When Eli Roth debuted Hostel in 2005, audiences all over the world were shocked by its graphic content and intense nature. The story, for those that have not seen it, follows a group of male Americans who are travelling throughout Europe. They run into the Elite Hunting Club – a club where rich businessmen will pay to kill backpackers in ways they desire. One by one the members of the group are picked off and it is up to the final member of the group (played by Jay Hernandez) to escape. The film was a commercial and critical success worldwide.
Cover of Hostel (Unrated Widescreen Edition)
This lead Roth to release Hostel Part II in 2007. The story was similar to the original, however in this film the American backpackers are a group of girls. The kill scenes are more creative and more graphic, and the story itself delved into the backstory of the Elite Hunting Club and gave audiences insight into how it functions – something that the original left as a mystery.
Which brings us to Hostel Part III which is the first film in the franchise that is not directed by Eli Roth: instead Scott Spiegel, a producer of many horror films including Hostel and Hostel Part II, takes the helm of this installment. The plot centres around a group of American men out in Las Vegas on Scott’s (played by Brian Hallisay) bachelor party. On the first night they meet two American girls who suggest they go to a nightclub off the Strip and in the suburbs. The boys agree to go and end up having a good night at this club. The morning after, they find that one of the group is missing – they assume he spent the night with one of the girls they met at the club. In the true Hostel vein, one by one the group end up being kidnapped by the Elite Hunting Club and are killed. The difference with this film is that the killing takes place in front of a large group of people, in some sort of macabre theatre, and the clients bid on various methods of killing the victims.
The story does not enlighten us further on the workings of the Elite Hunting Club (all we are inferred is that they obviously have a branch set up in Las Vegas) and thus it doesn’t feel much like a sequel – it could serve as a stand-alone film. I do not really think that it deserves the title of ‘Part III‘ as it does not contribute to the over-arching mythology set by its predecessors. The reason the first two films worked so well was because they were set in parts of Europe far away from the States in their own community, so we imagine that people could actually disappear whilst backpacking around that area. However, in Part III, the fact that it is set in Las Vegas makes us start to question the film: are we really supposed to believe that people have been missing in Vegas and the police haven’t found any trace of the Elite Hunting Club? Surely the American police would’ve investigated the disappearances of all the missing people and haven’t found anything? To me that sounds far-fetched.
The kills themselves are not very…creative. While the first two films seemed dark, gritty and realistic, Part III almost feels clinical: everything is well-lit and running as though it is procedure: there is no intensity that was present in the first two. The special and visual effects were not as good as the first two and there was nowhere near enough gore and stomach-turning moments to class it as a member of the Hostel franchise.
To summarise, it is a decent stab (pardon the pun) at a Hostel style film, however the storyline and the level of gore really lets it down. If you are bored and looking for something to watch one afternoon, orif you haven’t seen the first two films then why not give Hostel Part III a go.