Presented by Quentin Tarantino (Hostel, Kill Bill, Vol. 1 & 2) and written and directed by Eli Roth (Hostel, Cabin Fever), Hostel Part II is the shocking and gruesome sequel of the underground torture ring where rich businessmen pay to torture and murder their victims. It’s more of the same, really, but with a bit of a twist. We get to see things from a different perspective here, which not only adds a new layer to Hostel Part II, but actually makes it better than the original.
The second installment to this terrifying franchise centers around three young American women (Lauren German, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) (Bijou Phillips, Bully), and (Heather Matarazzo, Welcome to the Dollhouse) who are studying in Rome. During their studies, a gorgeous, sophisticated European acquaintance invites the trio to join her for a weekend getaway at an exotic natural spa, assuring them they will be able to relax, rejuvenate and bond. The girls find themselves in Slovakia and check into the ill-fated Hostel, where they are poised to become victims for auction, pawns in the fantasies of the sick and privileged from around the world who secretly travel there to savor more grisly pursuits. As things unravel, can the trio get it together and survive?
Now, let me get this out of the way. I hated the first Hostel. I thought it was a tasteless mix of pornography and torture. The first half of that movie was unbearable and just stalled. While all the guys were hooking up and girls were bouncing around topless, it just seemed excessive and boring. And then, when the torture aspect kicked in, it seemed so overdone. The ending, on top of that, was laugh-out-loud ridiculous. It was a bad movie, through and through. And, for some unknown reason, I opted to venture in for a second time. But, I have to say, I was really, really surprised by this sequel. It was good. Now, not great or anything, but passably good.
Now, we still have a fair amount of torture scenes, which seems to be a big pull for some of the audience (I don’t know why, myself), but Roth actually shows what happens before all of this. He shows us who gets selected to be a victim and how the rich men pick their prey. It’s actually pretty interesting, and it caught me by surprise. This makes the build up toward the second half all the more intense. As our three main stars arrive at the Hostel, things being to unravel for them and, eventually, they all end up in rather lethal situations.
But, before all that, a short epilogue from the original movie plays out. We follow the main character from the last movie, played by Jay Hernandez, now on the run. He’s been living “off the grid” and keeping a low profile. Of course, that doesn’t last long and he manages to lose his head in the process (yes, that is a horrible pun which will be even more groan-worthy once you see the movie).
We then skip to Rome to meet the newest victims and the movie unfolds from there. And, save for the revealing look at how the Hostel operated, it’s pretty standard fare. However, some tension does come from the fact that we know what’s coming, and it can’t be avoided. Smart move on Roth’s part. Though, I will add, and this is for the guys, the climax will definitely leave you squirming and quite possibly traumatized. It’s graphic, a bit freaky, and really messed up. Yet, at the same time, sort of funny. Aside from the climax, it seems to be less gory than the original. There’s graphic moments to be sure (one scene which involves a poor girl and a scythe is difficult to watch), but it seems toned down from the original. Blood and gore, yes, but less torture, it seems. But, like I said, it’s not as bad as reviews stated and it’s a vast improvement over the mind-numbingly horrible original.
And what of the extras? Extras include an Eli Roth commentary, a second commentary with Gabriel Roth and Quentin Tarantino, and a third commentary with Eli Roth, Lauren German, Richard Burgi and Vera Jordanova. Completing the package is a “Hostel Part II: The Next Level” behind the scenes featurette, a “The Art of KNB Effects” featurette, another featurette on set design, an International Television Special, a Blood and Guts montage, deleted scenes, Elvis Mitchell of “The Treatment” Interview with Eli Roth, and Factory Torture Cams. Rounding out the collection is a wide assortment of trailers for other Sony products. A pretty well-rounded pack of extras, all things considering.
This film is not a retread of the original Hostel, and for that, I’m thankful. For horror enthusiasts, Hostel, Part II: Unrated Director’s Cut is a good film that’s at least worth a Rental, but fans of the original movie may want to just plunk down the cash for a copy to call their own right away. Those who disliked the original? Enter at your own risk. This is far better than the original, no doubt about it, adding some actual substance to the blood and gore found within. Sony has added on some nice extras to round out the package and the audio and video seem to be pretty excellent for a standard DVD release. Hostel, Part II: Unrated Director’s Cut is by no means a work of art, but, if you’re into horror and gore, it should make for a good night of entertainment.
Hostel, Part II: Unrated Director’s Cut is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray.