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Oh, Eli. What happened? Cabin Fever was a fun horror flick and the
first Hostel had its moments, but this? My excitement over a Roth
helmed Cell has just dropped dramatically.
Opening where the first film left off, things get off to a bad start as
we meet back up with Paxton, with Jay Hernandez phoning in a curiously
wooden performance. The first "scares" are very poorly handled and
After the pointless prologue, we meet our new gender swapped
protagonists. Bijou Phillips's is the obnoxious, one-dimensional slut
who just wants to sleep with Viktor Krum. Heather Matarazzo's Lorna
should have been a good character. Matarazzo is a talented actress, but
here she hams it up too much and Roth piles on the "she's an
introverted nerd!" touches far too heavily. She's sorta the Josh of
Hostel II, only Lorna is a cartoon where as Josh actually seemed like a
guy you could meet in a college algebra class. Lauren Graham turns in a
pretty good performance and Beth is the only one of these females who
actually feels somewhat like a real person.
The new twist on the formula lies in Roger Bart and Richard Burgi's
prospective killers. Here's where Roth could have gotten really dark
and interesting. Everyone who saw the first Hostetl remembers Rick
Hoffman's whacked out, creepy performance as the American Client. Bart
and Burgi's characters could have been used to expand on that
creepiness as well as bring in some genuine interest in Bart's
character's reluctance, amping up the suspense. But no! Instead these
characters are shallow, barely explored personalities and Roth uses
them for some cheap plot contrivances in the third act.
For a horror flick, the movie has surprisingly little scares. Scratch
that, it has no scares. There was not a moment in this movie where I
didn't see the jumps coming and there is little in the way of suspense.
The first Hostel had some genuinely suspenseful moments and Cabin Fever
even had a few "don't do that!" moments. This film has gruesome moments
for sure (that this movie got an R rating is the final nail in the
coffin for the MPAA's credibility. If Shakespeare in Love and Hostel II
share the same rating, something is seriously wrong). The first kill is
undeniably effective in being unnerving, but it lacks suspense, which
is the secret when a film is toeing the line of bad taste. This was
simply inescapable murder on display.
Interestingly, the rest of the gruesomeness that ensues is much
different in tone. Much of the third act has an almost slapstick vibe,
but Roth lacks the grace and timing of splatstick alumni like Sam Raimi
and Peter Jackson to truly pull it off. There is also a completely
superfluous scene involving a man with a gun and some children that
literally served no purpose. Roth was trying so hard to be shocking in
that scene that it had the opposite affect on me: I just stared blankly
at the screen. I couldn't care less about this completely pointless
detour featuring Roth going "look! Aren't I shocking!"
One last complaint and boy is it a big one: Nathan Barr's score. This
movie had one of the worst scores I've heard in years. Barr's music
sounds like something someone would write if they were making fun of
all the clichés of the horror score. That worked for the campy tone of
Cabin Fever, but it completely destroys any opportunity for suspense in
I know Eli Roth has a really good film in him. After Hostel II, I fear
the wait for that movie will be longer than I was expecting. I hope
he's finally scratched that itch for paying homage to his favorite
horror flicks and his shock for shock's sake fetish. If that makes its
way into his adaption of Stephen King's Cell, we'll have lost a great
story ripe for screen translation to a promising young filmmaker whose
head got too big too fast.
Tags for Hostel Part II Full Movie
, Heather Matarazzo
, Lauren German
, Roger Bart
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