Friday, June 29, 2007

HOSTEL PART 2 is NOT a horror movie, okay?!

HOSTEL PART 2 is not a horror movie. Objectively speaking, it's primary concern is satire not horror. Subjectively, (and bear in mind my wuss-like nature) I was not scared once in the whole 90 minutes.

It opens with a little prologue featuring Jay Hernandez as Paxton - the survivor from the original HOSTEL movie. The prologue ends with a tableau that is not scary but stylised. We then move to Italy where our three unwitting American girls (Bijou Phillips, Heather Matazarro, Lauren German) are about to be lured to a Slovakian torture factory by a hot chick. It's the same MO as in the first flick. To parochial American eyes, Eastern Europe must indeed seem exotic and un-nerving. But for heaven's sake, these countries are in the EU now, if not the Euro-zone. I simply can't take them seriously as spoooooooooooky Transylvanian settings.

It takes us an hour to get to the first death and it's not scary at all - just lame. Writer-director Eli Roth clearly wants to make some big point about how women can be torturing-murderers as well as men, but the scene just comes off as sleazy. The second and third deaths aren't even shown on screen - rather we see before and after - and frankly neither are that gruesome. And as for the final torture scene, it's just crudely funny - like a fart joke. If anyone tells you this is scary, bear in mind that the nasty evil villains are two bit-part characters from Desperate Housewives. We aren't dealing with Freddie here.

So, this movie is not horrific. After all, as I said in my review of the first HOSTEL flick, it's hard to be scared when the people menacing you are rational human beings who can be bought off. (And call me an arrogant capitalist bastard but I live my life in the certain knowledge that however evil you are, my daddy can buy you off.) That point is made to the n'th degree in this film - resulting in a horror movie that sort of implodes on itself. If you can pay to torture and murder someone, then you can also pay for safety. And that, my friends, is why Breitling make a fortune selling
Emergency watches.

At best, this is a weak satire on capitalism and consumer society. At worst, it's a waste of time. The original
HOSTEL was eons better. There's nothing in the sequel to remotely compare to Rick Hoffman's genius cameo. So, if you want to be genuinely freaked out at the cinema this week-end, check out SHUTTER instead.

HOSTEL PART TWO is on release in Argentina, Australia, Slovakia, Estonia, Iceland, Russia, the US, Germany, Colombia, Latvia, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Poland, Belgium and the UK. It opens in Greece, Israel, Serbia, France and Finland in July. It opens in Singapore on August 9th and in Brazil on August 24th.

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