Following Jigsaw's grisly demise, Mark Hoffman is commended as a hero, but Agent Strahm is suspicious, and delves into Hoffman's past. Meanwhile, another group of people are put through a series of gruesome tests.
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. Written by
Paul Nomad of Dreadcentral.com
After the girls check into the Hostel, the clerk takes their passports, and e-mails the details to various bidders. However, the pictures all show the girls smiling; standard passport rules do not allow smiling or other facial expressions. See more »
Italian Police Officer:
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At the very end of the credits, the Bubblegum Gang Leader can be heard saying "Bitches!" one last time. See more »
Oh, Eli. What happened? Cabin Fever was a fun horror flick and the first Hostel had its moments, but this? My excitement over a Roth helmed Cell has just dropped dramatically.
Opening where the first film left off, things get off to a bad start as we meet back up with Paxton, with Jay Hernandez phoning in a curiously wooden performance. The first "scares" are very poorly handled and obvious.
After the pointless prologue, we meet our new gender swapped protagonists. Bijou Phillips's is the obnoxious, one-dimensional slut who just wants to sleep with Viktor Krum. Heather Matarazzo's Lorna should have been a good character. Matarazzo is a talented actress, but here she hams it up too much and Roth piles on the "she's an introverted nerd!" touches far too heavily. She's sorta the Josh of Hostel II, only Lorna is a cartoon where as Josh actually seemed like a guy you could meet in a college algebra class. Lauren Graham turns in a pretty good performance and Beth is the only one of these females who actually feels somewhat like a real person.
The new twist on the formula lies in Roger Bart and Richard Burgi's prospective killers. Here's where Roth could have gotten really dark and interesting. Everyone who saw the first Hostetl remembers Rick Hoffman's whacked out, creepy performance as the American Client. Bart and Burgi's characters could have been used to expand on that creepiness as well as bring in some genuine interest in Bart's character's reluctance, amping up the suspense. But no! Instead these characters are shallow, barely explored personalities and Roth uses them for some cheap plot contrivances in the third act.
For a horror flick, the movie has surprisingly little scares. Scratch that, it has no scares. There was not a moment in this movie where I didn't see the jumps coming and there is little in the way of suspense. The first Hostel had some genuinely suspenseful moments and Cabin Fever even had a few "don't do that!" moments. This film has gruesome moments for sure (that this movie got an R rating is the final nail in the coffin for the MPAA's credibility. If Shakespeare in Love and Hostel II share the same rating, something is seriously wrong). The first kill is undeniably effective in being unnerving, but it lacks suspense, which is the secret when a film is toeing the line of bad taste. This was simply inescapable murder on display.
Interestingly, the rest of the gruesomeness that ensues is much different in tone. Much of the third act has an almost slapstick vibe, but Roth lacks the grace and timing of splatstick alumni like Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson to truly pull it off. There is also a completely superfluous scene involving a man with a gun and some children that literally served no purpose. Roth was trying so hard to be shocking in that scene that it had the opposite affect on me: I just stared blankly at the screen. I couldn't care less about this completely pointless detour featuring Roth going "look! Aren't I shocking!"
One last complaint and boy is it a big one: Nathan Barr's score. This movie had one of the worst scores I've heard in years. Barr's music sounds like something someone would write if they were making fun of all the clichés of the horror score. That worked for the campy tone of Cabin Fever, but it completely destroys any opportunity for suspense in this film.
I know Eli Roth has a really good film in him. After Hostel II, I fear the wait for that movie will be longer than I was expecting. I hope he's finally scratched that itch for paying homage to his favorite horror flicks and his shock for shock's sake fetish. If that makes its way into his adaption of Stephen King's Cell, we'll have lost a great story ripe for screen translation to a promising young filmmaker whose head got too big too fast.
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