Hostel Part II picks up right after the first film leaves off. We get an update on Paxton, the survivor of the first film, and then catch up with a trio of American female travelers who are touring Europe. The girls are lured to a familiar Slovakian hostel with the promise of a tranquil spa that will allow them to relax and reenergize. Like in the first film, the ladies find themselves in the clutches of a nefarious organization that provides patrons with the opportunity to torture and kill for sport.
Hostel Part II explains a lot of what was not covered in the first. The viewer gets more backstory on the corporation that is pulling the strings. And there is also a lot more insight given into the motivations of the clientele of the organization.
The three girls are given about as much depth as their male counterparts in the first film. We don’t know a great deal about their history. And we don’t really learn exactly what brought them together. But in spite of limited backstory, the leads are somewhat well written. And will eventually make most viewers sympathetic to their situation. Lauren German, Heather Matarazzo, and Bijou Phillips all give good performances as the victims.
Eli Roth wrote and directed this follow up to his 2006 blood-filled torture spree. There is some evidence of his growth as a filmmaker between the two films. Though Hostel Part II is a shamelessly gory follow up, it shows maturation in the way the story is told. The decision to focus slightly more on what is motivating the patrons of the organization rather than solely on the violence inflicted was a smart decision and it elevates this film to an ever so slightly more cerebral place than the first.
Hostel Part II is smartly paced and keeps the viewer in a constant state of suspense. Roth has said that he took inspiration from the film Night Train Murders when crafting Hostel Part II and that is evident in the film’s unrelenting tone as well as the portion of the film that is set on a train.
The violence in Hostel Part II is on par with the first Hostel film. If anything, it’s more masochistic than its predecessor. There are a couple of scenes that are so brutal that it’s almost uncomfortable to watch. Like the first film, the gore effects are practical and totally brutal.
Though the merits, or lack thereof, associated with the torture film sub genre are a constant source of debate amongst horror fans, Hostel Part II is a well-crafted horror film. It isn’t solely reliant on jump scares or gore to float the plot. There are legitimate moments of terror in Hostel II and if one were to remove the excess (of which there is plenty) the film would still have a leg to stand on.
While it would be beneficial to see the first film before moving on to the second, Hostel Part II is a sequel that can stand on its own if need be. If you are a horror fan, you’ve probably already seen this one, but if for some reason you have not, it is worth a look.
Director(s): Eli Roth
Writer(s): Eli Roth
Stars: Laura German, Bijou Phillips, Heather Matarazzo, Roger Bart, Richard Burgi
Studio/ Production Co: LionsGate
Budget: $10.2 Million
Length: 94 Minutes