John Reviews Hostel 2

Hostel-2-Poster-2Some call this new genre of filmmaking “Torture Porn”, but I’ve always maintained, that if done and used correctly, torture and gore in horror flicks can be terrific tools in a directors belt in order to give the audience a fun experience. The first Hostel film was an example of that. Saw 3 is an example of it being used totally the wrong way. So now we come to Eli Roth’s Hostel 2.

Hostel 2 has been getting some solid reviews from some very reputable sites that I have a load of respect for, so even though I haven’t been blown away by any of the trailers or footage I’ve seen, I found my expectations and enthusiasm for the film modestly high. So what did I think of Hostel 2? Well… here’s my Hostel 2 review… but I’ll tell you right up front that I thought the film was a waste of time and a HUGE step backwards from the first Hostel film.

THE GOOD

When we’re first introduced to the characters of Stuart and Todd (played by Roger Bart and Richard Burgi respectively. As a side note both these guys also appeared together in the hit TV show Desperate Housewives) I thought they’d be two lame characters. But as the film went on I started to really appreciate the element they brought to the film, and as you get closer and closer to the end of the movie (thankfully), the performances Bart and Burgi give get better and better and better. By the time the credits rolled, you find yourself wishing you could see more of them. The two of them gave nothing short of fantastic performances in a film that had some absolutely BRUTAL ones.

Hostel 2 gives us a little bit of a deeper look into how the “Hostel” works. Who runs it. How do people get connected with it. What’s the deal with the tattoos. It does a pretty decent job of fleshing out the workings of the place, how big it is, and even it’s own sense of “honor”. I enjoyed that aspect of it.

THE BAD

This has to be mentioned first. The performances by the 3 lead actresses in the film, and ALL the supporting cast aside from Bart and Burgi, was absolutely atrocious, laughable and extremely distracting (especially Bijou Phillips). Good grief, even Roth’s cameo appearances in the film were crap. How the hell do you blow a cameo?!?!?! Well… Eli found a way. The performances by the leads made me hate their characters. Part of what makes horror work is when you FEAR for the characters… you identify or empathize with them. With such terrible acting, all I wanted was for these 3 bitches to get knocked off as fast as possible… making the film lose so much of the flavor that the first Hostel had. Shame.

Hostel 2 also pulled a Saw 3. Where the first Hostel had a great mix of gore with tension and sex all thrown in with just a touch of intrigue and mystery… Hostel 2 has nothing left. All it has it gore. Gone is that sense of tension, gone is the eroticism, gone is any sense of intrigue or mystery. The result is that the whole first hour of the film is nothing more than an allegorical waiting room. You’re just waiting for the gore and the torture because you realize that ultimately that’s all this film is going to offer you.

POSSIBLE SPOILER – Hostel 2 totally pulls an Iron Eagle 2. Remember Iron Eagle? The whole first movie is the adventure of this dude fighter pilot who is trying to rescue his dad and survive the mission. Well he makes it. But then comes along Iron Eagle 2, and they kill the dude off in the first 5 minutes of the film. Hostel 2 does the same thing, which now sours a bit of my appreciation for the first film as well. It was totally unneeded.

Damn… even the gore itself was a lot tamer than the stuff that was in the first.

There are just too many other things to mention.

OVERALL

A horror film without any fear or scares. Horrible acting, no sense of tension or mystery and an over reliance on “sight shock” leaves Hostel 2 feeling empty, hollow and nothing but a shell of the first film. A couple of small redeeming qualities such as the job done by Bart and Burgi, the deeper telling of the Hostel mythology itself and a pretty cool penis scene near the end of the flick (you’ll see what I mean) doesn’t come near close enough to save the film. This is a bad film from both a horror, and non-horror fan point of view. Just skip it. On a scale of 1-10, I give Hostel 2 a 3.5.

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