Hostel

WEIRDO’WEEN #02: HOSTEL Part II [2007]

You know, one thing I have always wanted to do is travel to different parts of the world. I’ve always been attracted to the idea of going cities/towns that aren’t familiar to me, and the idea of disappearing into a crowd – and getting the chance to be completely unrecognizable to those around me – is pretty damn awesome. I’d love to go somewhere that has a different meal plan than my own, and getting to try all sorts of things that I wouldn’t be able to try otherwise; even ideas like being shoved into a bullet-train in Japan, or taking a ride one of those boat things in Prague during the sunset sounds so exciting, and so different.. But you know what’s not awesome? [but certainly “different”] Being convinced to go somewhere you don’t know just because some hot European woman told you to, being kidnapped and tied up, and ultimately; torturedslowly. At least, that’s what happens to Beth, Whitney, and Lorna in today’s weirdo’ween edition of Hostel: Part II. I’m going to warn you now, this particular review is long.. like a lot longer than my usual reviews. If you can handle a lot of reading. Let’s move on!

I actually really like Hostel – at least, the first two films – for their story telling. [we don’t talk about Hostel: Part III] I feel like they’re more than torture-porn, – which they get a lot of flack for – I like their story telling, the explanation that the real monsters are the ordinary/everyday people around us. To me, that is scary and knowing that being in an unfamiliar place; anything can happen. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed Hostel, but I’ve always preferred it’s sequel, Hostel: Part II, just a little bit more. Probably because we get more of a back story to how the Elite Hunting Club really works.

weird'oween-#2The film opens up with the lone survivor of the first Hostel film, Paxton, in a hospital being “treated” for his wounds that happened roughly a week before. While in the hospital, the Doctors are all asking questions involving the ones who “did this to him”. As he’s answering the questions as truthfully as he can remember, he starts noticing them whispering to one another, and he starts questioning if these “doctors” are truly the good people they come off as. Good thing Paxton seems to be good at reading people, cause when he mentions the tattoo that the Elite Hunting Club members all had, the head doctor rolls up his sleeve asking; Did it look like this? Paxton wakes up, and it was all a dream – but it’s seemingly obvious that he’s mentally disturbed from the whole thing. His girlfriend, Stephanietries to convince him to talk to someone but he won’t have any of it, explaining that “these people are tied into everybody“. The very next morning Stephanie wakes up to an empty bed [Paxton stayed awake after his nightmare, I guess?] only to discover his headless body seated at the kitchen table with their cat licking the blood from his neck.. [talk about ‘no strings left untied’!] Meanwhile, in Slovakia, a seemingly mysterious package is delivered to Sasha, who we learn is the head honcho of the Elite Hunting Club. From the reaction of Sasha‘s bloodhounds and the approximate size of the box, it’s pretty well assumed that this package had Paxton‘s head in it, which would explain why it wasn’t rolling on the floor or anything in his home.

We are then flash forwarded to Italy, where American art students Beth, Whitney, and Lorna are approached by the beautiful Axelle, a nude model they are sketching during what looks like an outdoor, free to join-like class, to join her on a vacation to a luxurious spa in Slovakia. The four decide travel by train to a small Slovakian village and check into the local hostel, [which, if you’ve seen the first film, it’s the exact same one] where the desk clerk [the same, creepy clerk from the previous film] takes their information for their night, and the girls go to their respective rooms. It’s only after they’re out of camera shot, that the desk clerk goes to a restricted area of the Hostel, and uploads their passport photos to an auction website, where it’s we see American businessman Todd bid on Whitney and Beth for himself and his passive best friend Stuart as their victims for their murder-vacation. I found this to be extremely important, because it shows us that there’s so much more to what we saw in Hostel – in Hostel: Part II, we see how the “bets” are placed, and how the information gets there..

Later that night, at the village’s “Harvest Festival”, Lorna learns that Beth has inherited a vast fortune from her mother, who died when she was young. Stuart approaches Beth and the two share a friendly, but awkward, conversation. An intoxicated Lorna leaves to go on a boat ride with her new friend Roman, a charismatic local, who ends up using her only to kidnap her with the help of two accomplices. A local of the village is seen walking up to Beth and asks her for a dance, which she declines. He responds with I could have helped you. Although Beth doesn’t understand, he walks away and afterward the creepy Hostel’s clerk from earlier approaches and tells her He won’t bother you anymore. Eventually, Beth and Whitney leave the party, meanwhile Axelle volunteers to stay behind and wait for Lorna to get back from her boat ride.

The next morning after waking up, the three girls [Lorna is still not back] decide to head to the spa to relax in the hot springs. Basking in the relaxing atmosphere, Beth is able to fall somewhat at ease [finally!] and dozes off, leaning against the side of the pool. Flash to a now naked and gagged Lorna is seen shackled by her ankles and hanging upside down in a large – and empty – room, where a woman named [but implied] Mrs. Bathory enters, promptly undresses herself, and lies just beneath where Lorna is hanging. She then slowly kills Lorna by slashing her several times with a long scythe and bathing in her blood, then ending it by slitting her throat with a sickle!

Back at the spa, Beth finally awakens, only to find herself alone. [and her belongings stolen] As she looks for her friends, she notices two or three men approaching her. Fearing for her life, she climbs over the walls of the spa enclosure. Making her escape, she is ambushed by The Bubblegum Gang, the same gang of violent street children that appeared in Hostel. [so many throwbacks to the first film, I love it!] Before they are able to attack her though, Axelle and Sasha casually appear and ward them off. Axelle escorts a flustered but now relieved Beth to the vehicle they drove over in. With Axelle and Beth now off screen, Sasha confronts the children.. He comes off as extremely angered, since they “got in the way” of his “business operations.” Wait, what? As punishment, and to warn against future “interruptions”, Sasha draws out his gun and has one of the children brought forward before him. Sasha then puts a silencer on the handgun and kills the kid. Naturally, the rest of the gang runs! After arriving at Sasha‘s mansion, Beth slowly comes to realize that Sasha and Axelle are the ones responsible for her friends’ disappearances. This became obvious after noticing the men who tried to kidnap her at the spa coming up the stairs of Sasha‘s home. Like anyone in a situation like this, she tries to hide only to discover a room filled with severed heads [including Paxton‘s] only to be captured and taken to the factory.


Overall, the movie is fun. Especially if you’re a fan of Eli Roth. It’s much more than the first movie in terms of story, especially as we learn more and more about the Elite Hunting Club. There’s plenty of gore for the gorehounds [bloodhounds?] and the story is enough to keep you interested. In my opinion though, the ending of the movie is probably one of the best parts of it. I know this review has been really long, but bear with me for this last part. If it’s not already obvious, this is going to spoil the movie’s end:

Beth offers to buy her freedom with part of her large inheritance, except Sasha explains to her that she must kill somebody to leave, Beth [without a second thought] cuts off Stuart‘s balls and tosses them to one of the guard dogs; in that moment, Beth then orders Stuart to be left to bleed to death as he screams in pain. As per the standard Elite Hunting contract, Beth is given an Elite Hunting tattoo and is made an honorary member. Beth is told she is allowed to leave, but she is sternly ordered to keep silent about the organization for the rest of her life. In the final sequence, Axelle is lured from the village festival into the woods by The Bubblegum Gang, where the revenge-seeking Beth surprises and beheads her for leading her friends to their deaths. The film then ends on a shot of Axelle‘s decapitated body with The Bubblegum Gang dancing in the background and playing soccer with Axelle‘s severed head..


In summation, I really enjoyed Hostel: Part II [if you couldn’t already tell] – if not more so than Hostel. It’s gory, it’s violent, and it’s more than shock/torture porn. Sure, it has faults; but what movie these days doesn’t? Eli Roth created a world that makes viewers scared to leave the comfort of their own homes, because sometimes, the real monster is the guy [or girl] next door.

Then I turn to you. Have I convinced you to check out Hostel: Part II? If you already have seen it, what did you think about it? Worthwhile? Or completely a waste of time? Let me know in a comment or two! Also, even if I have the first few film reviews planned already, please let me know which movie[s] you want to see reviewed next! If you found yourself to enjoy review – and want to see more – then take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 120+ likes almost at 130!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; as well as links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! Join me tomorrow when I post weirdo’ween #03STAY TUNED!

POP! goes the..head?

THANKS FOR READING.

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sorry everyone: I DON’T think HOSTEL is just violence!

HostelJustGore Oh, Hostel series. You really got people talking, don’t you? Even after 10 years of your initial release, people still mention how you’re insignificant amongst the others in the horror scene. But I don’t. I actually think you have a special place in this wide world of fear; making people think you’re only good for one thing: blood, and violence. But are you really just a mindless blood-bath? That’s what I’m going to be talking about: because I don’t like to believe what I’m hearing.

In the case of the Hostel films, I only tend to hear about it’s cringe-worthiness or even complaints that the series is part of a sub-genre of horror known as torture porn. According to Urban Dictionary, the term ‘torture porn’ was a term coined by various film critics who felt [and still feel] that the current trend in horror Hollywood consists of having no plot whatsoever but instead, we the viewers get gratuitous graphic imagery of people having body parts removed, from legs, heads to even genitalia; torture porn is definitely a sub-genre that doesn’t fit everyone‘s bill. The most common films that fall under this category are the SAW films [which I’ve talked about on here a dozen times] and, the reason why I’m talking about them, the Hostel trilogy. Now, I am a fairly large fan of both series, [so I might come across as bias] but I will admit that the later SAW films [more so SAW IV and onward] did fit the stereotypical torture porn category, but part of me is not so convinced that the Hostel films do.

In the first film, we learn of three backpackers: Paxton, Josh, and Oli who all decide to head to a Slovak city that promises to meet their male chauvinistic expectations, with no idea of the hellish tortures that await them when they arrive. Within my first viewing, I fell into the thought process that everyone else had: that it was just a g0re-fest for the sake of filming a gore-fest. But was it really? Let’s delve a little deeper into the film, and for that reason – I’m going to issue a fair-sized spoiler warning.


For this particular argument, I’m only using one point: the plot.. or more importantly, the EHC. Whether you agree or not, the movies do far more than just show blood, guts and everything in between; they actually has a genuine story attached.I mean, yeah; we have the bullshit about the three guys wanting – and succeeding – to sleep with Natalya and Svetlana [and I mean who wouldn’t?] but the real thing I find the most intriguing is the Elite Hunting club. [it’s funny cause their club’s logo is a dog: and that dog is a blood hound..get it?] This “club” and it’s “members” are super important not only because they are our main villain, [they are just as important in the sequels!] but because of what – or who – they really are: extremely fucked up individuals.

writer’s note: this is the part where I take a deep breath, cause this is going to be a long winded piece of writing..

According to Hostel and Hostel: Part II, this “club” had used a hostel in Slovakia. In this “hostel”, the “players” [who ultimately become victims] check in and give their passport to the desk clerk who then uploads the images to the EHC website. From the moment the photos are placed online, the members can start bidding actual cash on their victims of choice. The highest bidder gets the victim. [sort of like a fucked up eBay?] The catch is, that the member [sometimes more than one] have to travel to Slovakia to claim their prize. If they can’t make it to Slovakia, they lose their chance and the other members get a second chance to bid! Once arrived, the organization provides the client with the best services in a hotel while the organization takes care of the rest [kidnapping the victims, placing them in a underground bunker, standard stuff]. Once kidnapped, the members are told and they can head out, and go to the location of the facility. There, they choose the “tools of the trade” that they wish to use to torture their victim they just “bought”. Then when they’re officially ready to begin, they are dressed up. [quite professionally, might I add] Mostly does the torturers wear standard orange jumpsuits, leather caps and a leather apron [as seen worn by Stewart and Todd] but in Hostel: Part 2, we see a female EHC member who wears only maroon cloak, but, she eventually removes that goes completely nude. [check that out here! NSFW] If desired, the member can even choose how their victim is dressed, if they are chained in a chair, laying on a stretcher or even chained on a crucifix!

Like any other organization, the EHC has rules to follow: [in this case, two rules] no one leaves without killing and no one leaves with being a member or becoming a member of the organization. The last rule is only for the rich victims because you need money in order to become a member. In the event that a victim escapes without becoming a member, he/she will be hunted down and eventually: decapitated. His or her head will become a trophy for Sasha – the head boss of the organization. Interestingly enough, in Hostel: Part III, we learn that the EHC also have a facility in Las Vegas. [which makes sense, cause Part 2 taught us that the EHC is a world wide phenomenon] like before, they use a hostel to attract victims, sending them to room 9. The concept of this facility is slightly different, though.. complete in style of Las Vegas, the members now bet on how a victim will be killed. They look in from behind a glass window while the victim is tortured and if desired, they can participate in this ‘game’ with the Wheel Of Misfortune. [which I feel is a really lame name for a torture ploy]

According to Eli Roth himself, the films weren’t intended to be mindless violence. Hostel is supposed to be about how Americans view the world and how they tend to behave towards other countries- thinking the world is their playground and that they are untouchable. Remember the scene at the beginning of Hostel where the guy gets the characters to go to Slovakia by simply claiming its a war-torn country with absolutely no women? Anyone with knowledge of Eastern/Central European history would know that isn’t true at all! In short, the film is meant to come off as a huge joke about how Americans view the world around them. As for Hostel: Part 2, it’s about the “corporate killing” mentality. Now, obviously, we can argue that Roth’s intentions were not executed as well as he may have hoped, [that, or they were so buried by the gore that they’re difficult to recognize] but the point is Hostel, and it’s sequels, have some intentional social commentary. As long as one takes the time to look.


In the end, I feel that the Hostel films can be considered a bit more than just “gore for the sake of gore”. I mean, there is a significant amount of blood and gore, but The Elite Hunting Club is far more interesting than people give it credit for. Unfortunately, I’m only a fan of the first two Hostel films. I gave the third one a watch [it is on Netflix] and it greatly disappointed me: especially when it took the second film’s cliffhanger, and threw it out the window. [maybe just ignore Part 3..] The films are entertaining, more-so if you’re a horror fan, just don’t buy into them being “just torture porn”. Cause they’re really not..

THANKS FOR READING.

[also – a fun fact: according Eli Roth, he got the idea for the film after getting email about an organization who claimed to sell people to rich western men and women to let them shoot at them with real guns. this email claimed that would happen in Thailand]