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Hostel: Part III (2011)
1st Mar 12
Plot Hostel meets The Hangover as four irksome American buddies head to Las Vegas for a bachelor party only to end up as potential victims of Elite Hunting.
When director Eli Roth followed up on his flawed but fun flesh-eating disease flick Cabin Fever with the much hyped and sensationalised Hostel EatmyBrains informed that 'it's time to cut Eli some slack and look back to the West with a new hope; Hostel displays great promise' awarding the box office hit with a respectable three and a half stars. Along with the beginnings of the successful Sawfranchise Roth's Hostel signaled a change in America's commercial horror output. Out went variable remakes of Asian horror flicks and in came 'torture porn' and movies whose reputation for spilling the red stuff overtook trying to spook an audience with genuine chills.
Roth's movie saw three young back-packers travelling across Europe stopping off at a hostel in Slovakia when told about the beautiful babes there. Their indulgence in the good times is short-lived when they all end up as prey for Elite Hunting, a company who specialize in providing rich clientele with innocents for them to mutilate and do with as they will. Roth managed to send up America's ignorance of a world outside their own shores and having young men rather than the genre norm of women as the victims.
With Hostel: Part II Roth improved on his template by having more sympathetic characters, although reverting to type with women as the potential victims, and providing more of a background to the type of people that make up Elite Hunting's client base. However paying audiences were less fussed by all the Roth fuss second time round and the box office suffered (Hostel grossed just over $80million worldwide to Hostel: Part II's $35.6million from a budget twice that of the original) and since then he has not directed a film.
After serving as executive producer whilst Roth called the shots Scott Spiegel takes over writing and directing duties on Hostel: Part III. Spiegel previously directed another direct-to-retail release From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money and was co-writer for the rather delicious Evil Dead II:Dead by Dawn. He manages to pull off some surprises in the plotting and deliver the expected splat in an early sequence and towards the end; however elsewhere though you're left wanting.
Opening with a sequence that delivers one of the movie’s few agreeable and unexpected twists Hostel: Part III soon settles into exposition mode as we are introduced to bland bridegroom-to-be Carter McMullen (Kip Pardue) and his buddies Justin (John Hensley), the irritating Mike (Skyler Stone) and Scott (Brian Hallisay) the only agreeable fella in the bunch. All four are off to Las Vegas for Carter’s bachelor party after telling his missus he was off to Palm Springs instead so no one knows where the foursome really are; so if they get into trouble then who really knows where they are! Oh no!
Soon they are invited by two escorts to join them at a party at a ‘mysterious’ club off the Strip. Their cab driver doesn’t set the meter running and the location they arrive at is hardly enticing but being four lads out for some drunken debauchery and possible sexiness they enter the premises. The next morning the foursome awake without their loathsome buddy Mike to be seen or heard from - however it’s not long before they find out what fate their friend befell. The Elite Hunting Club have transferred their torture outfit from Europe to appeal to the high stakes betting clientele of Las Vegas with their punters betting on whether a victim will beg for their life or how many arrows it will take before one dies and our bachelor party are next for punters to bet on their demise.
To those that have veered away from the Hostel movies due to their 'torture porn' tag would do well to check this out as it's like Hostel but with all the thrills slashed out of it....Hostel-lite if you will. It's a paradox as you’re paying to watch a movie about people paying to enjoy seeing innocents tortured and killed and feel instead like it's you the viewer that has been tortured and your trust in the franchise killed instead.
The movie does have the odd saving grace in terms of the aforementioned surprises in the plotting and for dispatching with the most irritating bachelor party buddy first but why oh why it is a bunch of buddies in an American movie always have to be such a disagreeable mix of arseholes? There is the slight exception of crutch-using Scott but then actor Brian Hallisay is a better actor than the material permits with his scenes being the strongest and more engaging in the movie purely on the strength of his performance.
The director admits to shooting gore but mindful of what Sony might think he consciously didn't film as much as he could now saying he should have shot more. He bloody should have! One gruesome scene of face peeling towards the start of the movie is pretty much all there is until the climax when the red stuff is more liberally splashed about. In-between though it’s as dull as you'd expect from a direct-to-retail flick. Having arrows fired into someone until they croak or having bugs pouring into someone's mouth are just a tad lacking on the thrill-o-meter after the cock chop and the Bathory-styled flaying from the Eli Roth directed original and first sequel.
Hostel: Part III feels more like a pilot for a TV show rather than a sequel to two movies that pushed the envelope in terms of on-screen shocks. OK so this IS made for direct-to-video and therefore lacks the budget to provide ample red stuff however it still doesn't explain why there is an 18 certificate on the front. Part III does it's best to hoodwink those familiar with the franchise by going the other way sometimes with the plotting but there’s no denying that its sole purpose is to trade in on audience goodwill and fleece them with below par fare and with that in mind it deserves to remain left off from your purchase/rental wish list.