Saturday, January 19, 2008

Hostel Part II (2007)

I'm watching this for the second time since it was released last Spring amidst much hatred and gloating over its box-office underperformance, and you know what? This is a good movie, maybe even a better movie on a second viewing than it was on a first.

I don't have a problem with people who aren't horror movie fans (people who can't see the gore for the trees, as it were) not liking this movie or movies like it, but I have a big problem with anyone smearing horror fans in general as subhuman, as the enemies of this movie did last Spring; or not recognizing that, all other factors being the same, that this is an above-average, well-crafted, intelligent piece of filmmaking. That the miserable and unredeemable Saw sequels could make so much more money than this movie is frustrating. That this movie also made less than The Reaping, The Hills Have Eyes II, and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem is depressing.

I'll have more to say about the virtues and flaws of this particular movie later when my ire goes down, but for now let me say that whereas your typical dumb horror movie is about the simple, formulaic presentation of gore and pain, Eli Roth's movies, this one especially, is about complicating our response to such things, delivering the gore and uncomfortable victims in ways that we haven't seen before with, yes, emotional complexity and wit.

More to come.

1 comment:

Harvey said...

Word. There's definitely a rush to judgement with these films. In some ways, I'm similar because I have no desire to see the "Saw" movies and the impression I get is that they're not worth the time or effort ... but I can't say for sure because I've never seen them.

I think "Hostel II" is a fine extension of the original, particularly in the way that it also shows the business from the viewpoint of the customer, but I understand it's a hard sell and not everybody's going to want to go there.

What will be great is if Roth can bring his style, intelligence and sensibility to a future horror movie that's not such a hard sell. Give the audience some sugar to bring them in ... and then lower the boom. That will be something to see.