Gosh where do I start from this past weekend. I’ve seen 4 very different kinds of films between last Friday and today…Monday. Not only that but I’ve been going through the worst cold I’ve had in 4 years time. My head is swirling with sharply and poorly acted and written characters, dialogue, styles of directing, images of gore, of the fantastical, of 60’s and 70’s throwbacks, of comical and dramatic moments, of brutally hilarious disturbing images, of sexual intercourse (the kind that leads to really bad things). My weekend has been filled with tension and laughs, escapist fun and reality that’s almost too real to want to laugh at, and then reality that’s too real to watch. For one weekend at the movies, that’s a pretty crazy ride. I’m going to start with the most recent seen and perhaps the least favorite moment of the ride.
Being sick there’s that moment when you think you’re done using the bathroom, so you pull away and to your surprise realize that you may not have been done and end up having to wipe off the floor or your leg a little bit. Eli Roth’s “Hostel: Part II” felt like that dribble to me. Or at least parts of it did. Large parts of it. Only instead of cleaning those parts up and flushing them down the toilet with the other bad ideas, Roth kept it to show the world. Thank you Eli! In keeping some of those ideas there’s a certain kind of inspiration that you find in the Hostel films, one lacking in other films of this recently resurrected genre (Saw and it’s sequels). There’s a joy that Eli Roth takes in the carnage, and in that joy you see moments of someone who has the potential to be a really good filmmaker, which means there are moments of”Hostel II” in which we witness a great film, just as there were in the first “Hostel”.
“Hostel” surprised me. It was in fact a film that I intended not to see. It wasn’t until I was thoroughly creeped-out by the very simple teaser for “Hostel II”…
…that I started jonesing to see the first. That same level of psychological fear that I found in the teaser flowed underneath Roth’s surprise hit. Sure, there was gore to be had, but much of it was hidden in the shadows or cleverly built up to, or used to create emotional gravitas. And this is where Roth excels in part II. (more…)