I had a seriously hard time reviewing the first Hostel, too. That time, I think the problem that was it was entirely plausible from start to finish, so it was hard to criticize any part of it. And since I try not to go the spoiler route, there wasn’t much left to present but vignettes. Hostel II is less plausible, although still quite good. Where the first movie had an underground torture-murder society that operated out of a run down factory and advertised to the wealthy via fliers, this one has an elite internet bidding system and an impenetrable fortress with five different kinds of security that I can think of offhand. Which, while good for the wealthy murderous clients, is unfortunate for potential sequels. There’s a fine line to be tread between knowing good guys will survive and knowing they won’t; at the former extreme, the movie is too predictable, and at the latter, it’s too oppressive.
Anyhow, despite these sequel-destroying differences, the movie is basically a duplicate of the original. Which is exactly how a horror movie is supposed to work, so this is definitely a point in favor. Instead of a trio of guys in search of easy European sex, our hero-victims are a trio of girls in search of relaxing European mineral spas. And instead of a bunch of cardboard cut-out bad guys and a two-dimensional antagonist, we have a two-dimensional mastermind and a couple of fully realized antagonists. So, less nudity versus a deeper plot. And you know, until I put it like that, I was thinking that this marked an improvement in the overall experience. Man, that would have been embarrassing.
It was a good movie and a worthy sequel. Its main flaw is one that is unavoidable in almost every horror sequel (and most first movies, for that matter) ever made: not enough real tension. The majority of the tension that drove the original is necessarily removed from this one due to the lack of novelty. On the other hand, there was a scene in which Anne Rice bathed in the blood of a virgin. You have to admit, that’s pretty cool!