Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Midnight Horror Review: Hostel & Hostel Part II: Horror Double Feature

I watch many different genres of horror including the controversial "torture porn," which is what modern "splatter films" are now called. The 2005 film Hostel was the first to be labeled "torture porn," though the new genre trend really started in 2004 with the original Saw. These types of films rely less on horror and more on gore.

Yesterday, Mill Creek Entertainment released the Horror Double Feature Blu-ray + DVD set ($14.98) featuring the director's  cut of Hostel and its sequel Hostel Part II (unrated director's cut). The only special feature on the two-disc set is an "Alternate Director's Cut Ending," which is only included on the DVD.

Presented by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Eli Roth, Hostel (2005; 94 minutes) centers on two American tourist, Paxton and Josh, (played by Jay Hernandez and Derek Richardson) backpacking across Europe with their Icelandic pal Óli (played by Eyþór Guðjónsson). They travel to Amsterdam, where the trio have only have two things on their minds - parting and women. Shortly after arriving, they are told if they want to have a good time, then they need to go to the hostel in Slovakia, which is exactly what they do. Unfortunately, that was their biggest mistake. Unknowingly to them, Slovakia is home to a secret elite hunting group, where tourist are kidnapped and are given to the rich to be tortured to death.

Eli Roth returned to write and direct Hostel Part II (2007; 95 minutes). The sequel centers on three American art students, Beth, Whitney, and Lorna (played by Lauren German, Bijou Phillips, and Heather Matarazzo) traveling to Slovakia for a vacation, but shortly upon arriving they are kidnapped the same "hunting" group from the first movie and are sold off to be tortured by the wealthy.

Final Thoughts

It's been a few years since I've seen Hostel & Hostel Part II. (The less I say about Hostel Part III, the better!) I never realized how dumb the dialogue is for the first film. Half of the movie feels like a stoner comedy; well, that is until the characters are kidnapped and tortured. There's enough suspense in the second act to keep my interests afloat. Personally, I liked Hostel Part II better, as it's better made than the original. It doesn't try to out do the gore and nudity that was in the first film; it just does its own thing.

This is what I would call a bargain Blu-ray/DVD, so don't expect amazing video quality. There are only two discs (DVD & Blu-ray) on this release, which means both films are shoved onto each disc. The video qualities on the DVD are a bit grainy at times. The film quality is much better on the Blu-ray, but the color feels a tad off at times. The DVD has individual menus for the movies while the Blu-ray doesn't have menus. The "Alternate Director's Cut Ending"for Hostel is only included on the DVD.

Hostel & Hostel Part II aren't for everyone. You have to be the type of horror fan who loves gore to appreciate the films. While I enjoyed watching the Blu-ray + DVD combo pack, I wish the video qualities were better. I would only recommend this release to horror fans who don't already own the films.

*Note - I received a review copy from Mill Creek Entertainment.
All opinions are my own.

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