Hostel: Part II (Unrated/Unseen Edition)
That's something that Roth does brilliantly well, the DVD release. He fills it with content that is interesting and informative, and that makes the DVD something more than the film, and indeed actually compliments the film and makes it better, as in the case of Hostel: Part II.
What I definitely did not get from it was what what some did, what I would term "critics-who-love-the-sound-of-their-own-voice-and-want-fame-for-themselves porn" Personally I think that's an obscene misrepresentation of horror films, and for whatever sub-genre you might think this is, should you decide you want to categorise films in such a controlling manner.
Actually I want to distance myself from those voices that seemed more intent in getting themselves noticed rather than writing for others about films. For me they lost their objectivity and leapt right into the midst of a debate which they started, focused on themselves and gaining recognition, fame and above all, site traffic, all from the direct attack on a series of films, some of which did not deserve.
You know I've even read the term "war porn" mentioned in an article. What next? Anyway, this review will not be referring to that statement again, and I'll be reviewing the DVD as I do all the DVD's I review.
This is the sequel to Hostel, and by sequel I mean the very original sense of the word, Hostel: Part II follows on immediately from the moment Hostel finished, however that is really to complete the Hostel story and move onto the experience of a new group of unlucky eastern European travellers.
The story follows three American college girls who have so very rarely travelled without all the comforts of hotels and western life that they seem oblivious to life and the many of the dangers of the real world. On holiday they meet several unsavoury characters, and after a few scares a woman who has befriended them entices them all to an eastern European spa.
Initially things are idyllic, however they begin to disappear, and when the final girl is left on her own we discover what is truly going on.
This film looks behind the scenes of the Hostel. Where the first was the experience of someone caught up in the workings of it, this time we see the organisation behind it, and how people are caught and sold for rich, and very sick, individuals.
1 hour 31 minutes
The film is covered in the previous cinema release review on Filmstalker. It received two stars, not a great score, and this was mainly down to the fact that I had such hopes for the film delving into the underbelly of the organisation which I think it only scratched the surface of. Perhaps there really is room for a third film.
The portrayal of the two male leads is really good, and watching their journey is interesting and surprising, but in the end it does return to familiar territory that we already covered in the first film.
The picture is good, but best when shooting dark scenes. In daylight it often looks a little washed out and harsh. In darker environments the dark is used really well and the colours are much richer and deeper, such as with blood. The DVD transfer is a good one, and although the lighter scenes aren't fantastic, it's the darkness and the spa scenes that turn out the best.
Dolby Digital 5.1
Just the one audio track on the disc, which was slightly disappointing, but a good DD5.1 track is better than nothing, and here it is good. It does make use of the rear speakers for some of the time, but your concentration is mostly up front.
Audio Commentary with Eli Roth; Audio Commentary with Eli Roth, Quentin Tarantino and Gabe Roth; Audio Commentary with Eli Roth, Lauren German, Vera Jordanova and Richard Burgi; Behind the scenes featurette; Special effects featurette; Set Design featurette; Blood and Guts blooper reel; International TV special; The Treatment radio interview with Eli Roth; Deleted Scenes.
This is where Roth really does put in a lot of effort, and it feels like he's rewarding the DVD buyer. With three audio tracks and plenty of behind the scenes and additional material you're definitely going to get a great insight into the film.
Audio Commentary with Eli Roth
This is neither the first choice nor the first billed audio track on the disc, however I'm listing it here first as it should be the first port of call for the viewer. Roth gives us some fascinating insights to the film and the process behind it, all the way from scripting to marketing. I always find Roth excels in the audio commentary aspect of discs, and with this one it's no different. This is the definitive audio commentary.
Audio Commentary with Eli Roth, Quentin Tarantino and Gabe Roth
Let's face it, this one is more about Quentin Tarantino than anyone else, although he does allow the conversation to move to the film and how the Roth brothers work together, in fact he's much more inclusive than you would expect. Also, despite the comprehensive commentary from Eli Roth himself, there's still more to be heard and learn about, in particular the conversation about influencial older horror films.
Audio Commentary with Eli Roth, Lauren German, Vera Jordanova and Richard Burgi
This has to be the most painful commentary I've ever heard and goes to show why some actors don't often indulge in commentaries. Roth struggles with his actors trying to get them to give any sort of meaningful insight into the film and the process, as more often than not we get simple agreements from them with Roth prompting and pushing for something more. This is mostly painful to listen to.
Behind the scenes featurette, Special effects featurette and Set Design featurette, International TV special
These offer even more insight into the film and what goes on behind the scenes, all providing the more interested audience member with extra access to the film-making process.
Blood and Guts blooper reel, Deleted Scenes
Amusing but not altogether hilarious, this represents some of the mistakes and outtakes from the film, there aren't too many and they don't tend to go too far, which is a shame! Well, maybe the last one does.
The Treatment radio interview with Eli Roth
Eli Roth is interviewed about the Hostel films and his directorial career for a radio show. So although you are sitting staring at a static shot for the entirety, the audio is somewhat interesting for Roth fans - do like I did and listen while ironing! Perhaps they could have considered adding a gallery slideshow in the background to give it a visual kick too.
The animated menus are not too bad and contain some interesting images, the main animated hallway is rather well done and gives you a sneak peak at some of the tortures going on in the room at the end.
Although I thought that the film doesn't have as much depth and insight as the first Hostel, it is made a measurably better experience with the addition of the in depth multiple commentaries from Eli Roth.
Something I felt the film lacked was a little depth to the organisation, as when I watched the film I felt that we were being shown some looks at the behind the scenes, but nothing ever deeper than a quick look. With the audio commentaries this seemed to be expanded and watching the film again with Eli Roth makes you see more connections to the organisation within the story. It gives it a little more depth.
The extras continue to be the strongest part of an Eli Roth DVD offering, and there never seems to be any half measures and thrown together extras, he really does make something that the fans will find interesting.