Hostel Part II (2007)

(In French, On Cable TV, June 2018) Yuck. I mean, that’s what the filmmakers were after, right? When you make a movie about people being tortured for fun (for the torturer’s fun, not the victims), you’re aiming both for appreciation from gore-hound horror fans (of which I am not) and for condemnation from mainstream audiences, further reinforcing the appreciation from the fans. Hostel II picks up soon after the original Hostel, not forgetting to kill off the first film’s protagonist before getting down to business with three new victims. Despite writer/director Eli Roth’s avowed aim to squick the mundanes, it’s all very familiar and dull for much of the film. It really does itself no favour by horribly killing off Heather Matarazzo’s likable character—thus forever earning antipathy from the audience. If they hadn’t done that, I may have had a better appreciation for the film’s third-act twists and turns: the changing power dynamics between the two would-be torturers, or the way the final girl outwits the system through money and merciless violence. (Those who claim that Hostel II has deeper thematic value may not be wrong, but they’re clinging to intellectual scraps left by a filmmaker far more interested in the sight of exposed viscera.)  All I’m left with is the basic yuck and the certitude that I don’t need to see Hostel II ever again.

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