2 June 2007 | IAmNo4
Solid Horror Sequel
When I first saw "Hostel" back in 2006, I thought it was a solid, entertaining flick, but still full of flaws, so when a sequel was announced, along with its official synopsis and promising cast, I naturally got really excited as I thought it sounded great and had lots of potential to be even better than the original, hence this easily became one of my most anticipated movies of the year. After finally seeing the film I have to admit that I still like the original a tad more, but I'm happy I waited as this is surely one of the better horror sequels I've seen recently.
The plot this time focuses around 3 American college students - Beth (Lauren German), her best friend Whitney (Bijou Phillips), and the sweet Lorna (Heather Matarazzo) who are studying art in Rome for the Summer and plan on going to Prague to explore Europe. However, they cross paths with the mysterious Axelle (Vera Jordanova), a beautiful model from their art class who somehow convinces them to skip their journey to Prague and head to Slovakia where they can relax and enjoy the country. Soon they find a hostel for the weekend and it seems like everything is going to be great, but little do they know that staying at a hostel was the biggest mistake in their lives, and that they are going to pay the price in the worst possible way.
To be honest, I was never too big on Eli Roth before. I thought Cabin Fever" was very mediocre and full of clichés and pointless nudity, whereas Hostel a big step from "Cabin" with an interesting and original concept, but still full of flaws, so I guessed if Roth continued to improve, this could have even been better than the original. I was wrong though as I actually found myself liking this a bit less than the first one, but still thinking this is definitely one of the better and gorier horror sequels in the last few years, and one of the most entertaining movies this year.
Without a doubt the best thing about the movie is the great acting. Honestly, as much as I'm a HUGE horror fan, even I admit there are really rare horror movies (or even movies in general) in which most of the actors did a great job, but fortunately, that was the case here. Heather Matarazzo, who has really grown up since her debut in "Welcome to the Dollhouse" does an amazing job in portraying without a doubt the sweetest character in the whole movie, and when bad things start happening to her you really feel bad for her as she just gives a great performance. Lauren German, who played the unfortunate hitchhiker in the awesome "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" Remake, gives an amazing performance too and I was happy to see her as a lead in a horror movie as I thought she was great in the Chainsaw remake. Bijou Phillips also does a great job in playing the loyal and tough "best-friend" type of character, and she is surely one of the bets characters in the film, something she didn't have a chance to be in movies like "Venom" for instance. Worth mentioning is also the newcomer Vera Jordanova, even though her character is waisted and should have gotten more screen-time. The other characters are greatly build up and you really do feel bad for them when bad things start happening to them, thanks to both the already mentioned, great acting, and a good script written by Eli Roth who actually surprised me in the movie as I thought he did a pretty good job and didn't put any unnecessary nudity like in "Cabin Fever". I also liked how the movie didn't just center on the 3 girls and their torturing, but also the tortures themselves (played by Roger Bart and Richard Burgi) and their fears and thoughts, which was a pretty fresh add to the plot. No need to say this is way more brutal than the original too, even though the ending could have been less comical and more action-packed.
Of course, there are weak points of the movie though. First of all, I was very much disappointed with the route Eli went with the character of Paxton (Jay Hernandez), our hero in the last movie, as I thought it was very clichéd and already seen before in other horror sequels. The movie also felt rushed towards the ending, as all the action and torture scenes were fairly short and incomparable to the ones in the original. The movie also didn't feel as "dark" as the original, and some scenes were just pointlessly funny, but that's probably why I liked this sequel; it wasn't trying to be a carbon copy of the original, actually quite the opposite -- it was trying to a different, yet loyal follow up.
In some sequels that method never works, but in this one it did. Hostel: Part II isn't as fresh as the original, but it's a solid Horror Sequel and an impressive follow up to the original.