Looking a bit deeper into the business aspect of the torture industry, the second Hostel feels a bit more solid than the first, and doesn’t skimp out of any of the gore or brutality.
Picking up with Paxton’s life after his escape at the end of the first movie was an interesting beginning. I didn’t love the first sequence, but I found it acceptable, given the circumstances. After that’s dealt with, we dive into two plots: some young women decide to go to Slovakia to experience the hot spas, and two businessmen depart to Slovakia to torture and kill them. It’s sort of interesting to get dual perspectives on this, and I thought it generally paid off.
In part, I suspect, because most of the main characters were done pretty well. Lauren German wasn’t my favorite character, but as the main girl, she had guts. Heather Matarazzo, playing a geeky acquaintance of German’s, did well as the sweet, quiet girl with a rather depressing and brutal end. Richard Burgi and Roger Bart, who played the two businessmen, worked well together, and while obviously both were atrocious individuals, I thought both of them did a great job with their characters. The only main character I didn’t care for was played by Vera Jordanova – I didn’t like her character, and while she was a fine actress, I just felt sort of blah about the whole thing. Lastly, famous Italian horror director Ruggero Deodato had a fantastic cameo toward the end.
There are plenty of brutal scenes throughout the film. Occasionally some creepy ones pop up also. Insofar as gore, we get a pretty devastating bathing in blood scene, and you can’t help but feel bad as the individual in question is slowly cut open with a scythe. Someone gets their, shall we say, equipment, clipped off, which was done well. Another gets torn apart by dogs. Overall, the gore was strong. As for more subtly unsettling scenes, there’s a sequence where German wakes up in a misty hot spa, utterly devoid of others, which was filmed well. That leads into a chase scene that just sort of didn’t lead anywhere, but the spa scene alone was pretty good.
Hostel: Part II takes the best elements of the first movie and expands on them. I’d have liked some more background on the origins of the business itself, but still, it was okay. The bidding sequence early on was fun enough, I suppose, to cover up any lost potential in exploring the business deeper. The gore was top-notch, and plenty of scenes were decently suspenseful. I liked the first Hostel, and the second holds up also, and thus, I’d recommend it.