Not exactly a feast for the eyes, unless you’re into literal blood baths and raw flesh tartare sliced male genitals, Hostel: Part II delves enthusiastically into over the top grotesque gore, while tossing in brash satire related to audience tastes in the first place for such vicarious perversions. In other words, director Eli Roth’s own self-styled brand of sadism mandates that when it comes to fright junkie self-fulfillment, a serving up of male castration fears and feminist castration fantasies, whether consumed live during an elegant dining experience to the sound of opera, or by a pack of killer canine pets.
Roth, who more recently perfected cannibalistic cuisine when it comes to Thanksgiving as Tarantino co-conspirator faux trailer schlock guru on Grindhouse, returns to Hostel’s human slaughterhouse freak territory, but switching it up with females this time around as the meat market of choice. Lured to their intentional slow and painful demise at the upscale Slovakian snuff factory, are three US foreign exchange students taking art classes in Rome.
Heather Matarazzo is virginal geek Lorna who sleeps with a stuffed rabbit, while party girl Whitney (Bijou Phillips) prefers animal tendencies in bed of sexy male humans instead. And Beth (Lauren German) rounds out the adventurous girl gang as possibly not so prim and proper heiress Beth. No sooner do the young women arrive in the decidedly picturesque Slovakian town, than the sinister hotel clerk is faxing their passport photos to a far-flung collection of depraved, mostly filthy rich tycoons around the planet who get to bid against each other for torture and slay sessions with the unsuspecting tourists.
Far from just another flesh ripping screamathon – though it is very much that too – Hostel: Part II takes satirical exception to some highly unnatural, nasty Western appetites for unorthodox pleasures indulged elsewhere in the world. And especially those conveniently beyond the reach of the Geneva Conventions (scenes of hooded torture victims, sadistic stress positions and killer attack dogs all make an appearance). That would also suggest sex slavery/tourism taken to extremes, black market underground organ dealerships and arms trading, and the mass dehumanization of deep pockets multinational skullduggery in general. And of course violence as a well established tradition of home entertainment back home in America.
In summing up, it’s far too easy to condemn Roth’s excesses. Let’s face it; he didn’t have to look too far or deep all around him, to jolt the darker recesses of his demented imagination. If only the naysayer critics would get as upset about physical and psychological carnage in the real world, as what would offend them on the make-believe movie screen.
A SONY Pictures Home Entertainment release
DVD Extras; Audio commentaries with Eli Roth, Quentin Tarantino, and the female cast. Also, The Next Level featurette, including The Art of KNB Effects, Production Design and A Legacy of Torture featurette tour through torture devices across the ages. Plus deleted scenes, a radio interview with Roth, and a bonus gag reel.