Hostel 2 helped fuel more critical controversy and worldwide examination into what is in fact considered entertainment as well as giving another target for the collective that likes to throw around the term: “torture porn.” However, perhaps that was the intention behind it all along, and the attention is what made the sequel possible.
Hostel 2 is directed by Hostel and Cabin Fever, honorary member of the Splat-Pack: Eli Roth. It stars Lauren German, Roger Bart, Heather Matarazzo, Bijou Phillips, Vera Jordanova, and Richard Burgi. Also the star of the first film, Jay Hernandez, makes a short appearance. This time the story follows three girls who are lured into a place where business men pay to commit murder.
Nothing interesting happens for the first 45 minutes or more of this film. The opening has a bit of an incident, but then it dies from there. The first Hostel took a while to get to the grittier action too, however, it’s opening formula was more of a boobs party, which appealed to a select audience. The first film also had a more quirky and fun atmosphere to it overall. Hostel 2 takes on a more dark, and serious look. It is almost as if perhaps Roth is answering critics of the first film and toning down the entertainment value, per-say.
The murder scenes are as intense as ever, this time the first girl to meet her demise does so in an elaborately dark fashion. It ends up being the equivalent of watching several of those real life beheading videos on the internet; that is the way it made me feel. However, it is also, more or less the only murder scene elaborated upon. The first Hostel had us witnessing more atrocities at close range, whereas Hostel 2 does not take as much time showing us the over-done gore. Yes, there is lots of gore, I am just saying it is seemingly different from the first time; explicit, and yet one murder scenario actually cops out and doesn’t choose to show the kill exactly. Of course there are the brief peeks into other rooms in the facility where the murders are carried out. The room with the cannibal isn’t exactly pretty. Gore hounds may clamor for more, or one may choose to say this is an artistic move on Roth’s part to actually try to add more substance, especially via the relationship between the two business men. I’m not saying this film is more tame, I am just saying the first film: everyone remembers the blowtorch and eyeball thing as well as several other painful moments. Hostel 2 doesn’t have scenes that I feel stand out like that, even though it is quite brutal in its own right.
The interesting aspect to the story this time is that the viewer gets to follow two of the men paying to murder the girls, as opposed to just mainly following the victims. However, it all ultimately leads to a plot twist that for many will be predictable, enjoyable in a way, but predictable. Gone is the overall spirit of the first film that surprised me into liking it. This one was not fun. The very ending does capture the same playful comedy as the first film, however, it is one moment in a collection of overall seriousness.
The lead actresses aren’t all that interesting beyond any other film performances by people in horror or stereotypes. Lauren German does however remind me of Milla Jovovich in facial expression and voice later in the film.
Overall, I am not going to say this was a horrible film, it just ends up being mediocre. The first film was more tongue -in-cheek fun and this one seems to embrace more of the social commentary aspect which Roth talks about in interviews while defending against critics. If ever there is a Hostel 3 it needs to be non-stop action, Hostel 2 let the spirit of entertainment wane.