!) and a too abrupt finale and you get quite the inferior follow-up.

Maybe expectations played against me. I was hoping for a sequel that continued the original (as Roth had stated in the media) while telling its own story. Didn’t get that; what I got was a watered down (on all fronts) retelling of the first movie with a couple of neato ideas along the way and some slick turns in the end. Big letdown. This hostel is now closed for business!
The kills are the raison d'etre of this flick hence I won't go into too much details about them. I will say this; expect graphic beheadings, stabbings, slit throats, snipped off penis', a bit off nose, a saw in the head, a shower of blood and many more atrocities.This gore hound was howling at the moon! AOOOOOOOOOO!
Laura German (Beth) did fine as the “hero-dame” too bad the role was written slim-fast-slim. Heather Matarazzo (Lorna) played a geek….again. She does it well. Bijou Phillips (Whitney) played the slut again…a slut that doesn’t slut though i.e. waste of a good slut. Vera Jordanova (Axelle) was gorgeous and that was it for her! Roger Bart (Stuart) was mucho efficient while Richard Burgi (Todd) stole the show with his intense and flamboyant showcase. Love that guy!
T & A
We get some T, some A and some swift B (bush) but nothing like the delicious excessiveness that was the original. NOTE: Who knew that Heather Matarazzo naked would turn me on! NOTE 2: Who knew that Bijoux Phillips would choose Hostel 2 as the first film where she DOESN’T show-off her assets! The ladies get some dude’s butt and some ding-dong shots.
Roth directed with a firm yet more restraint hand than the original; going more for artsy instead of "hip". Although competent and occasionally creative (loved that split screen stuff); liveliness was lacking. I did appreciate the emphasis on building tension; I mean technically Roth was on the ball in that department, sadly the deja vu script ruined its success on me.
We get some opera-ish, classical like stuff that fit the more “mature” mood of the flick.
I have a feeling that those who loved Part 1 won't think much of Part 2 and vice versas. In my opinion; sixty five percent of HOSTEL II was a remake of the original but with bland broads, a restrained demeanor, different locations and no fun.  I guess that’s what happens when you replace horny, loud mouth Americans duders who like to swing their big dicks in slut filled discos by a group of demure Yankee dames who attend a “classical music” laced costume party with puppet shows in tow. The affair did deliver some gripping subplots, red grub in spades and some potent turns in its last half hour but I craved more than that from a sequel to my beloved HOSTEL. The politically incorrect nature of the first film, its pizzazz, anxiety, horny and loving it attitude and side-splitting sophomore humor… all gone. Was it more mature than the original? I guess it was. But I’ll take unapologetic, frat house-ish and XXX inclined in a Hostel flick over "mature" any day!  Where's "THANKSGIVING" when you need it? Oh yeah! RIGHT HERE!
Cabin Fever's Jordan Ladd (Stephanie) has a cameo in the film.

Eli Roth recently announced that he will not be helming another Hostel film.

Look out for Pulp Fiction on a TV in the film. Of course Quentin Tarantino who directed Pulp is also the executive producer of Hostel and Hostel II.