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June 12, 2007

Film Review - Hostel II

“Hostel: Part II” is reminiscent of the first: a complete let-down. This time around, however, the filmmakers did add something new to the stale formula: more blood.Directed by up-and-coming horror writer Eli Roth (“Hostel,” “Cabin Fever”), “Hostel: Part II” is about a secret society where wealthy people bid on young victims to torture, rape and murder. The film begins with a recap (to the police) by Paxton (Jay Hernandez), the survivor of the first film, yet quickly moves to the new victims of the second installment, three fickle American college girls — Beth (Lauren German), Whitney (Bijou Phillips) and Lorna (Heather Matarazzo). They are studying art in Italy, which is where they meet up with nude model Axelle (Vera Jordanova), who convinces the girls to abandon their weekend trip to Prague for a spa trip to Slovakia. They stay in a hostel (the same as in part one), where they soon get abducted and taken to the factory where the “society” winners assault them.Although I am a fan of all things horror, I had my reservations. I didn’t like the first “Hostel” and did not expect much from the second go-round. Unfortunately, I was right.The first half offered significantly more character build-up and plot than No. 1, but most of it seemed more like time-filler than necessary story development. Roth tries to give the viewer a sense (stereotype?) of each character — Beth is the rich girl with her head on her shoulders; Whitney’s the pretty slut; and Lorna is the geeky, emotional, homesick one. He even introduces some of the men who paid for the girls, including the hyper-masculine Todd (Richard Burgi), who pays for two of them and gives one to his friend. Yet, by the time the torture begins, the story drowns in a pool of blood and the movie goes right back to where the first left off: as close to a snuff film as one can get.Although the gore looked more real this time (bigger budget, I suppose), the entire movie still had that campy, unbelievable aspect. The film takes you on many ridiculous twists and turns that, unfortunately, converge at a dead-end.Although “Hostel: Part II” will likely have enough box-office success to guarantee a “Hostel: Part III,” my vote is to wait for DVD.BY MEGHAN WIGGSleo@leoweekly.com