It looks like Eli Roth’s Hostel II is going to be a hell of a ride — one of those rare slasher-sequels that surpasses the original. There aren’t many slasher films I approve to begin with, but as a horror-buff I do enjoy the few which succeed in disturbing me profoundly, in original ways, and demand at least some intelligence. The first Hostel was pretty good. It told a story of three backpackers (two Americans, one Icelander) who stay at a hostel in Slovakia only to be abducted and sent off to a factory where they’re cruelly tortured and killed. It turns out the hostel-factory arrangement is a lucrative business catering to rich people who travel from across the globe to live out their sadistic fantasies. The really scary thing is that something like this may go on in Thailand — underground operations where one can pay large sums of money to kill people — even allowing for an urban-legend factor. Roth says this was the source of inspiration for his movies.
Here are some praises for Hostel II.
“Eli Roth manages to deliver a sequel that is more than just a rehash of the first film with women in the leads instead of men. It is a better film overall with a more interesting plot, better writing, better acting… Go see Hostel II in support of a young hardworking filmmaker that fights for the integrity of his product, see it so more horror films of this caliber can be made, and mostly see it because it’s a standout film amid lackluster peers.”
“Roth has actually improved upon the first Hostel film, delivering more gore, but more importantly delivering a more streamlined, and dare I say, mature spin on the slasher genre. He joins the ranks of George Miller and Sam Raimi as a wild genre director who takes his initial concept and builds upon it, giving us more refined bits of the first film, but put through a meat grinder and made a bit more palpable. Hostel was ground chuck, Hostel: Part II is top sirloin.”
“Hostel Part II is not only a great horror film it is a great sequel to a horror film… Roth’s characters are rarely just stick figures. They are fully realized characters, and as he must realize, that makes the horror even more exhausting… Once you get past the finger gnawing suspense, you have to sit back and be impressed with Roth’s sheer cleverness. Again and again he writes himself out of a corner. He has created this little world, sets himself problems in it, and like a screenwriting Buster Keaton, manages to work out a fully satisfying and clever escape.”
Andrew Urban describes particularly chilling scenes:
“The escalation of the horrors comes in a handful of strong scenes, including one in which a female client takes a blood bath. The blood isn’t hers; it is supplied via a sadistic routine involving one of the victims, who hangs naked, upside down, above the special bath. But at least the room is candle lit — and that’s because the client is getting her rocks off on this ritual. This is inventive, but will be sure to fire indignation for its sheer thrill seeker stunt status in the film. Other special moments include an accident with a mini chain saw, a cannibalistic scene with a live ‘meal’ and another involves dogs making a meal out of a customer. But the location is all very picturesque: Cesky Krumlov is a fabulously quaint World Heritage village outside Prague.”
How nice. Maybe I’ll review the film after I see it this Friday. But I’ll probably leave details like this to your imagination.