Hostel: Part II (18)
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Time Out says
Tue Jun 26 2007For all its jokey, fanboy indulgences, Eli Roth’s original slaughterhouse satire did achieve a bleak, visceral intensity. In this boring, blood-drenched sequel, three female American backpackers – party girl Whitney (Bijou Phillips), naive nerd Lorna (Heather Matarazzo) and sensible heiress Beth (Lauren German) – are lured to the same Slovakian torture factory, where flesh-ripping power-tools and Countess Báthory-style blood-baths await them. Meanwhile, a mobile phone auction, complete with photos of the potential victims, attracts wealthy clients who are jaded thrill-seeking sadists with an appetite for human flesh – literally so in the case of ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ director Ruggero Deodato’s lip-smacking cameo.
Once again, Roth is torn between two conflicting impulses: a sly subversion of our worst expectations and an adolescent delight in taboo-breaking. So, on the one hand we have an ‘equal opportunities’ policy that admits women-torturers, and on the other we have the callous killing of children. The female victims are less convincingly drawn than their fleshed-out male abusers – boorish braggart Todd (Richard Burgi) and wimpy wife-hater Stuart (Roger Bart) – although neither man conforms to type. Roth constantly emphasises the Elite Club members’ abuse of money and power, and indeed we identify masochistically with the victims’ suffering rather than the torturers’ sadistic pleasure. Yet there is nothing here that intelligently explores, still less justifies, the writer-director’s dubious assertion that ‘everybody has some side of them that wants to control or abuse another person.’ Although this slow, opportunistic sequel is better written and directed than its predecessor, Roth still talks a better film than he makes. He needs to jettison the geeky in-jokes, grow up and move on.
Author: Nigel Floyd
Fri Jun 29, 2007