Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hostel, Part II (2007)

Man, did hanging out with real talented filmmakers during Grindhouse rub off on Eli Roth or something?

The original film was a worthless cacophony of breasts, poor writing and cheesy gore effects, made all the more insufferable by the horrendous pricks our protagonists were.

I wanted to watch this to perhaps supplant Bug as my "worst picture" of this year so far (because it's not a terrible film, and I think doesn't deserve that designation), but this...this was a SHOCKINGLY solid, shockingly entertaining, shockingly WELL-WRITTEN (for its genre) motion picture.

The first movie's turns were completely obvious, and when they weren't, they were downright stupid. (Did anyone really enjoy the margarine coming out of the eye? THAT'S good gore to you?)

This film is almost a virtual remake of the first, but instead of obnoxious one-dimensional men we hate going through predictable motions, we get (mostly) amiable protagonists going through twists and turns, and these three women and two men are SHOCKINGLY fleshed out to the point where they really are real actual living beings with brains. There's also quite a few scenes of *gasp* actual suspense!

I wonder if Eli Roth watched Turistas last year, because that film was similar to his, but improved on it in every way, and this film improves on Turistas in pretty much every way. There's amazingly little gore and amazingly even less nudity, considering (I'll allow him the one orgy gore fantasy, it's fun), and if not for the fact that he couldn't resist one goofily fake prop, it's one of the higher echelon in 00s horror (a list that is terribly short).

I would bet that if you but someone who had no idea in a room, and had them watch both of these films sans title card, and told them one of the films was a sequel to the other, and asked which one, I'd be shocked if any of them picked the first.

This film is more inspired, more intelligent and more well-written than the worst one could even think of being.

I give it a stunning B-, #7 of my now-16 in a mostly-weak-but-not-bad-so-far year...

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