Saturday, June 30, 2007

Hostel, Part II (2007, Eli Roth)

Markedly better than the first one, mostly because it's got much more of the sick humor that's Roth's real forte. In addition, now that he's gotten the initial shock of his premise out of the way, we can now delve into the mechanics of the hostel operation, seen mostly but not entirely through the eyes of a pair of Americans who "pay for the privilege," so to speak. Still not scary, but more interesting from a thematic standpoint, and I'd give this thing a 5 or even a 6 if not for the whole Heather Matarazzo thing. It's abundantly clear from the get-go that she's doomed- simpering around and generally acting like a grown-up Dawn Wiener, she exists to be a victim. Granted, she accepted the role and no doubt read the script, and as Hollywood's token nerd girl she's had more than her share of onscreen indignities vested upon her over the years (after all, she's worked with Todd Solondz). But seeing her hanging upside down, naked, as a female torturer (torturess?) toys with her with a scythe, not to get all Ebert/BLUE VELVET on you, but I honestly felt bad for her. Not the character, mind, but Matarazzo herself, and this feeling took me right of the movie and left me with a really bad taste in my mouth. I won't use the word "rape" like David Poland did, but goddamn Roth, that's pretty shameless. Rating: 4 out of 10.

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