So here I am expecting the motherfucking Sacre du Printemps of slasher flicks and I end up with a passably made gorefest considerably less brutalizing than my rush-hour subway ride to the Times Square premiere.
Routinely plotted and predictable in its ironies, H2 duplicates the original scenario but flips the gender. So long, frat boys it´s ladies night! The meat puppets include Lauren German as the nice girl with a trust fund, Bijou Phillips as the slut, and Heather Matarazzo as the dork. En route to Prague, they´re lured by yet another crypto-lesbo (Vera Jordanova) into a Slovakian snuff club where high-rolling psychopaths bid top dollar for the pleasure of killing. In what passes for innovation here, Roger Bart and Richard Burgi costar as clients in a subplot that follows their murderous preparations, complete with homoerotic undercurrents and cornball alpha male psychodrama.
Going behind the scenes of the death club, Roth invents the hilariously nefarious mastermind Sasha (Milan Knazko), a haute-Euro bogeyman with tacky taste in tchotchkes, a ball-breaking henchwoman, and two big, droopy bloodhounds. The effect is pure Blofeld. Indeed, the bigger budget has aggrandized Hostel´s sleazy abattoir-chic into Bond-like camp of production design. Beginning with the handsome, candle-lit dungeon spa, the torture sequences advance to the velvety dining parlor of a cannibalistic aesthete who munches on the thigh sashimi of a strapping (and strapped down) young lad. Meanwhile, across the hall, a plump, fey hairdresser grooms the girls for their customers in a well-appointed dressing room.
And the violence? Very nasty indeed, if neutered by Roth´s pathetic desperation to shock. The most disturbing thing about this implausibly R-rated spectacle is what it says about the double standard of the MPAA. Apparently, you can linger over a cock in close-up so long as it´s being cut in half by a pair of scissors. Getting an audience to whoop in pleasure at graphic castration is less an expression of some twisted feminist agenda, as our disingenuous auteur would have us believe, than a dirty little YouTube stunt writ large.
Ends up there is a moral to the story, one sure to delight the bamboozled pseudo-intellectuals who laughably defended Hostel as a geo-political critique of American arrogance and the culture of torture. Having survived her ordeal in classic Final Girl style, our mega-rich heroine simply buys her way to freedom. Eli Roth punks capitalism all the way to the bank with cheap tricks and bankrupt imagination.