Friday, October 31, 2014

HOSTEL: PART 2 (2007)

Written & Directed By: Eli Roth 
Cinematography By: Milan Chadima 
Editor: George Folsey Jr. 

Cast: Lauren German, Bijou Phillips, Roger Bart, Heather Matarazzo, Richard Burgi, Jay Hernandez, Jordan Ladd, Vera Jordanova

Three female college students take a detour from their partying, enticed by a beautiful European woman who promises seclusion, safety and maybe even romance. What they get is a living hell where they are sold to the highest bidder who's fondest wish is to kill them slowly. Hostel 2 also follows 2 American men who, on the flip side of the coin, are willing to pay to join an exclusive club where a life will end at their hands...any way they like. It's a story of human monsters and the almighty dollar as only Eli Roth could tell it.

It started off with so much promise. Like an updated HALLOWEEN and HALLOWEEN 2. The film takes place where the first one ends and has a great opening. Then the movie becomes a really second rate retread if the first film. Only this time the male characters are replaced by females. Which then turns the film into an almost typical slasher film. Stuck in the cliches.

Though this time the shots seem more artful then before and have more depth and meaning.

Eli Roth introduces good ideas, but doesn't Follow through with them to a satisfying ending. For instance here we see more of the enjoy the scenes elements of how the orginization works and see he clients who frequent the service. How they are in their day To day lives and how it all goes down from the initial bid. Showing how the business sets it up. Then let's the two businessmen who bid be our eyes and ears. Which means a lot less characterization for the female leads. Though adds another dimension when the two groups meet. Though you would think that by following the two businessmen we would get some insight and characterization into them. Though they like most of the cast come off as either caricatures or display one and a half dimension.

This is a film that adds to the torture porn genre. A shining example of what is wrong with it also. From the unending onslaught that seems more like a certain glee in showcasing dismemberment instead of a sadness or even a matter of factness.

It seems more like an action sequence wanting the audience to get excited and hyped for what is about to go down. Also the death scenes seem less original and thought out. More of an homage to Italian horror film death scenes ad directors. Which just seem flat.

That's a problem with this film and what usually happens with sequels. Even when the original director is involved. Trying to milk, when all the milk is gone. It seems like there were some ideas, but it got lost halfway or liked the ideas got dumbed Down. When this film could have been great of not better then the original.

The ending isn't even enough to save it. It's a good start, but still it's excruciating. Not only the torture scenes, but just watching how low the ball was dropped. Now I believe Eli Roth is a director with talent and promise, but here it seems his mind was elsewhere and that his heart wasn't in the movie in more ways than one. I am still waiting for the masterpiece i feel he has in him.

The film feels similar to the first film though it is creative in it’s own right by letting the audience spend more time with the hunters and see what goes on through their minds as well as exposing us to more of the business side if the business. Showing their loyalty is more to commerce then to any person.

By having the females be the protagonist the film feels more like an 80's slasher where they are more the victims an shown no mercy. Even with it's ending that seems to indicate femanism and female warriors. It feels like it is pandering or it's a minor apology for the majority of damage done.

Eli Roth received some criticism from female Hostel fans over the excessive amount of female nudity in the first movie. Therefore, the first bit of nudity he included in this sequel was a brief shot of a fully naked man.

I will say the look of the film. Is stronger as the shots are more inspired and indulgent. Though they feel like they have more depth and are picturesque. This film feels like it is more inspired by European horror films and directors then the scatter-shot original. During a torture scene, Roger Bart says, "I'm fucking Hercules!" Roger played Young Hercules in the animated Disney movie, HERCULES. Though a bigger production that feels small. it also feels rushed lacking the original films sense of discovery and adventure. This film tries to fill in the holes, but comes off as other films that have tried to copy the original films formula. Leaving the film and certainly it’s tone inspired by more classic European horror films to feel basic, but under the disguise of trying something different. It even seems to lack the energy that the Eli Roth’s films usually have and that he himself usually has personally. Though his obvious appreciation for the genre comes through.

Luc Merenda also came out of retirement to play The Detective. Roth is a huge fan of Merenda's 1970s Italian films such as Torso and Kidnap Syndicate, and asked him to play the role. Merenda called Edwige Fenech and asked her how she enjoyed working with Roth, and her response was so overwhelmingly enthusiastic that Merenda agreed to do it. Now a successful top dealer, Luc Merenda last was seen on the 1992 television show l'Edera, starring Susanna Bequer, who plays The Translator in the scene with Merenda in Hostel: Part II.

Here Mr. Roth Seems to be trying to make a femanist statement of the genre, but comes off a misogynistic with a pro female ending of sorts.

The movie continues two features from the original HOSTEL, all 'clients' who have at least one establishing scene before they arrive at the torture factory end up being killed, and the young men and women who deliberately deliver victims to Elite Hunting are themselves murdered. In the former case, Todd is mauled to death by guard dogs after refusing to murder Whitney; after Stuart does kill Whitney, he is disarmed by Beth and presumably bleeds to death when she becomes a client and castrates/defenestrates him (death also befell the Dutch Surgeon, German client, and American Businessman in the original). In the latter case, Axelle is decapitated by Beth in the final scene; Axelle's fellow recruiters were deliberately run over by either Paxton or the thugs pursuing him (before they were killed by the Bubble Gum Gang) in the final part of the original.

Grade: D

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