22 September 2012

September 22nd

Hostel: Part III (2011) directed by Scott Spiegel
There's a glimmer of a great idea in this second sequel.  Rich folks pay to watch people get tortured and gamble on certain aspects of the proceedings.  The setup is a modern version of the Grand Guignol, with patrons observing the show from the comfort of theater seats and real torture replacing the special effects on the stage.  This is an excellent starting position to dish out some commentary on the horror genre.  Why do we horror fans like to watch this stuff?  Where's the line between theatrical and entertaining, and truly disturbing?  Is the coarsening of our culture desensitizing us to the suffering of others?  Kind of like what Cabin in the Woods did, except specifically for "torture porn."  But, yeah, none that is explored one iota here.

And, taken as merely a Hostel movie, it's a failure.  The new tortures they come up with are lame.  CGI cockroaches and crossbow bolts?  Come on.  The new betting aspect is never explored.  The movie is full of twists you can see coming a mile away (hey, you think the Eastern European couple at the beginning might end up as victims this time?).  The movie is so enamored of its twists, it spends half of its running time trying to convince us the escorts are with the bad guys, making a huge chunk of the movie a pseudo-documentary about some guy's bachelor party.  The overall result is a very weak horror film that seems to pick all of the safest choices.

In some slight defense of the film, I will say it was unique to see how nuts main character/good guy Scott goes once he's trying to escape.  He has no trouble at all cutting a piece of his friend's skin off, brutally stabbing that friend, or repeatedly cleaving a man's arm and then throwing it in a furnace.  This was a nice change from the "run away and tip over things behind you" or "setup some traps and run away" type of horror movie escape we typically see.

Watched: stream on Netflix.

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