MOVIE: Hostel Part II (2007)

Speaking of torture-porn movies (see section on 24), I finally got around to renting this one the other day.  To be honest, I had been wrestling with the idea of watching it for quite some time now.  I thought a number of things in the original film were brilliant (and also confess to a minor crush — okay, okay, MAJOR crush — on director Eli Roth, because the man not only has a twisted-genius sort of brain, but also a very adorable sort of smile), but at the same time, I also confess I’m not really much into the whole torture-movie thing.  I’m fine with movies about serial killers and chainsaws, but movies featuring. . . well, all the stuff featured in the original Hostel and the three Saw movies I’ve seen (and no, I can’t believe I rented the third one either) . . . I’m not sure, but it’s possible it makes me uncomfortable because it’s just too believable.  The idea of people paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to pull other people’s fingernails out one by one?  I can actually see that happening, and that gives me the extreme willies. 

Which, I suppose, is one reason why the original Hostel did so well in theaters. 

In any case, I recently read a few more reviews of Hostel Part II that intrigued me.  And I finally caved.

What’s funny is that not fifteen minutes into watching this sequel, I was jotting down notes about the rant I was going to write when it was over:  of how I’m so sick of horror movies in which the women are all stupid victims, and when, WHEN, is some writer/director finally going to have his psycho-protagonist make the mistake of trying to victimize the WRONG GIRL?  I was hellaciously disappointed that Eli, genius that he appears to be, hadn’t thought of this twist himself yet.  Seriously?!  I’m the only one who’s thought of this?  Holy Mary Mother of Pete, am I going to have to start writing horror movie scripts now too? 

Luckily, about an hour into this movie, I found myself crumpling up my paper with a chuckle, and my affection for Eli Roth was renewed anew.  But that’s all I’ll say about that so as not to spoil too much of the plot.

My problem with this film, ironically, was that I ended up feeling the final act was over way, way too soon (well, and also that the very, very last scene was just extraneous and stupid, but whatever).  There wasn’t enough balance, I felt, between what was happening in the beginning, and what happened at the end, leading me to wonder if maybe Roth was a LITTLE uncomfortable about his radical twist there in the finale, and didn’t want to get too carried away with it, lest it offend or upset too many people (though, I also have a hard time imagining him worrying about offending people, I’ll confess. . .).  I know this isn’t making a lot of sense, even if you’ve seen the movie, but I don’t want to give away too much about the variety of twists in the last third of this film (and please don’t give it away yourself if you post in comments, okay?). 

So, instead, I’ll leave it at this:  I think the final third of this film should’ve been the final HALF instead.  The first 2/3rds was too long and repetitive;  I would’ve liked to have seen the last twenty minutes developed more.

In any case, I definitely am of the opinion that Eli Roth is a very, very interesting writer and director.  It’s been fun watching his movies develop over the years, and while I think he’s still a couple of films away from genius, I have faith that he’s going to get there eventually.  He’s still a LITTLE overly excitable about his own potential, which I think gets in his way sometimes (like, at the end of this film, for example).  That said, you can’t watch Cabin Fever, Hostel, and then Hostel II, and not see the progression in terms of how his brain is working.  If you’re a fan of the horror genre, in other words, you may want to start keeping a closer eye on Mr. Eli. 

Hey, that rhymes!

[Netflix me | Buy me]

Genre: Horror
Cast: Jay Hernandez, Bijou Phillips, Jordan Ladd, Richard Burgi, Roger Bart (hello, little Desperate Housewives reunion!)

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3 Responses to “MOVIE: Hostel Part II (2007)”

  1. Trip Says:

    Uhhh…Meg? They already did a series of films about a monstrous threat terrorizing the wrong chick…it’s called Alien. Sigourney was scared, but when push came to shove, she did not hesitate to throw down against the queen-mother-monster figure – even wearing a construction-themed exoskeleton to boot. Bad ASS!

    Also, in the second movie, the only human to survive a weeks-long siege was the 12 year old girl, Newt. (OK, now I have some more items to place in my paltry Netflix queue.)

    I agree, though…there needs to be more ass-kicking women in horror movies. Maybe it’s the left-leaning, non-strong-women-fearing straight male part of me talking, but nothing is hotter than a girl who can send some silly-ass serial killer through plate glass via a well-timed roundhouse kick.

  2. megwood Says:

    That’s not the genre I was thinking about, though, Trip. I think you’re much more likely to see strong women in sci-fi movies, especially if the Big Bad is something much bigger and stronger than humans. That evens the playing field for the rest of the characters — the women aren’t strong enough to kick the alien’s ass, and neither are the men, so it comes down to outsmarting them (which is what Sigourney does in all the Alien movies — even the physical combat scenes in those movies are more about her using her brain than her brawn.).

    It’s horror movies where you just don’t see that same sort of thing happen very often. And in some ways, the reason why is obvious — in the real world, men are far more likely to be murderers and serial killers than women, and women are more likely to be victims of violent attacks than men. So, since a lot of horror movies are about sadistic, sociopathic humans, it makes sense that most of the time, the bad guys are men and the victims are women. It’s closer to reality, and therefore perhaps more scary.

    Nevertheless, it’s very satisfying when movies like “Scream” come out, finally featuring a woman who is on the verge of being a victim and, at the last minute, engages her brain and turns the whole thing around. Then again, “Scream” was satire, so I’m not sure it really counts. . . Mostly, I’d just appreciate it if, periodically, horror movies would throw in a few more smart chicks, even if they ultimately end up getting their heads lopped up just like their dumber counterparts. Though, I suppose there aren’t many of us intelligent girls who would make the kind of mistakes it takes to get sucked into horror movie-type situations to begin with (Ladies, if your car dies in the middle of nowhere and your phone doesn’t work, do not agree to get in the weird guy’s pick-up truck and follow him back to his farm so you can call for help!).

    I just saw the first two Alien movies again recently — brilliant. One of the few series where I think the sequel was better than the original, though that might be partly due to my massive crush on Michael Biehn.

  3. Dawn Says:

    Meg, I, too, was hesitant to see Hostel II. I’m a superfan of horror movies, but in that genre, torture porn is my least favorite. While I really liked Hostel, it did make me squirm. So I wasn’t sure that I wanted to see another hour and a half of dangling blow-torched eyeballs and whatnot. Rambling aside, I thought Hostel II was actually much better. It was less on the gore and more on the whys and wherefores, to me. And I absolutely loved the Elizabeth Bathory-esque scene.

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