Hostel: Part II
|Hostel: Part II|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Eli Roth|
|Written by||Eli Roth|
by Eli Roth
|Music by||Nathan Barr|
|Edited by||George Folsey Jr.|
|Box office||$35.6 million|
Hostel: Part II is a 2007 American horror film written and directed by Eli Roth, and starring Lauren German, Roger Bart, Heather Matarazzo, Bijou Phillips, and Richard Burgi, while Jay Hernandez briefly reprises his role from the first film. The sequel to Roth's Hostel (2005), the film was produced by Chris Briggs, Mike Fleiss, and Eli Roth, with Boaz Yakin, Scott Spiegel, and Quentin Tarantino serving as executive producers. The plot follows three American female art students in Rome who are directed to a Slovak village where they are kidnapped and taken to a facility in which rich clients pay to torture and kill people.
After the significant box office receipts of 2005's Hostel, Roth conceived a sequel set directly after the events of the first film, opting to include three female protagonists to "up the ante." Filming took place in the fall of 2006 in Prague at Barrandov Studios, with additional photography occurring in Iceland and Slovakia.
Banned from theatrical release in several countries, Hostel: Part II had its world premiere at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City on June 6, 2007, and was released theatrically in the United States two days later, on June 8. The film earned less than its predecessor at the box office, grossing $17 million in the United States by the end of its theatrical run whereas the original made $19 million in its opening weekend alone. Prior to its theatrical release, a workprint of the film leaked on the Internet, and one publication at the time claimed it was the "most pirated film ever", which Roth suggested was a factor in the film's box office returns.
Shortly after the events of Hostel, Paxton is suffering from nightmares as a result of PTSD and lives in seclusion with his girlfriend Stephanie in the United States. After an argument between the couple where she denounces Paxton's paranoia as exaggerated and insufferable, Stephanie awakens to find his decapitated corpse in their kitchen. Meanwhile, an unmarked box containing Paxton's severed head is delivered to Elite Hunting boss Sasha.
In Rome, three American art students, Beth, Whitney, and Lorna, are convinced by Axelle, a nude model they are sketching, to join her on a luxurious spa vacation in Slovakia. The four check into a hostel, where the desk clerk uploads their passport photos to an auction website. American businessman Todd submits the winning bids on Whitney and Beth for himself and his passive best friend Stuart and they travel to Slovakia.
Later that night, at the village's weekend-long harvest festival, Lorna discovers that Beth has inherited a vast fortune from her mother. Stuart and Todd attend the festival, where Stuart approaches Beth and the two share a friendly conversation. Meanwhile, Lorna is invited by a local man, Roman, on a boat ride. In a secluded area downstream, Roman incapacitates her before kidnapping her. Beth and Whitney leave the festival, and Axelle volunteers to wait for Lorna.
The following morning, Lorna wakes up hung upside down, naked, with her wrists chained behind her back. A woman enters the room and lies naked in a bathtub beneath her. She then uses a scythe to repeatedly slash Lorna's back, and bathes in Lorna's blood before slashing her throat. Meanwhile, Beth, Whitney, Axelle, and a local man, Miroslav, head to a spa to relax. Beth dozes off, and when she wakes up, she finds that she is alone and her belongings have been stolen. While looking for her friends, she is pursued by several men and flees the spa. In the woods, she is ambushed by a gang of violent street children, but is saved by Sasha and Axelle.
Later at Sasha's remote mansion, Beth is again pursued by the men who chased her earlier, and realizes Sasha and Axelle are behind it. She tries to hide and discovers a room filled with human trophy heads before she is captured and taken to the factory. Having been notified via pager, Todd and Stuart are chauffeured to the factory. Stuart enters his room where Beth is strapped to a chair. He initially expresses guilt and remorse, but ultimately chooses to follow through with killing her.
Meanwhile, Todd terrorizes Whitney with a power saw, but loses his nerve after accidentally scalping her. Horrified by what he has done, he tries to leave, but one of the guards informs him he is contractually obligated to kill her. Todd refuses, prompting the other guards to turn savage dogs loose on him, who maul Todd to death. The Elite Hunting representatives try to find someone else to finish off Whitney and inquire with other patrons, including an Italian man who is eating Miroslav alive. Stuart is approached by the representatives, and after discovering that Todd has been killed, he accepts the offer and beheads her.
When Stuart returns, Beth seduces him into untying her from the chair. Stuart attempts to rape her, but she fights him off and chains him to the chair. She demands the code to the cell door from Stuart, but still needs to be buzzed through, which inadvertently summons Sasha and the guards. Beth offers to buy her freedom with part of her inheritance, but Sasha explains that in order to leave, she must also kill someone. When Stuart insults Beth, she cuts off his genitals and tosses them to one of the guard dogs, leaving him to bleed to death. Per the standard contract, Beth is given an Elite Hunting tattoo, making her an official member.
That night, Axelle is lured from the village harvest festival into the woods by the street children, where she is surprised by Beth. After Beth beheads her with an axe, the children start playing soccer with Axelle's severed head.
- Lauren German as Beth Salinger
- Bijou Phillips as Whitney Swerling
- Heather Matarazzo as Lorna Weisenfreund
- Vera Jordanova as Axelle
- Roger Bart as Stuart
- Richard Burgi as Todd
- Milan Kňažko as Sasha Rassimov
- Stanislav Ianevski as Miroslav
- Milda Havlas as Desk Clerk Jedi
- Jay Hernandez as Paxton
- Jordan Ladd as Stephanie
- Roman Janecka as Roman
- Patrik Zigo as Bubblegum Gang Leader
- Luc Merenda as Italian Detective
- Edwige Fenech as Art Class Professor
- Monika Malacova as Mrs Bathory
- Zuzana Geislerová as Inya
- Ivan Furak as Big Guard
- Lillian Malkina as Make-up Woman
- Ruggero Deodato as Italian Cannibal
Roth sought Lauren German for the lead role based on her performance in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003). "Lauren has a sense of humor, but she can also handle those horrific, intense moments," explained Roth. "I needed an actress who would be so vulnerable and so likeable, but then really strong when she needs to be. Even though Lauren probably weighs ninety pounds soaking wet and looks like a princess, you feel like she's kicking ass." Bijou Phillips was cast as Whitney after impressing Roth with her audition. For the part of Lorna, Roth had Heather Matarazzo in mind from the beginning; she flew to Los Angeles to read for the part, unaware that Roth was meeting to offer it to her.
Vera Jordanova was cast as Axelle, a female antagonist, while former Slovak Minister of Culture and actor Milan Kňažko, was given the role of Sasha, the Russian mafia member and ringleader of the torture factory. "The fact that Sasha was Russian was one of the reasons I accepted this role," Kňažko joked. "We Slovaks are still a little bit angry over the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet army." To play Stuart and Todd, the American businessmen who are "emblematic of the more extreme sides of human nature and the dark shadow of First World materialism," Roth cast Roger Bart and Richard Burgi.
Principal photography began on September 11, 2006, in Prague's Barrandov Studios. Much of the underground tunnel sequences in the torture factory were filmed in sets constructed at the studio, while additional photography took place in and around Prague. The unnamed village where the protagonists stay and attend the harvest festival is Český Krumlov, located in the Czech Republic's South Bohemian Region. The brick-and-mortar exteriors of the factory were constructed by production designer Robert Wilson King, and based on real abandoned factories he and Roth had toured abroad. Roth shot scenes for the film in the brothel Big Sister, and the spa sequence was shot on location at the Blue Lagoon near Reykjavík in Iceland.
—Bijou Phillips, on performing her torture scene in the film
The special effects in the film were created by Gregory Nicotero and Howard Berger, who had worked with Roth on the previous film. Actress Phillips claimed that her torture sequence, which entails her being scalped by a power saw, required around forty-five setups. "I don't think I could do something like this again," she stated in a 2007 interview. "I'm glad that I had the experience, and I love my job, but we went into places that I didn't know existed, and I don't need to do that again." Matarazzo's elaborate murder sequence required the actress to hang upside down, nude, with her hands chained to her back. Matarazzo performed the scene herself, and was hung upside down in five-minute intervals over a period of two days.
Marketing and press
Lionsgate devised several one sheet posters for the film in late 2006 and early 2007, the first of which consisted merely of a closeup of what appeared to be torn flesh. This poster, released in December 2006, yielded complaints from American theater patrons, and it was removed from theaters.
A second poster, released in February 2007, showed a side profile of actress Bijou Phillips nude, holding her own severed head. The two posters were subsequently combined, with the image of Phillips transposed over the first poster. A third poster, showing Matarazzo hanging upside down, was also released. On May 11, 2007, the final one sheet was released, which showed Roger Bart standing in a darkened corridor, holding a power drill in front of his groin.
To promote the film's upcoming release, Lionsgate screened the first five minutes of Hostel: Part II before select screenings of Bug, which opened on May 25, 2007. On June 6, 2007, the film was given an advance screening at the Museum of the Moving Image, and featured a Q&A session with Roth afterward.
The film has been restricted to adults in most countries. However, it has been cut in Germany, and the "German Extended Version" (in which Lorna's torture and death scene is still not shown completely) has subsequently been banned in Germany. A court in Munich ruled the release of the film (in its cut or uncut form) to be punishable by law. The film was banned outright in New Zealand upon submission to the ratings board, after the distributor refused to make cuts in order to receive an R18 certificate. However, it would later receive a release in edited form in New Zealand on DVD in 2008.
On October 8, 2007, the film was cited in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom as an example where stills from the film could be illegal to possess under the proposed law to criminalise possession of "extreme pornography". MP Charles Walker claimed that although he had never seen the film, he was "assured by trusted sources" that "From beginning to end it depicts obscene, misogynistic acts of brutality against women."
Censorship of the film received some backlash from the public: Writer and attorney Julie Hilden defended the film, both critically and artistically, in her essay "Why are critics so hostile to Hostel: Part II?", published after the film's theatrical release. In it, Hilden wrote, "Many of the visceral depictions of violence in these [types of] movies conveyed strong messages that no viewer could miss. Ironically, these messages, especially in the Hostel films, are typically anti-violence."
Hostel: Part II was released in Australia June 7, 2007. It was released in the United States the following day, June 8, where it opened at number 6 at the box office, and earning $8.2 million during its opening weekend on 2,350 screens, averaging $3,490 per theater. The film grossed a total of $17.6 million domestically. It was released three weeks later in the United Kingdom on June 29. Internationally, the film grossed $18 million, making for a total worldwide gross of $35.6 million.
The film grossed less than half of what its predecessor did, released during a period the Los Angeles Times characterized as a "slump" for horror films. Comparatively, the original opened at #1 with $19 million ($2 million more than Hostel: Part II's final gross) and went on to make over $47 million.
Leading up to the film's June 8 release in the United States, pirated DVD copies of a rough cut of the film surfaced among street vendors. Director Eli Roth blamed the piracy for the film's lower-than-anticipated box office results. In a 2007 article, the New Zealand publication Newshub stated that Hostel: Part II was the most-pirated film of all time, having been illegally downloaded on the Internet by millions of users.
Internet review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes shows the film has a 44% approval rating based on 110 reviews; the average rating is 5/10. The site's consensus states: "Offering up more of the familiar sadism and gore, Hostel: Part II will surely thrill horror fans."
Several critics compared the film's production value and plot positively to its predecessor. In The Hollywood Reporter, Michael Rechtshaffen said the film was "a step up in virtually every aspect, from production values to its better focused storytelling and more fully developed characters." Similarly, Total Film described the film as a "superior beast" compared to the first film, with a "stupefying" technical advancement, a "satisfying" plot, and main characters who are "fun to hook up with." Elizabeth Weitzman of the New York Daily News also thought the film was "smarter and tougher than its predecessor."
Some film critics believed the film commented on wider geopolitical themes. Anthony Quinn, writing for The Independent, speculated that the film may offer a "subversive" commentary on American values. Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly believed the businessman ethos and auction-style bidding process in the film is similar to the real-life practices of the sex trafficking industry. In a retrospective assessment of the film in 2017, Mike Thorn of The Film Stage praised Hostel: Part II, citing perceived geopolitical undercurrents and its doubled narrative perspective as primary reasons: "By extending its narrative reach to include the Hostel "clients" as well as its prisoners, Part II deepens its moral and political insights. The audience is asked not only to empathize with the victims, but also to recognize its own complicity as spectators." By contrast, Nathan Lee of The Village Voice believed the film was "too goofy to disturb, too silly to scare" and described critics who saw a deeper meaning in the film as "bamboozled pseudo-intellectuals."
Negative critiques of the film commented on how similar the film was to its predecessor, as well as the film's lack of depth. In The Guardian, Phelim O'Neill wrote that the film was "virtually identical to the first outing," and that "everything, save the bloody third act, is handled in a rudimentary fashion." Jamie Russell of the BBC wrote that the plot similarity to the first film "elicits déjà vu" and that "Eli Roth returns with more bucks but less imagination. Laura Kern of The New York Times described the main characters of the film as "fractionally more tolerable than the moronic frat boys of Part 1," and that the director Eli Roth had "mastered the cheap sadism-as-entertainment gross-out."
The film was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award in the field of "Worst Excuse for a Horror Movie." Heather Matarazzo was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the 2007 Fright Meter Awards.
The film takes places in the aftermath of the events of the first Hostel (2005). In June 2008, it was announced that Scott Spiegel, one of the producers of both Hostel and Hostel: Part II, was in talks to write and direct a third film in the series. In July 2009, Eli Roth confirmed that he would not be directing Hostel: Part III. Unlike the previous installments, the film takes place in the United States, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Part III was released directly to DVD on December 27, 2011 in the United States.
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