Saturday, 21 July 2007

Hostel: Part II - Dir. Eli Roth (2007)

After Eli Roth's successful 'shock-horror' film 'Hostel', a rolling sequel was inevitable in today's 'franchised' Hollywood, however in 'Hostel 2' all the nastiness and aggression is substituted for out-of-time and disturbingly pathetic 'slapstick comedy-horror' leaving nothing more than a blank canvas splashed with bucket-loads of blood and prosthetic body parts.

Roth's aim with both 'Hostel' and 'Hostel 2' was to push the boundaries of exploitative cinema, however the seemingly one-sided characters and incredibly wooden acting coupled with a repetitive plot and a lingering sense of deja vu that 'didn't I see this film last year and it was called Hostel?'. The sense of deja vu comes from the fact that 'Hostel Part 2' is basically a re-release of 'Part 1', but with three girls (Lauren German, Bijou Phillips, and Heather Matarazzo) as the lead characters as they are in Europe studying art and relaxing. Cue, the trusting, yet deviously psychopathic friend (the beautiful Vera Jordanova) to whisk the girls away to beautiful Slovakia, the gruesome hunting grounds of the cold torturers that await. While the film does intertwine the hunted (Lauren German, Bijou Phillips, and Heather Matarazzo) with the hunters (Richard Burgi, Roger Bart), trying to add a new dimension to the characters and installing a sense of humanity in the soul-less sadists, the little time spent with the characters shows little to the viewer a part from the 'dominator and submissive' approach between the two men.

While Roth's approach to the 'snuff' and 'violent' aspect of the film, most notably the biggest selling point of the 'Hostel' series, I found myself disturbingly...bored, than anything else with Roth trying to force and create shock, which is seen in a seemingly pointless scene which involves the death of a child, the death itself isn't shown, but for a film like Hostel, trying to force viewers to use there imaginations to involve themselves and create an emotional and shocking connection, when the main focal point of the film is to drive home into the retina's the horror, pain and sadist nature of the tortured and torturers. In comparison to many films released this year; e.g. 'Captivity' starring Elisha Cuthbert, the sadomasochistic violence and misogynistic approach compiles and parades nothing new, as 'snuff' or extreme, unbridled violence and suffering is almost mandatory for most 'horror' films wishing to gain an edge above there competitors by exploiting the exploitation of violence. However there was one scene, which would make most men wince, yet that couldn't make up for a lacklustre second effort from Roth.

The rest of the film itself had nothing special about it, a mediocre score added nothing to the suspense or disturbing nature of the film, the 'look' into the 'Hunting Club' itself was short and annoying as it gave little away we already knew and the opening scene itself, seems it was just added by Roth to bump the running time by an extra five minutes. The worst bit of brutality in 'Hostel 2'? The treacherous and severely painful ninety-three minutes running time. Let's just be glad, Eli Roth's agreed not to do a third.

By Jordan