Hostel Part II 

If unadulterated gory horror is your thing (and if it's not, tune out now), then you remember how the first Hostel ended. Backpacker Paxton (Jay Hernandez) escapes his torture chamber then dispatches his would-be killer in a train station restroom. Part II picks up where the first one left off, quickly disposing of Paxton and beginning a new story line featuring three American coeds unwittingly traveling to the same Eastern European lodgings as in the original.

In short order, writer/director Eli Roth reveals that his sequel is far more interested in exploring the killers' viewpoints rather than the victims'. By the end of the first installment, viewers know that rich folks are paying top dollar to torture and murder kidnapped hostel tenants. Part II kicks off with an eBay-style online auction of the American girls' lives, making their impending doom feel like a game­—for bidders and viewers alike.

In a DVD special feature, Roth said that women who liked his first film complained there was too much female nudity, so to compensate, he added some naked men. Part II has plenty of blood, but with a surprise ending now unnecessary, Roth gets a bit more artistic with his shots and music selection, albeit in a deeply disturbing way.

It's a timely release since many will be clamoring for scary titles to watch this Halloween, but the Hostel films aren't really advancing the genre. The makeup and visual effects are better, yet there aren't any real scares or suspense ... just gore.

These videos courtesy of Hollywood Video, 590 Broadway Ave., 208-342-6117.

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