Tuesday, July 3, 2007
HOSTEL: PART II (2007) - Eli Roth
The phrase 'torture porn' is fast becoming one of the buzz phrases in the movie industry. The movie Saw was the first of this type of sub-genre horror movies to be labeled with this term, and since it's release, a whole slew of similar movies have arrived in the cinema. Some people claim that these films offer nothing but something for gore fans to get all warm and gooey inside about. It is claimed the fans 'get off' on seeing people tortured and murdered in all manner of inventive ways. To be honest, I don't think this really happens. 'Torture porn' really has no bearing on me what so ever. It doesn't bug me at all. What DOES bug me however, are badly written, dull as dishwater, juvenile films that make me want to tear out my eyes in sheer boredom. And Eli Roth's Hostel: Part Two is a prime example of this type of movie.
The plot, if that's what you can call it, sees three American cliches back-packing across Europe. Where as Hostel was all about the boys, the sequel is reserved for the ladies. We have the bitchy, mean slutty type. The boring, diary-loving nerdy type, and the sensible girl who just screams out 'protagonist' at us. Honestly, anyone who has even a scant knowledge of storytelling is going to predict who's going to buy it and who's going to survive, so I'm ruining nothing. The girls start off in Italy in a life-drawing class, for some reason, where the model (who's tits we've just seen, but hey, that's a horror movie standard, so that isn't a complaint) shows an interest in the drawings done by Beth (sensible girl). The girls board a train, only to find the model on the train too. She invites the girls to a spa in Slovakia, and the girls agree to go. There, they are secretly auctioned off to two American guys, and some randomer who turns up for one death scene. We see the American guys (one gung-ho, one not so sure, just to keep the cliches going) arrive in Slovakia and gear up for their torture-murder experience. And so begins the blood-letting.
Okay, I will admit, I have, in the past, sat through and enjoyed my fair share of splatter-fest movies. I've witnessed the infamous splinter to the eye scene of Zombie Flesh Eaters (or plain old Zombie 2 to the Yanks!). I've seen Cannibal Holocaust (which did in fact, make me squirm quite a bit). So when it comes to a bit of gore, I'm no new-comer. Blood, guts, brains, whatever, bring em on. And Hostel: Part II does indeed have blood in it. But other than that, there's nothing here. Director Eli Roth has a bigger budget to play around with in this movie. Everything is shot with a very slick sheen. However, the film is just dreadfully dull. There is absolutely no tension whatsoever throughout the film. Honestly, I've felt more tension waiting for a bus. Nothing seems to happen for ages, and then when we get to the guts (pun intended) of the film, it ends. It's almost as if the last third of the script was accidentally deleted from Roth's script, but they went ahead and filmed anyway. And to be honest, when it comes to the blood-letting, apart from one completely ridiculous, pointless, and over the top scene, there's not going to be much here for the gore-hound. I really was expecting more.
What's going on with the horror genre? It's a genre that can deliver some of the most visceral and exciting cinematic experiences in the medium. Yet this is what we're offered? There is nothing scary or even interesting about these types of films. Even if it truly is the filmmakers' intention to make the viewer squirm, there's more uncomfortable viewing on the Discovery Channel. I will admit, there are a few modern horror films worth a damn. Greg Mclean's Wolf Creek was a very successful film in that it was very, very uncomfortable viewing. But Hostel: Part II just doesn't even come close.
If you're looking for a really uncomfortable, blood and guts type film to make you nauseous, go rent something by Umberto Lenzi or Lucio Fulci. Seriously, get your hands on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (NOT THE REMAKE, THE 1974 ORIGINAL) and see what real tension is. Otherwise, avoid Hostel: Part II. It's just a boring, juvenile, irritating waste of time.