Saturday, July 5, 2008

Hostel Part Review

Hostel: Part II.

Has no one asked Eli Roth about the heavy use of Holocaust imagery in the Hostel series, perhaps soon to be part 3? Yes he's Jewish and there it is, from the factories to the sinister Europeans and WASP businessmen to the point blank execution of children. These are images that stick in the fertile imaginations of Jewish yuppie puppies, their connection to the unimaginable of being methodically and cold-bloodedly killed by those with the time to organize it only a generation away.

Roth's other influences - and they do seem influences, rather than Tarantino-style lifts - are filmic. Unfortunately like Tarantino, that seems to be the brunt of his experience. His depiction of a Slovakian village as a sinister force was a bit more theatrical, less verite, and this actually dilutes the more disturbing aspects of the story from coming out. Roth is too much an entertainer than provocateur.

The ability to make the truly repulsive campy and shocking here is the mainstream, big-budgeted version of the bloody knock-knock joke humor of Troma's The Toxic Avenger, Bloodsucking Freaks or Mother's Day with the eager reenactment of Giallo movies like Torso is a good one.

Roth doesn't seem to notice his own influence, though the dvds have a total of 10 commentary tracks by him and others, so he must get around to mentioning Aushwitz somewhere, right? I remember reading he knocks the Bush administration and the film itself name-drops Katrina, but the equation of Gitmo officers with a cannibal sadist played by the animal-snuffing director of Cannibal Holocaust would be par for shrill course for anyone redefining torture as they see fit. That's the bit of zeigeist on display for future generations.


Cannibal Holocaust director Ruggero Deodato

The European™ dressings, which are ornate, betray the more primal fear being exploited by the "torture porn" stir. This isn't porn after all. Just mean-spiritedness with a contradictory need to please. And with about as much dialogue.

I never thought I'd find myself defending this film, but there you go.

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