Hostel: Part II
Hostel: Part II gives new (and quite literal) meaning to a "bloodbath"--but not much else. Don't worry, though. It doesn't mean you won't still walk out of there wanting to perform a castration or two.
Hostel: Part II picks up where the first Hostel left offand then Paxton (Jay Hernandez) wakes up. It's the last nightmare he'll ever (be able to) have. Cut to Rome, where three American girlswealthy Beth (Lauren German), sex-craving Whitney (Bijou Phillips) and naïve, awkward Lorna (Heather Matarazzo)have completed their art class after painting a nude model (Vera Jordanova) and are off to Prague via train. While en route, they bump into that same nude model, who convinces them to change their plans and come with her to an exclusive hot-springs spa in Slovakia. And so their fates are sealed. Once they check in at their hostel with the bellboy, who might as well be Satan's little helper, the bidding begins. All around the world, the well-to-do-but-not-well-meaning vie for a chance at torturing and savagely murdering these fresh American college gals. And the winners are: Stuart (Roger Bart) and Todd (Richard Burgi), two Americans with WAY too much money on their hands. Thus begins the torturingof the audience.
There is an underrated skill in being able to act scared to death for your lifeand in Hostel II's case, whatever prop cutlery was used to poke at the victims' bodies probably made acting spontaneously easier. Most of the cast, however, tends to overdo it here. The lone exception is German (A Walk to Remember), making this by far her biggest acting splash to date as the heroine type. She, more so than the others, is forced to emote rather than just shriek, and she shows ability that reaches beyond horror movies. Phillips (Bully) and Matarazzo (Welcome to the Dollhouse), meanwhile, though disparate character-wise, both over-act: Matarazzo, especially, tries too hard to be gawky, even if it makes for a starker contrast when her character is, well, you know. And grosslypun intendedmiscast is Desperate Housewives actor Bart, who--no matter the volume and amount of F-bombs he drops--isn't game for the uber-depravity that writer-director Eli Roth was going for. In fact, the foreign unknowns outperform their American counterparts quite a bit in this sequel.
First thing's first: If Hostel II managed to snag an R rating, then hardcore porn should be rated G! Now, on to writer-director Eli Roth. To his credit, the horror god possesses a mind sicker than any other contemporary filmmaker, including returning exec-producer/endorser Quentin Tarantino, but that doesn't mean he knows how to tell a story. There's not a whole that goes on between the jaw-dropping scenes of torture the audience has come to half-see, which begs the question: Would Hostel II be anything at all if not for said sadism? In addition, a lack of true story brings to light another potential flaw in the Roth systemhe doesn't frighten us so much as disturb. But therein lies the good as well. If you like to be disturbed, in a strictly I'd-never-do-this-but-maybe-it-happens-somewhere kind of way, Roth is most certainly your man. Of course, if you like to be disturbed by a film in any way, Roth is most certainly your man. He's got a wild and prolific imagination, and when he turns it on, the resulting images are unlike anything you've ever seen or want to see againimpossible to look at or away from. If only he could expend it on the stuff surrounding the imagery.
Hollywood.com rated this film 2 1/2 stars.