Director: Scott Spiegel
Cast: Kip Pardue, Brian Hallisay, John Hensley, Sarah Habel, Chris Coy
Four friends in Las Vegas for a bachelor party are enticed to attend a private party away from the hustle and bustle of the Strip. They agree, and once there are kidnapped and systematically forced to be players in a sadistic game of torture, Vegas style.
Eli Roth’s original Hostel took the horror world by storm in 2006, and deservedly so. It presented a realistic concept that, chances are, has and is happening somewhere in the world as we speak. Couple the concept with Roth's slick, competent and fierce direction, and the result was one of the most grueling and heart-pounding films to gain a theatrical release during the last decade With Hostel II, Roth amped up the gore and mean-spiritedness of the film to mixed reception and disappointing box office returns. Still, it was a worthy sequel to the first and critics are probably a tad too harsh on it than they should be. Hostel III, when first announced, raised quite a few eyebrows for a few reasons; first, Roth was not going to direct or be involved, and second, the action was moving to Sin City. Many proclaimed the film would be garbage before it even began filming, but many horror fans and fans of the first two films held out hope. After all, the new director, Scott Spiegel, is responsible for one of the standout slasher films of the last 80’s, Intruder. And it is that fact that makes it difficult to admit that the film, like many first suspected, is just not very good.
While Hostel III is very competent on a technical level, everything else about the film falls completely flat. While the first two films had characters who were developed and likable, the characters in this film are shallow and one dimensional. Moreover, each of the actors who portray them do not seem to understand exactly what type of film they are in, as their reactions and dialogue delivery does not mesh with the action on screen and is much more suited for a melodramatic prime time soap opera. There is no connection made between the audience and the characters, which certainly sinks the main intention of these films. Moving the action to brightly lit and heavily populated Vegas sucks away another important aspect as to why the first two films worked. In the predecessors, the torture rooms were desolate and dirty. The gloomy atmosphere of these rooms aided in increasing the discomfort the viewer felt. The audience knew that even if, by chance, the victim escaped, they were far removed from any hint of civilization. Hostel III abandons that for aesthetically pleasing, sanitized torture rooms that just are not as effective at building any sort of foreboding tone. Additionally, the death scenes themselves pack nowhere near the punch that they should. Sure, having an audience watching and betting on the method in which the psychopath with choose to kill the helpless victim may have sounded good on paper, but its execution here is silly and ineffective. While the previous films did a great job and illustrating an intimate relationship between victim and aggressor and, in the more interesting instances, showed the internal struggles that the aggressor was facing in actually going through with the homicidal opportunity he paid for, there is virtually no emotional tension in this film. In fact, absolutely no characterization is given to the killers and the death scenes, which were so brilliantly meticulous in their methodical build up in the previous films, are rushed here. This, paired with the lack of audience connection with the characters leads to zero impact during these scenes. The climax of the film is predictable and corny and, much like most of the rest of the film, leaves the viewer thinking "Ehhhh.....really?"
Maybe it is unfair to so highly criticize this entry for abandoning the style and atmosphere of its predecessors. After all, generally its admirable when a filmmaker takes an established concept in a whole new direction. Unfortunately, Hostel III goes about it in an lifeless, uninspired manner that just does not match the ferocity of the subject matter. And while it hits the mark in the technical department, nothing else about the film deserves the attention of horror fans. The better gamble would be to just pick up a copy of either of the first two films
Fright Meter Grade:
Fright Meter Grade: