I only watched a few minutes of this movie; it was on TV and I came upon it. Because of that, I cannot give a totally fair review, but I do have a comment or two. A few years ago, a first "Hostel" was made, which I avoided--and it must have done well at the box office, so here we have a sequel, or continuation. I see that there is also a "Hostel III", so....who knows how long this will go on? After all, they are up to about #6 for "Saw", correct?).
We give the people want they want, but if this is what they want, what does that say about them?
I am a grandfather, I'm not a prude or religious fanatic, and I've seen thousands and thousands of movies in my time. And I appreciate a good horror film, one which frightens me and surprises me (the two go hand-in-hand). I am sure that I am much older than the average person who 'likes' "Hostel" and its ilk, and so that probably has a lot to do with it. I thought the first "Halloween" was a damn good and very frightening horror film, because it was smart, subtle and suspenseful, and did not rely upon buckets of gore in a misguided attempt to frighten us. The original "Night of the Living Dead" was pretty gory, and the opposite of subtle, but the nightmarish, crude, high contrast B/W images helped tone it down, and the whole premise and execution of the film was extremely frightening. I believe that less talented filmmakers saw the success of those two landmarks of the horror genre, tried to cash in it, but took the easy way out, and upped the gore/violence quotient, in lieu of story or dialogue or restraint or mood. Thus we had the Nightmare on Elm Streets, the even more inferior Friday the 13th's, and the interminable remakes of the Texas Chainsaw Massacres.
The entire premise of "Hostel II" is extremely disturbing: there are wealthy but very sick and twisted people who put up thousands of dollars in online bidding wars, with the winner having the right to torture and kill a particular young girl. These girls are innocent tourists who've happened to check into the wrong "hostel". Passport photos are surreptitiously scanned and sent worldwide to a host of these rich freaks, men and women alike, and the bidding escalates. We are 'treated' to the girls' kidnapping and torture and very few punches are pulled. Call me crazy, but haven't we crossed a line here? To me this is very dangerous territory, for many reasons.
First of all, it suggests that, if you have enough money, you can literally buy anyone and do anything to them you want. And secondly, the truly scary thing is that there probably ARE real monsters in the world who might be interested in doing this to people.
But really, and most importantly, how can anyone be 'entertained' by this? Scenes of torture? Are you kidding me? Why would anyone want to watch this stuff? I did not last until the end, so maybe some of the creeps do get their just desserts, which would help things, I guess. But even so, I don't want to wade through all this monstrous and disgusting behavior just to see some creep get wasted.
Somewhere we've gone off the rails. To me films like these are a kind of violent, sadistic pornography. Used to be that good old sex and nudity would do it for us, but now we seem to want to watch the girls get carved up too, the more blood the better! Porn is a 'progressive' thing; what floats your boat today quickly becomes pedestrian, and you need to amp things up. It reminds one of ancient Rome, where the wealthier they got, the more jaded and depraved they became. By the end the patricians were digging scenes of people getting torn apart by lions. Eventually the Empire rotted away from within. Is that happening to us? Again, I am not a conservative Republican or religious fanatic! I'm just asking.
Hitchcock's "Psycho" really crossed some lines when it came out in 1960. For one thing, we'd never had a main character get killed only twenty minutes or so into the film! But among the many things that made this film a classic is the restrained and artful editing of that ground-breaking, legendary shower scene. To be fair, the heavy hand of the censorship board kept Hitch in check--he would have loved to show more blood and more skin--but we don't need to see any more! We know what is happening. BECAUSE we don't see that much makes it all the more frightening to us. Less IS more!
It's an interesting concept that should be revisited.
To sum up, strapping people down on tables and eviscerating them,...burning them,...shocking them with electrodes,...cutting off their limbs,...flaying them and watching the blood flow is not frightening; it is disgusting, degrading, and deadening. There is a difference. Modern filmmakers and audiences seem to have forgotten this concept. And don't tell me that 'it's only a movie!, as if that tired old line is actually a legitimate excuse. If you can actually say you enjoy watching this stuff, then your soul is on its way to death, and I truly feel sorry for you.
I am more frightened by the fact that so many people choose to see movies like this, than by the movies themselves.
I worry about our future.