Both men and women meet grisly ends in Hostel: Part II, a gory but hoary addition to the torture porn cycle. Enfant terrible Eli Roth returns with more bucks but less imagination for a sequel to his 2005 shocker about Inter-Railing American backpackers dragged off the rails to sadistically slow deaths. Lauren German (A Walk To Remember) and Bijou Phillips (Havoc) lead the gender-switched cast as the girls who discover that life's cheap in Eastern Europe.
Quentin Tarantino once called protégé Eli Roth "The Future of Horror". Hostel: Part II proves how wrong he was. Roth's tame sequel to his over-hyped sophomore effort is so safe, dollar-hungry and depressingly cynical it's unlikely to be the future of anything (except perhaps the inevitable Hostel: Part III). A strong opening ties up loose ends from the previous outing, but the film soon elicits déjà vu as skanky Yanks head off to Slovakia again. This time they're girls not guys, though it makes little difference once Roth reaches for the power tools and the screaming starts.
"ALL THE REALISM OF AN ABBATOIR"
Among the sadists are two Americans (Roger Bart and Richard Burgi), whose introduction to Slovakian snuff gives the movie its most disconcerting scenes. In the torture chamber, the film finds its backbone: gloopy special effects from industry leaders Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger give electric saw trauma, nose biting and (literal) blood baths all the realism of an abattoir. Roth knows his video nasties - there's a slyly funny cameo from Cannibal Holocaust's Ruggero Deodato - but he's a sick little puppy who prefers to play his horror for yuk, yuk, yuks. If he ever grows up, his bite might be worthy of his bark.
Hostel: Part II is out in the UK on 29th June 2007.