×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Hostel: Part II

Gorehound Eli Roth reasserts his position as leader of the "splat pack," an unofficial fraternity of directors dedicated to topping one another's stomach-churning antics, with "Hostel: Part II." His ultra-grisly pics may be an acquired taste, but Roth seems more than happy to feed auds' appetites for hardcore horror, taking three European tourists on a detour through his Slovak killing factory.

With:
Beth - Lauren German Stuart - Roger Bart Lorna - Heather Matarazzo Whitney - Bijou Phillips Todd - Richard Burgi Axelle - Vera Jordanova Sasha - Milan Knazko Miroslav - Stanislav Ianevski

Gorehound Eli Roth reasserts his position as leader of the “splat pack,” an unofficial fraternity of directors dedicated to topping one another’s stomach-churning antics, with “Hostel: Part II.” His ultra-grisly pics may be an acquired taste, but Roth seems more than happy to feed auds’ appetites for hardcore horror, taking three European tourists on a detour through his Slovak killing factory. In this twist-filled sequel, the real shocker is just how smart and satisfying such degradation can be. There’s no question “Part II” outgrosses the original “Hostel” in the blood-and-guts department, and savvy spin should do the same financially.

Roth is no dummy, and he’s learned from the press surrounding the original “Hostel” (or was it the fan-driven messsage boards?) just what auds want. For starters, it’s the ladies who drive horror-movie ticket sales, dragging their male dates along, not the other way around. So in a gesture of equal-opportunity exploitation, Roth switches the gender of his victims and injects a fair amount of full-frontal male nudity.

And where “Hostel” followed three American tourists so abrasive auds wouldn’t really mind seeing them tortured beyond recognition, “Part II’s” central trio come across as reasonably sympathetic. There’s Beth (Lauren German), a trust-fund case so rich she keeps her father on allowance. “She could pretty much buy Slovakia if she wanted to,” explains wild-child Whitney (Bijou Phillips), who rides her friend’s coattails through Europe, flirting with every dangerous stranger she meets along the way.The two girls also invite socially awkward Lorna to join, with actress Heather Matarazzo delivering a performance even more courageously pitiful than the “Welcome to the Dollhouse” turn that launched her career.

All three actresses are horror vets, and pro enough to make auds feel invested in their fates. That said, what makes “Hostel: Part II” so subversive is that Roth shifts the focus to the perpetrators, a network of international businessmen who pay top dollar for the chance to snuff wayward backpackers in whatever fashion they please. Stanley Kubrick would have approved of Roth’s Elite Hunting operation, and the “Hostel” sequel stands as the “Eyes Wide Shut” of horror movies.

Where the original preyed on relatively mundane fears of traveling abroad, “Part II” plunges much deeper, raising horrifying questions about what the average mild-mannered husband might be doing with the family savings.

Instead of concentrating on just one sadist, sequel broadens the network to include the world’s rich and powerful, daring to suggest that, given the motivation and the means, each of us might find some sliver of that murderous impulse within ourselves. There’s some truth to the idea, at least insofar as auds derive any satisfaction from watching these heinous crimes enacted for their entertainment onscreen (the disappointment is palpable when a character obscures one death from view). Roth’s indictment doesn’t extend to everyone, but “Hostel” auds are a pretty self-selecting bunch — given Lionsgate’s unusually graphic advertising campaign, no one stumbles into a movie like this unawares.

Pic shadows two customers in particular, a big-talk tycoon (Richard Burgi) and a browbeaten househusband (Roger Bart), with their own macabre motives for joining the killers’ club. By letting auds’ into their world, “Hostel: Part II” answers the obvious question left open by the original: Who exactly are these people who pay to torture perfect strangers? Pic also introduces Sasha (Milan Knazko), the cold-blooded mastermind who oversees the entire operation, who could emerge as a recurring villain of future sequels.

The gore, it would seem, is almost incidental. A larger budget and strong below-the-line support allow Roth’s imagination to run wild (one ghastly scenario no viewer will soon forget features a sickle-wielding witch who pays to bathe in virgin blood), and makeup masters Gregory Nicotero and Howard Berger have risen to the challenge. As gruesome as their creations can appear, a twisted sense of humor underlies the entire operation, as if sheer outrageousness might offset the effects’ startling realism.

Indeed, the only way to watch is to suspend any literal-minded analysis and appreciate Roth’s Grand Guignol sensibilities on their own level. Could Roth have accomplished the same thing without introducing such patently offensive imagery into the world? Absolutely, but then he wouldn’t have bested the recent efforts of his peers, who keep upping the ante with pics like “High Tension” and “Saw.” Nor would he have involved us so thoroughly in the action that we’re complicit in the pic’s incredibly satisfying climax. There are no innocents here — least of all the audience.

Hostel: Part II

Production: A Lionsgate release, presented with Screen Gems and Quentin Tarantino, of a Next Entertainment/Raw Nerve production. Produced by Mike Fleiss, Eli Roth, Chris Briggs. Executive producers, Boaz Yakin, Scott Spiegel, Tarantino. Co-producers, Daniel Frisch, Philip Waley. Directed, written by Eli Roth, based on characters created by Roth.

Crew: Camera (Deluxe color, widescreen), Milan Chadima; editor, George Folsey Jr.; music, Nathan Barr; production designer, Robb Wilson King; costume designer, Susanna Puisto; sound (DTS/SDDS/Dolby Digital), Tomas Belohradsky; supervising sound editors, Kami Asgar, Sean McCormack, Brian T. Best; visual effects supervisors, Avi Das (Barbed Wire FX),Gary E. Beach (Beach VFX-Prague), Vincent Cirelli (Luma Pictures); special effects supervisor, Martin Pryca; special makeup effects designers, Gregory Nicotero, Howard Berger; stunt coordinator, Pavel Vokoun; associate producers, Gabriel A. Roth, Mark Bakunas, Eythor Gudjonnson; second unit director, Gabriel A. Roth; casting, Kelly Martin Wagner. Reviewed at Lionsgate screening room, Santa Monica, June 6, 2007. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 94 MIN.

With: Beth - Lauren German Stuart - Roger Bart Lorna - Heather Matarazzo Whitney - Bijou Phillips Todd - Richard Burgi Axelle - Vera Jordanova Sasha - Milan Knazko Miroslav - Stanislav Ianevski

More Film

  • Ava DuVernay Toby Emmerich Michael Douglas

    Ava DuVernay, Toby Emmerich, Michael Douglas to Speak at Produced By Conference

    Ava DuVernay, Toby Emmerich, and Michael Douglas will speak at the Producers Guild of America’s 11th Produced By Conference. The event will be held on June 8-9 at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, Calif. Other notable speakers include Netflix executive Cindy Holland; Blumhouse producer Marci Wiseman; “Homecoming” showrunners Micah Bloomberg and Eli Horowitz; Entertainment One [...]

  • Jean Francois Helene Etzi

    Disney's French Chief Jean-Francois Camilleri Exiting, Helene Etzi Upped

    Jean-Francois Camilleri is leaving Disney after more than 30 years and will replaced as the head of its French operation by Helene Etzi. Sources said Camilleri’s departure was his own decision. He announced his exit on Twitter, Tuesday, and paid tribute to his team and colleagues at Disney, thanking them for the “unique adventure.” In [...]

  • dumbo Tim Burton

    Film Review: Tim Burton's 'Dumbo'

    The key image in Walt Disney’s 1941 “Dumbo” is something out of a fairy-tale daydream: Dumbo, the baby elephant with long-lashed goo-goo eyes, a cuddly grin, and ears as long and floppy as wings, flapping those ears to soar around a circus big top, flying over the crowds with a freedom as touching as it [...]

  • Guys and Dolls

    'Guys and Dolls' Getting Remade at TriStar (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Guys and Dolls,” the venerable Broadway musical, is set to return to the big screen. TriStar Pictures has purchased remake rights to the original Damon Runyon short stories about gamblers and gangsters that inspired the shows, as well as the rights to the Broadway musical with its book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows and [...]

  • Captain America: Civil War

    'Black Widow,' 'Little Women,' 'Charlie's Angels' Among Most Tracked Female Directed Projects, IMDb Says (EXCLUSIVE)

    Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women,” Cate Shortland’s “Black Widow,” Patty Jenkins’s “Wonder Woman 2,” and Elizabeth Banks’s “Charlie’s Angles” are among the ten most tracked projects on IMDbPro. Ava DuVernay (“Selma”), Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation”), Chloé Zhao (“The Rider”), and Susanne Bier (“After the Wedding”) rank among the most widely followed female directors on the [...]

  • European Union Placeholder

    European Parliament Gives Final Approval to Controversial Article 13 Copyright Directive

    The European Parliament on Tuesday gave final approval to Article 13, a controversial part of a wider directive that shakes up the rules around copyright in the European Union. The new rules will have ramifications for online platforms, content owners and creators, and the general public. The proposed new framework, now approved, has sparked widespread [...]

  • Fox Disney Layoffs

    Fox Studio Quickly Fades Away as Disney Starts Work on Integration

    In the waning days of 21st Century Fox, there was a run on the searchlight. As Disney neared the completion of its $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox, employees on the Fox lot rushed into the studio’s gift shop to pick up mugs, shot glasses, sweatshirts, hats and T-shirts emblazoned with 20th Century Fox’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content