Borderlands (Zev Berman, 2007): 6.5/10

The Magic Flute (Ingmar Bergman, 1975): 7/10

La Guerre Est Finie (Alain Resnais, 1966): 7/10

Speed Racer (The Wachowski Brothers, 2008): 8/10

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Location: milwaukee, wi

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Hostel: Part Two (Eli Roth, 2007)

Hostel: Part Two was probably my most anticipated film of 2007. Not only did I love Hostel, both for its content and its unabashed return to R-rated horror, I have been thoroughly charmed by writer/director Eli Roth's presence since then. He has proven himself, in everything I have seen/read of him, to be a genuine horror fan, a guy who loves gore but is also funny, intelligent, and well-spoken about said gore. So when I got the chance to go to a preview screening of the sequel with a Roth Q&A afterward, it didn't matter to me that it was three hours' drive both ways and a work night. This was something I had to do, and it was completely worth it.

I don't want to divulge much about the movie, because the shocks are there, and real. The plot is seemingly the same as in the first movie; three American students, this time female, are studying abroad in Italy and are convinced by a native to go to Slovakia for a spa weekend. Bloody havoc ensues. But as opposed to the last movie, where the first half of the movie was tits & ass, and then cut right to torture, this movie has tension all the way through, beginning right away where the first movie let off: Paxton on a train, missing a few fingers. I loved the choice to start the movie immediately where the last ended, really making it part two and not some hokey sequel (something Roth said was very much a conscious choice on his part).

The gore is good, the shocks are good, the conclusion is very satisfying, but what surprised me most was the wicked, hilarious humor throughout the film. A few at the Q&A said it was broad and almost took away from the horror, but to me, it added to it. If we the audience are laughing during all this, what does that say about us? What does that say about human nature? Not only is it funny, it's bitingly clever - just when I thought I had the entire thing figured out, things change. There's no weak twist, just unexpected changes. The whole film is a very tight ship, with moments of intense terror (both violent and of human nature) and equally intense drama and humor.

The high point of the experience was definitely getting to interact with Roth himself. When his plane was an hour delayed, instead of making the audience wait for him, he called in and teleconferenced with us until he could make it. All in all, he talked for about an hour (way longer than I expected), giving (hilarious) anecdotes about making this film and his others, dealing with the MPAA (he had almost only good things to say, suprisingly enough), advice on how to make small-budget movies seem not so small, and answering any and every question with refreshing honesty. The man is someone who so obviously cares about horror films and especially about his fans; he made a point of saying several times that he made this movie for us, and all he wanted to do was make a better, more satfying sequel for the people who loved the first movie.

One thing Roth wanted from everyone who saw the film, and that I am happy to oblige, is to tell everyone what a great movie this is, and urge everyone we know to see it the first weekend (next weekend, June 8). Because even though this movie has been produced through the studio system, it doesn't have the huge backing of a, say, Ocean's 13, which opens the same weekend and has tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars poured into its marketing alone, whereas this movie cost less than ten million to make, and can't be as widely advertised because of it's R rating. So, if you love horror, if you want to show your support for a movie like this and show the studios that people would rather see a smart, taut gore film than a PG-13 schlockfest, SEE HOSTEL PART TWO NEXT WEEKEND. I know I'll be there Friday night. You should be, too.


Here are a few pictures of Roth speaking, including one of me and him (excuse the camera phone blurriness, I was afraid of being murdered by the MPAA).

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Comments on "Hostel: Part Two (Eli Roth, 2007)"


Blogger Jenna said ... (8:59 AM) : 

Haha, I was about to comment "HOW IS THAT NOT YOUR FACEBOOK PHOTO?!" but i see that it is... well played.


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