Directed by Eli Roth
Distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
A couple of years ago Eli Roth’s Hostel took the horror world by storm. It was a mainstream hit that was just nuts enough to remain solid in the ever scrutinizing eye of the horror fan. With Roth’s success also came a surprising amount of hatred within the fan community. People just don’t like the guy, and for the life of me I cannot figure out why. He’s living the dream, man. How can you fault him for that? Any of us would trade places with him at the drop of a hat, and if you say you wouldn’t, then you’re lying to yourself. Still, even though I’m a big fan of Roth’s work, when Hostel Part II was announced, even I felt it was needless. Hostel worked so well because you never knew what was going to happen. No matter how you slice it, a sequel would be too predictable, and that is exactly what happened here.
Things have been switched up a bit for this second entry. Instead of a group of horny guys looking to get laid, this story centers around three young American girls who are attending school in Rome. Upon meeting a new friend, the trio are lured to a hostel where they are kidnapped and sold to the highest bidder for some good old fashioned killing. In a nutshell, that’s it. Or at least that’s all you need to know. There are some twists to the plot here and there, but if you’re paying attention, they each are a bit too telegraphed. That is the main reason why this movie seemed a little less enjoyable than the original.
Let’s get something out of the way right now. As far as sequels go, Hostel Part II is an amazing flick. It’s technically Roth’s most proficient work to date, and it delivers everything that the second installment in a budding franchise should. After seeing it, my initial thoughts of it being “needless” were completely put to rest. I can assure you this movie isn’t anywhere near as bad as some folks make it out to be. While it never tops the original, it does come damned close. There was just something missing. One key ingredient that seemed to be left out of the cauldron.
One thing that we do get is blood by the barrelful, and this unrated version of the film is absolutely gruesome. Spoilers follow so if you haven’t seen the film, you may want to skip the remainder of this paragraph. Heather Matarazzo’s Bathory-like demise is a hell of a lot more violent and bloody. In addition to that, we get some really long looks at what’s left of Todd (Burgi) after the dogs get done with him; and finally, the bulk of the added footage comes in the form of Stuart’s (Bart) castration. The removal of his cock is shown in great detail and followed up with a geyser of blood. In short, what we have here is a darker and more ferocious cut of the film. Good stuff!
After weeding through the supplemental material, I have but one question: How did they fit all of this on one DVD? Holy shit! For starters we have three commentaries. One with Roth flying solo; one with Roth, his brother/producer Gabe, and executive producer Quentin Tarantino; and one with Roth and actors Lauren German, Vera Jordanova and Richard Burgi. All three are a good listen, but the one with Tarantino gets pretty damned tedious as they discuss practically every other foreign film out there known to man. My head still hurts.
From there we have a twenty-six-minute featurette entitled Hostel Part II: The Next Level. Here we get a look at the early development of the movie that includes location scouting, costume fitting, and a closer look at the chiseled physique of associate producer Mark Bakunas(!). Next up we have two, six-minute featurettes — Production Design and The Art of KNB. I don’t think I need to explain what you should expect from them as the titles are pretty much self-explanatory. The final featurette, a twenty-nine-minute look at the Hostel and horror phenomenon called Hostel Part II: A Legacy of Torture nicely puts the cap on all the behind-the-scenes shenanigans you’d expect.
After all that it’s time for ten deleted scenes. Each runs about a minute or so, and all are introduced via a text based explanation of why they weren’t used in the movie. Strangely enough, a “Play All” option is nowhere to be found. This would have made life so much easier. Things are wrapped up with a radio interview with Eli and a three-and-a-half-minute gag reel. Like I said, that’s a lot of shit for one disc, no?
While it may not please everyone, Hostel Part II is a rock solid little flick that piles the grue up high enough to delight even the most jaded of gore-hounds. Roth is here to stay. Deal with it. The man’s got talent, and most of all he has a genuine affection for this genre. Look past the bullshit, and you may actually find yourself becoming a fan too.
4 out of 5
4 1/2 out of 5
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