*** ½ Out of 5
Release Date- June 8th, 2007
Running Time- 93-Minutes
Writer/Director- Eli Roth
Starring- Lauren German, Roger Bart, Heather Matarazzo, Bijou Phillips, Richard Burgi, Vera Jordanova with Jordan Ladd and Jay Hernandez
The horror genre is known for having sequel after sequel and while most aren’t needed, some work better than others and in the case of Hostel: Part II its a little bit of both. While Hostel: Part II follows the same basic structure of the original it doesn’t exactly rehash the original, but it also doesn’t do anything all that different either. This came out about a year and a half after the theatrical release for the original and Hostel: Part II does seem a bit rushed. Hostel: Part II is a solid film, but its also quite frustrating as there was potential here for a lot more, but it just wasn’t fully realized even if by the end its an effective enough film. I think my favorite aspect of the film are the homages to such films as Torso, Night Train Murders and Pieces. Than of course there were the cameos from Ruggero Deodato the director of the infamous Cannibal Holocaust and Deodato plays a cannibal no less also appearing is Luc Merenda of Torso and than there’s the brief appearance from the queen of 70s Italian cinema Edwige Fenech.
Three female American college students are abducted by Elite Hunting and sold to the highest bidder where they will be tortured and killed.
The screenplay by Eli Roth follows the basic structure of the original, but this time we also learn more about Elite Hunting and this is where the script is at its best as it offers a departure from the original. The characters are fairly strong, but perhaps a little cliched, which in someways does hinder the script, but doesn’t really hurt it either. I suppose Roth’ s writing style isn’t for everyone, but I find his characters in all his films to be realistic and that to me is his biggest strength and that also makes up for the characters being a little more cliched here. As mentioned this film gets more into Elite Hunting as we follow the potential victims as well as two men paying to do these terrible things to them. This subplot does offer a little something different than the first film and gives Hostel II a little more originality. The script is fairly solid, but I also feel it might have used a little bit more polishing.
As director Roth delivers a solid film and from a technical side I’d say Hostel II is the better film, but while the potential was here for it to be the better of the two Hostel films it does fall just a notch short. The biggest issue with the film is the pace at times can be a bit sluggish such as the party in the village that goes on a bit longer than it needed to and while I understand what Roth was going for I’m not sure the scene needed to be as long as it was since it clocks in at around 12-minutes. Outside of that Hostel II is generally well paced, but with a little bit of editing I think the film would have turned out even better. The only other issue is Hostel II follows the structure of the original a little too much at times, but as stated it isn’t exactly a rehash either. Despite its reputation for sex and violence there really wasn’t anymore in Hostel than your average R-rated film so why did critics and viewers target Hostel? I don’t have an answer for the question outside, but regardless I’m sure Eli Roth didn’t mind since it helped get more attention for his film. Hostel: Part II tones down the sexuality a bit, but the violence is a little bit more graphic this time. In the original film the first half is played light and fun, but what some people miss out on is there’s also something sinister lurking underneath. Once the action kicks in however, Roth builds up a dark and sinister tone with no comedy. Hostel II starts off much the same, but the film also has this wicked sense of humor in the 2nd half. While Roth also creates a dark tone in the 2nd half, but it also again has a wicked sense of humor, which helps give the 2nd half its own identity rather than be like the original around and I can’t help but feel that was Roth’s way of sort of sticking it to the detractors who complained about the violence and gore level in the original.
Overall Hostel: Part II while not as good as the original is very much on par with it though. As mentioned the production does feel a little rushed and I think with a little more time it could have turned out better than the original, but regardless the film still plays out well and I love the dark humor Roth uses in this one. Like the original film this isn’t for everybody, but I enjoyed this one and also like the original has more to offer than some people might realize.