Advertisements

Hostel: Parts I, II & III

hostel

This is a trilogy of movies I should have reviewed by now. Well, better late than never I guess, and since my Wrong Turn I – IV collection of reviews is one of my most read pieces, I thought I would review the Hostel franchise in one big post. I hope you enjoy it!

To dismiss the Hostel movies as thoughtless “torture porn” doesn’t do justice to the sophistication behind them, even if that sophistication is undermined on occasion by dumb juvenilia. Sure, there is lots of profanity, nudity, sexual activity, abundant graphic violence, torture and gore. But it’s not as though the films are marketed in a way that hides these facts. They are 18/R rated movies and therefore aimed at people who have an interest in the more adult/violent side of cinema. I have compiled my thoughts on the 3 movies in the franchise, and please be warned there are spoilers…….not many but thought I should give you a heads up. Pretty difficult to review sequels without mentioning what happened before them, but I tried not to give too much away.

page-divider 2

Hostel (2005) – Three backpackers head to a Slovak city that promises to meet their hedonistic expectations, with no idea of the hell that awaits them.

hostel movie poster

Director: Eli Roth

Jay Hernandez – Paxton
Derek Richardson – Josh
Eythor Gudjonsson – Oli

Coming from the mind of Cabin Fever director Eli Roth, and produced by none other than Quentin Tarantino, 2005 gave the world Hostel.

Our 3 backpackers are Josh and Paxton who are Americans, and Oli who is from Iceland. After a bit of early fun and shenanigans, circumstances result in them meeting a strange man who informs them of a Hostel in Slovakia where there are many women who love foreign guys. The boys take him up on his advice and to their delight they check into a hostel where unspeakably hot women hang out naked in saunas. They hook up with a couple of girls, but become concerned when their Icelandic companion mysteriously disappears the morning after.

Paxton, Oli and Josh

Paxton, Oli and Josh

Perhaps not surprisingly, someone is kidnapping, torturing and killing some of the youngsters that have the misfortune of showing up at the hostel. Just who or what is going on eventually becomes clear as the story progresses.

Despite the odd bit of torture, I really didn’t feel Hostel was as graphic as people would have you believe. The effects look a little dated now (the eye scene in particular) but there are still a few moments to make you squirm (Achilles heels anyone?) It really isn’t a full on 90 minute gore fest, and although we see a few little moments, Roth is pretty restrained here and concentrates more on the story.

hostel bad guy

I loved Hostel. I thought it was clever and at the time such a refreshing change and style of movie. Ever since we have been inundated with replicas and copycats, but not many come close to Hostel. Of course, it’s not perfect. For example, I felt a little like I did during Wolf Creek, where the set up of the movie just went on a little too long. I get that these 3 boys are just having fun, and we need to see them cutting loose. It just could have been done over a shorter time period, as it just dragged and I kept waiting for the film to really pick up pace.

Roth based his screenplay on a news report of a Thai Internet business through which, for $10,000, one could kill another human being. He moved the location to war-torn Eastern Europe and I think that’s what helps make Hostel feel so real. I believed this type of situation could happen, and the reactions and efforts of our protagonists were very believable.

paxton hostel

Jay Hernandez as Paxton

Jay Hernandez (Paxton) is the most recognisable face on show here, and as he gets the most screen time he has to be good. Luckily he is. As we are taken through the building in the final act, we see through Paxton’s eyes people being put through horrific turmoil. If you’re not a fan of bloodshed then none of these films are for you, but if you don’t mind it, and somehow haven’t seen it, I highly recommend Hostel.

Ratings08

page-divider 2

Hostel: Part II (2007) – Three American college students studying abroad are lured to a Slovakian hostel, and discover the grim reality behind it.

Hostel-Part-II-movie-poster

Director: Eli Roth

Lauren German – Beth
Roger Bart – Stuart
Heather Matarazzo – Lorna
Bijou Phillips – Whitney
Richard Burgi – Todd

The beauty of the original Hostel was the reveal: the factory, the business, the monied clients… the sick concept that ordinary people would eviscerate innocents for the ultimate power trip. I have to admit I was excited by the news of a sequel, but also anxious as to how they could top it or follow it. Luckily, Eli Roth was back and whilst it felt slightly similar to the previous film, there was enough here to stand alone.

hostel part 2

Richard Burgi & Roger Bart – The Businessmen

This time round we are given a different view of the goings on by focusing almost as much on the torturer’s as the tortured. Because these victims are sold off to the highest bidder, the film literally considers the cost of human life and the power of money to afford experiences that are supposed to be priceless. We follow two businessmen (Richard Burgi & Roger Bart) from America to Bratislava, from golf course, wife and kids to grimy torture cell, and this is a nice touch with Roth getting  a chance to show us more of the organisation. Of course then there’s US backpackers Beth (Lauren German – The Divide), Whitney (Bijou Phillips) and Lorna (Heather Matarazzo), lured into the trap and we get to see how they are caught and bidded on by wannabe killers.

Lauren German

Lauren German as Beth

I felt the early scenes suffer from repetition, as again we are treated to the build up and how the girls end up at their destination. (As a Roma football fan though it was nice to see Francesco Totti shirts littered throughout the Rome scenes. Simple things.) When the girls finally arrive at their hostel the pace definitely picks up and we are treated to some more bloodshed. Again, I always feel it reads worse than it is. Yes, a child is killed, and someone is killed in a style reminiscent of the real life Hungarian countess Elizabeth Bathory, who bathed in virgin’s blood to keep her youth. Whilst people may feel these scenes are just in for shock value, they do serve a purpose and progress the film onwards. Or at least that’s how I felt anyway.

Bijou Phillips

Bijou Phillips

For once a sequel is at the very least as good as the original. The acting was great, and I’ve always had a soft spot for Lauren German. It was a nice touch to see the other side of the hunting club dynamic, and Hostel: Part II had enough going for it to give me a pleasant surprise. Plus we got a resolution to a few things from the original movie, which is always a good move. Part II is well acted, clever, thrilling and rather enjoyable.

Ratings08

page-divider 2

Hostel: Part III (2011) – While attending a bachelor party in Las Vegas, four friends are enticed by two sexy escorts to join them at a private party way off the Strip. Once there, they are horrified to find themselves the subjects of a perverse game of torture, where members of the Elite Hunting Club are hosting the most sadistic show in town.

hostel 3 poster

Director: Scott Spiegel

Kip Pardue – Carter McMullen
Brian Hallisay – Scott
John Hensley – Justin

Hostel: Part III marks the series’ first foray into the straight to DVD realm, and you can definitely feel the difference in everything from the tone to the violence to the story. Eli Roth not only made two of the more violent and (some would say) grotesque horror films in recent memory, but he also used the backdrop of Eastern Europe to add in an extra element of terror as he played with the fears that come with being alone in a foreign and unfamiliar country. Now a few years later comes Part III, and not only has Roth not returned, but it has gone direct to DVD, two of the reddest flags one could imagine for the franchise. After this, I’ll be honest, I didn’t have much hope for this movie being anywhere near as good as the previous two.

hostel 3 guys

Not the most likeable group to root for…….

It begins with an opening that is so ingenious I don’t want to spoil it, but in short it establishes that we are out of the slums of Slovakia and knee-deep in the sin and neon of Las Vegas, Nevada. I love being surprised in a movie, and seeing this so early on and having the rug pulled out so to speak boosted my anticipation. Whilst it maybe didn’t quite keep that level of storytelling throughout the duration, Part III really surprised me, and mostly in a good way.

Wheel of Misfortune

Wheel of Misfortune

Some of the scariest things about the first two films is the fact that the backpackers are out of their comfort zone, barely speak the language, and you never know who’s working for the hunting club. By taking those things away, Part III loses some of that fear and plausibility. I felt at times here, the build up to the organisation we had from the first 2 movies were either undermined or unrelated. Now we have people bidding on how long it takes for someone to die, not the bidding to do the deed that Part II brought to the series. Just another variation I guess, but it detracted from my enjoyment.

hostel 3 girls

The Escorts

A lot of Hostel fans are in it for the gory kills and Hostel: Part III does not deliver. There is one, involving a Face/Off style surgery, that feels like it could have been from the mind of Eli Roth, but otherwise what we have here is pretty tame. The kills are generic, using arrows and bugs instead of grinding people up. It picks up a bit later, but the loss of the brutality is jarring and disappointing. After all, this series is credited for the amount of torture films are coming out, at least give us some torture!

hostel 3 cheerleader

All in all, whilst this is the weakest chapter in the franchise, it’s still a good watch with a decent story. The acting is mixed, and some of the characters are so hard to sympathise with, I didn’t care if and how they were killed. The ending is the worst part though, and really undid all the good work that had gone before it. I should really take more points off my final rating just for the end scene, but there was enough good work preceding it to earn a 6. Just. If there is a Part IV, I hope it goes back to being in a more remote location and gives us some more bloodshed.

Ratings07

Advertisements
Next Post
Leave a comment

67 Comments

  1. The picture you captioned as Heather Matarazzo is Bijou Phillips.

    I thought Part II was just pretty much the original with girls instead of guys. Although I’d take Lauren German over Jay Hernandez any day.

    Like

    Reply
  2. theipc

     /  May 30, 2013

    Nice work here, Chappie!! Unbelievably, we agree on two of these three things. I thought the third one was pretty sucky with a terrible ending but I was all about the first and second. Good one!

    Like

    Reply
    • Thanks Big E 🙂

      Wow, something bad is going to happen tonight somewhere if we agree. Despite those flaws in part 3 it was still pretty good in parts. Such a crappy ending though, unbelievable.

      Like

      Reply
      • theipc

         /  May 30, 2013

        I can give it that “pretty good in parts” but the ending was so terrible it ruined everything!!

        Like

        Reply
  3. I haven’t seen these movies, I think they’d probably be too disturbing for me. I find torture really unsettling.
    But I’m glad that you were able to enjoy the third movie as much as you did. Movies that have gone straight to DVD are dodgy at best, so I’m glad it worked out for you 🙂

    Like

    Reply
    • Yeah maybe not films for you then! Lots of torture. And you’re right, most times straight to DVD means terrible, but it wasn’t quite the case here. Thanks for commenting despite not having seen them, always appreciated Smash 🙂

      Like

      Reply
  4. Great look at this series, Tyson. I haven’t seen it in years, but I remember enjoying the first Hostel. The second, not so much. I have to admit I’m curious about the third one, even though the direct-to-DVD label isn’t a good sign.

    Like

    Reply
    • Thanks Eric. The third part is pretty good, just the ending really lets it down. Well, the last scene anyway. Although if you didn’t like the second one then maybe 3 will do nothing for you 🙂

      Like

      Reply
  5. Saw the first one but never really thought of testing out the 2nd or 3rd. I did like the first one though and I like Eli Roth’s style.

    Like

    Reply
  6. Ryan

     /  May 30, 2013

    Didn’t like the first one, sorry, so wasn’t interested in any sequels. Even though it’s set in the former soviet republics and involves backpackers, I thought it was as predictable as the tired roadtrip/camping-trip-gone-bad-when-the-coeds-meet-psychos genre, which I just can’t take anymore, unless someone comes up with a new slant on it, like…..oh, I don’t know…hmmm. Having a hard time here. Tucker And Dale Vs. Evil comes to mind, it turned a few of the cliches on their heads, but wasn’t that spectacular either.
    I can understand these films’ appeal, but I just can’t get behind the whole “disposable teens” concept of horror anymore, killing for killing’s sake, no matter how unappealing the kids are or how awesome the gore effects. Oh well, more for you, you can have my share! 🙂

    Like

    Reply
    • Fair enough Ryan!! The market is very diluted, but every now and again something good makes it out and slips through all the crap ones. I did like Tucker & Dale actually, very clever and funny.

      I will happily take your share!! There are plenty of genres and films I dislike, so it’s good to get differing opinions. Thanks for commenting my friend 🙂

      Like

      Reply
      • Ryan

         /  May 31, 2013

        Oh, and as a P.S.- growing up in the VHS age taught me to never discount a direct-to-video title. I’ve seen some great ones that I wish I’d seen in a theater, and the simple truth may be that they just couldn’t get a distributor. Some are crap, but some recent good ones that come to mind are The Presence with Mira Sorvino, and The Pact, which to me holds the standard for best movie with worst title and dvd cover art…seriously better than what you’d expect. Have you seen either one? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

        Like

        Reply
        • I appreciate what your saying, and a lot of films I watch and review are straight to home video. Im more wary when its part of a franchise though, like with this being a part 3, and non of the original folks being involved. Still, it turned out OK. 🙂

          And no, I havent seen those you mention, although I have The Pact on dvd but not watched it yet. I will have to get to it quicker since you rate it so highly, cheers Ryan.

          Like

  7. So you haven’t forgotten how to write stuff! 😉 Great reviews mate! I’ve seen the first and thought it was decent enough but haven’t seen the other two. Might check them out at some point though.

    Like

    Reply
    • Just about!! Figured its about time I wrote something 🙂

      You should give them a look mate, just watch all 3 back to back like I did. Then go out and murder some people. Lol.

      Thanks Chris 🙂

      Like

      Reply
  8. First was a good movie. Not great, but good enough. Same for 2, though I did feel the 2nd had some pacing issues.

    Haven’t seen the 3rd. But I did like the first 2. Not personal favorites but solid films

    Like

    Reply
    • Solid is a fair assessment. I think if you liked the first 2, I’d consider seeing the latest one just for the good things that it does offer. But it doesn’t really follow or link to the previous ones.

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      Like

      Reply
  9. I know I won’t be able to watch these Tyson 😀

    Like

    Reply
    • Haha, yeah maybe not the films for you Ruth. Although with your journey into The Cabin in the Woods maybe one day you’ll keep venturing into the horror world!!

      Thanks for reading anyway 🙂

      Like

      Reply
  10. Nice write up but not the best series 😦

    Like

    Reply
  11. Hmm, I haven’t seen any of these. I think it’s because they are a little bit too probable, you know. I guess that’s one of the reasons why some of these films are so scary, the threat that they could actually occur… Interesting reviews.

    Like

    Reply
    • Yeah they are pretty realistic in theory, I guess thats what I liked about them. Always prefer films that aren’t stupidly far fetched.

      Thanks for reading 🙂

      Like

      Reply
  12. I haven’t seen any of these, but that’s a great write-up on the series. Well done, Tyson.

    Like

    Reply
  13. jmount43

     /  May 31, 2013

    There’s something about the first two films that I find myself going back to them over and over again. Yes, they’re torture porn; but they’re great torture porn. The third film, not so much.

    Like

    Reply
    • I’ve seen them quite a few times, and always enjoy them. Ive seen part 3 twice, and cant really see myself watching it again. Just doesnt have the same appeal does it. Cheers John 🙂

      Like

      Reply
  14. This was brilliant! However, I will admit that I have not seen the third one, I did not even know of its existence until I read this!

    Like

    Reply
    • I think there are a few people out there who have no idea a part 3 was made. Sneaked out onto DVD sadly. Shame. Anyway, thank you Zoe, and if you ever get chance to see the last one, it’s not THAT bad 🙂

      Like

      Reply
      • Will take your word for it Tyson. This review makes me want to watch it again, been a while. Should just add part three to the list!

        Like

        Reply
  15. Hi, wanted to let you know I’ve nominated you for an award. http://vinnieh.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/sunshine-blogger-award/

    Like

    Reply
  16. Wow, I never bothered with the sequels but it looks like I’m going to have to give part II a try. Thanks!

    Like

    Reply
    • You should man, especially if you liked the original, the sequels continue the legacy and are all very good (I think)

      Cheers 🙂

      Like

      Reply
  17. I saw the first two parts and they were tons of fun. Part 2 had so many ridiculous moments but it was entertaining. I really need to see part 3 soon.

    Like

    Reply
    • Dont get your expectations too high for part 3 and you might enjoy it!!

      Both 1 & 2 had ridiculous moments, but they added to the fun of it all. Thanks Sati 🙂

      Like

      Reply
  18. michael89sears

     /  June 13, 2013

    You know? I’ve been to the town they filmed Hostel in and its the most friendly little corner of the world. I remember my overwhelming impression of that place was of snow on roofs and dumplings. It’s amazing that the world will remember Cesky Krumlov for torture.

    Like

    Reply
  1. SAW II (2005) | Head In A Vice
  2. The Killing Gene (2007) | Head In A Vice
  3. What I’ve Been Watching….. | Head In A Vice

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Advertisements
  • RECENT POSTS :

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Daily Top 10 Most Viewed

  • Every Movie Reviewed A-Z

  • Follow me on Twitter

  • Most Used Tags

  • Random Cool Sites

  • Meta