Thursday, August 09, 2007

Hostel: Part II

Anywhere But My Dick!!

Between the first Hostel released last year and its sequel, there have been countless number of torture porn movies released, like Turistas, Captivity, Wolf Creek, and the likes, so much so that audiences these days (or fans of the genre) bay for more blood to be spilled, the gorier the merrier. In that respect, Hostel Part 2 failed to live up to its predecessor's success in sticking to the blood, gore, violence, drug and nudity clauses that have become staple, and instead, opted for a perceived balance with its earlier film, which made it turn out to be a yawn.

Like Kill Bill Vol 1 and 2, Hostel and Hostel 2 are different beasts altogether. The first hostel was a horny excuse told from the male perspective, where a group of buddies go backpacking in Europe in search for ultimate pleasure, only to get sucked into something they had not bargained for. Hostel 2 starts off where the first had left, before we're introduced to a newer group of backpackers, this time from the opposite sex. Beth (Lauren German), Whitney (Bijou Phillips) and Lorna (Heather Matarazzo) are three (eye candy) girls who find their way to the same Hostel thanks to a nude model Axelle (Vera Jordanova), and before you know it, you've come to watch what you've expected.

Except that things start to shift into high gear only about an hour into the movie. Prior to this, writer-director Eli Roth decided to show the audience the perspective of the other side - the lives of the customers in the form of Todd (Richard Burgi) and Stuart (Roger Bart) and their run up before savoring their game, and dwelled a little more on the business aspects of the hostel. What was briefly suggested and shown in the first movie, gets the in-depth treatment that frankly, those who're here to watch blood and gore, couldn't care less about.

Whatever's left in the blood, gore, nudity department gets quite toned down, unlike its predecessor, so despite the similarities in structure, there is less gratuity in those aspects. It becomes a study of sorts of those who have too much money and not know what to do with it, of wanting to do something unique, and getting that "respect" and killer aura. It really took its time before getting into the groove, and to my surprise, it had quite a satisfying feel in its ultimate revenge and how that played out. It also included some fleeting commentary on how the dangerous, perverted ones are almost always the quiet ones, and those whose bark is loud, chances are their bite is nowhere close.

Hostel Part 2 flopped at the US box office, and it's understandable why. Great eye candy doesn't cut it, and recycling a similar structure, with zero enigmatic villains (especially businessmen), doesn't help the cause. The death sequences aren't really innovative (I know I sound sick when I say that), and by not delivering what audiences have come to expect, I guess Hostel should just stick to 2, being bookends of each other, and nothing else.

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