Written by: Big Ross, CC2K Staff Writer
Eli Roth has made a name for himself within the genre of “exploitation horror” with films like Cabin Fever, and especially Hostel. This weekend sees the release of his most recent film, Hostel Part II. Disclaimer: I have never seen Hostel, and I don’t consider myself a fan of horror movies, exploitative or otherwise. Also, take note that there are spoilers ahead! That said, Hostel Part II (HPII, hereafter) doesn’t necessarily require seeing the first film to understand the second. It begins with an introduction to Paxton, one of the kids from Hostel and the sole survivor of that movie. He hasn’t been sleeping well since his ordeal and is on the run with his girlfriend, but it seems nowhere is safe from the ill-defined organization of “recreational killers” and those who provide them victims. He comes to a rather quick and grisly end, and it seems to me that this part of the film is similar in purpose to that of bringing Sarah Michelle Gellar back in The Grudge 2, namely to connect the second to the first, but not really add anything substantial to the sequel.
Abruptly the film transitions to a group of three girls backpacking across Europe. They begin in Rome, then travel to Prague but are convinced to detour to a spa in Slovakia by a woman who seemingly befriends them (but has ulterior motives). Where will they stay? Why, a hostel, of course. Along the way we learn a bit about them. Beth is the “tough girl”. Whitney is her good friend and is the “party girl”. Lorna is the “shy girl” and seems to be tolerated by the other two. We watch as people around the world bid on each of the girls, and even get to know two men who are friends and “win” bids on two of them. The rest of the film splits between detailing each of the girl’s capture and demise, and the two men (we’ll call them “Joe” & “Bob” because I didn’t pay attention to their names) as they prepare for their first kills. “Joe” is incredibly excited by the prospect, but “Bob” isn’t so sure, and as the film progresses we see him display increasing apprehension about what they are going to do.
As you would expect each of the girls is taken, and as you might also expect by the end only one of them survives. There are two twists near the end of the film, one involving “Joe” and “Bob”. I won’t spell it out, but it’s a bit of role reversal for these two and it’s mildly surprising. The other involves the one girl that survives and how she makes her escape, though it is overtly foreshadowed and so is also not that startling. If you’re looking for scares, you may be disappointed because HPII isn't very scary. If you like gore, and I guess plenty of people do, you may also be disappointed because it seemed fairly light on gore to me (though I’m really not the best judge). There was a memorable scene that seemed an homage to the legend of Hungarian Countess Erzebet Bathory (go wiki it if you’re clueless). And there was another scene that will be particularly memorable to guys. Let me put it this way, I haven’t been that uncomfortable watching a movie since the “itch scratching” scene in Casino Royale. You know what I’m talking about.
I can’t say I found HPII very enjoyable, but coming into it I knew this wasn’t a film I was especially interested in. I don’t like horror movies all that much, but if you do you’ll probably enjoy your stay.