Hostel: Part III (2011) – WTF Happened to This Horror Movie?

The WTF Happened to This Horror Movie series takes a look at Hostel: Part III, a direct-to-video sequel directed by Scott Spiegel

Threequels can often be a daunting undertaking for even the most accomplished of directors, and even for franchises with decent first two installments. Candyman 3: Day of the Dead takes a fairly offensive stab at the Mexican holiday, while Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III doesn’t live up to the pre-release marketing hype about it being ‘banned’ and ‘the most controversial movie ever made’. It was neither. Even Scream 3, despite not necessarily being bad per se, is a low point considering how strong the first two movies are. On the flip side though, George Romero’s Day of the Dead is a solid follow-up to both Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, while Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead threequel Army of Darkness is a total blast. So, after Hostel: Part II grossed significantly less than the hit opening chapter, did that put any notions of a third part in serious doubt? Well, to put it simply, no. However, that didn’t mean that significant changes wouldn’t be made, mainly with the absence of Eli Roth as director, and it also going straight to what used to be the death knell for movies – directly to home entertainment. Also gone was the Slovakian setting of the first two movies, which the local tourist board must have been delighted with. Also, instead of horndog fellas or unfortunate college girls, this time we’re heading to Sin City to attend the bachelor party from hell. However, could the movie buck the recurring trend of threequel-itis and deliver a killer final chapter, for now at least? Let’s find out here on WTF Happened to Hostel: Part III!

Of course, the major shift from parts one and two was the absence of director Eli Roth, who does have a writing credit and was unofficially one of the movie’s producers. He must have been delighted with the success of the first two entries, especially part one, but as he described when Hostel: Part III (watch it HERE) was announced, he was ready to move onto other projects, saying, “That’s another one like ‘Cabin Fever 2’. The studio had made a lot of money with it so they want to keep going, and the fans, there’s demand for it. If I started something and other people want to continue it, go for it. I’m just not involved in any way (with Hostel III). There’s no negativity about it. I just said, ‘I put everything in my life for three years into these movies. I’ve said everything I have to say with it. I feel very lucky I got to make them and the fans responded the way they did, and if you guys want to continue it, great, go ahead.'” Credit to the guy for calling it quits while he was ahead, but was it the right move?

Taking the directing reins on the movie was American screenwriter, director, producer and actor, Scott Spiegel, who was one of the executive producers on both Hostel and Hostel: Part II. Before he helped envision the brutal maiming of poor unsuspecting victims of the Elite Hunting Club, he was best known for small roles in The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II for which he co-wrote the screenplay with longtime friend Sam Raimi. Spiegel already had some experience of helming direct-to-video movies with 1999’s sequel From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money. It had nowhere near the riotous (titty) twisting narrative of the first movie, but it was fun if nothing else. It had vampires. It had people killing said vampire. Plus, it probably filled a gap on those Blockbuster shelves back in the day, so it served a purpose I suppose.

With the movie taking a direct route to home entertainment platforms, and its limited budget, the producers had to rely upon relatively unknown names to bolster the cast. Nowadays the DTV route is flourishing, and regarded as a successful playground for bigger names. Just ask Nic Cage! However, back in the early noughties this wasn’t necessarily the case. So, the main cast is led by Brian Hallisay as Scott, Kip Pardue as Carter, Skyler Stone as Mike and John Hensley as Justin, who play the four pals who head off to Vegas for the usual hedonism. They’re joined by Sarah Habel and Zulay Henao as Kendra and Nikki, two escorts Carter paid to have sex with Scott, the bachelor boy.

Hostel: Part III (2011) – WTF Happened to This Horror Movie?

The movie’s narrative kicks off in Las Vegas where a guy called Travis, played by Chris Coy, enters a hotel room where a Ukrainian couple, Victor and Anke are staying. However, it transpires that Travis is part of the nefarious Elite Hunting Club and after drugging the couple with a spiked beer, they find themselves taken hostage by the evil organization. Victor wakes up in a cell in an abandoned building, and watches on helplessly as Anke is dragged out of her cell by two guards. What follows isn’t the usual Vegas throwdown you’d expect from a visit to Sin City as, apart from a couple of exterior shots, we never really get to see much of the place. I guess it doesn’t matter where you shoot grisly torture scenes, but it would have been good to have seen some some of the action go down in Vegas itself.

This is basically a nastier variation of the Hangover movies, just without any of the invention and clever wit that some of those films had in spades. On the face of it, Hostel: Part III sticks to the well trodden formula of the first two movies, at least as far as the narrative is concerned. The cliches of the first two parts are at least switched to a certain degree, such as the aforementioned opening scene, and while the kills are a lot less disturbing than Roth’s entries, there’s still a relatively pleasing amount of gore on display.

Unfortunately, however, what lets part the film is that it does feel like a direct-to-video sequel. Roth’s visual style is conspicuous by its absence here and it’s not just the cast that they hired on the cheap. Scott Spiegel is a very capable director, that much is clear, but he doesn’t display any sort of visual flourish or invention with the tools at his grisly disposal. There’s very little use of his camera here, with static shots the order of the day it would seem. This probably wouldn’t bother most horror fans but along with some flat lighting and cinematography, the lack of a director with a distinct visual style is very apparent. Also, while the kills are sometimes pretty gnarly, I’m looking at you face sliced-off scene, some of the other deaths are a bit tame, like being suffocated by cockroaches. Overall, Hostel: Part III is an interesting, if not largely inventive trilogy closer for the torture porn franchise.

Hostel: Part III (2011) – WTF Happened to This Horror Movie?

Hostel: Part III was released on DVD and VOD on December 27th, 2011 in the US and on January 18th, 2012 in Europe. Over at Rotten Tomatoes, if you like to peruse the stats on that particular site, the movie has an approval rating of 67% based upon only six reviews, most of which are actually quite positive. Being a direct-to-video title there’s little in the way of reviews from the more traditional sources, however, the UK edition of the Independent had some positive words for the movie, saying, “think of an extremely gruesome version of the Hangover. It’s not going to win any Oscars but if you like gore, it’s certainly worth a watch”. The general consensus is that the film, for obvious reasons, didn’t revolutionize horror, or the way you see the torture porn genre. However, it proved that there was just enough left in the franchise to squeeze a part three out that is admittedly low budget and somewhat uninspired, but at least has some fairly decent gore splattered over parts of it.

Overall, the Hostel franchise is a fun, grisly departure from the other sub genres of horror when they were first released. Eli Roth proved that he had a good eye for horror and, for better or worse, depending on your perspective, he led the way for torture porn to become a significant outlet for creators at the time and also for the studios to make a quick buck. Also, Eli Roth has recently confirmed that he intends to return to the world of Hostel, as he believes there’s still much to be discovered in the fucked up shenanigans of the Elite Hunting Club, saying in an interview that, “there’s a lot more to do. I’d love to go back to Hostel at some point. “They’re a part of me,” he continues, “They’re like my children. I feel like I’ve ignored them for too long. And I’d love to go back to them in some way. I have ideas.” When asked if he would direct the movies himself, Roth confirmed, “I would direct it. I don’t want it in anyone else’s hands.”

However, the most important aspect of these retrospectives is what YOUR opinion of the movies we cover is. So, did Hostel: Part III manage to be a fun ride into Sin City for a stag do from hell, or should it have gone straight to the bargain basement bin to rot with other DTV titles? As usual let us know in the comments, and we’ll see you beautiful gore-hounds next time. Thanks for watching!

A couple of the previous episodes of WTF Happened to This Horror Movie? can be seen below. To see more, head over to our JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channel – and subscribe while you’re there!

Source: Arrow in the Head

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