Hostel: Part III (2011)

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*. This is a movie that was pretty roundly dissed on its (direct-to-DVD) release, but I think it’s underrated. Yes, it’s a big step down in terms of talent and budget from the previous Hostel films (and they were not expensive productions in the first place). But it does what it can, and there are some things it does quite well.
*. They had to mix things up a bit. Hostel: Part II was essentially a remake of Hostel, just substituting girls for boys. They couldn’t go back to the factory in the Czech Republic a third time, so instead they get away from “head office” by taking a road trip to Vegas. Not a bad idea.
*. I didn’t think they needed to put the Elite Hunting sanctuary in that giant James Bond-villain complex (it’s Detroit’s Masonic Temple), standing all alone out in the desert. That’s not exactly the best way to avoid attention, is it? Given how well they introduced the idea of a tawdry and run-down barbarity just behind the neon of the Vegas strip (the movie was actually shot in Detroit, which helped in this regard), I think the hunting society could have easily located their torture palace just off the main drag somewhere without anyone being the wiser.

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*. I wonder what this franchise did for the sale of ball gags.
*. The story is good. The dialogue and characters are terrible. It’s tragic some of the lines the cast are saddled with (“When it comes to pussy, I have no friends” is clearly an exception). Making matters worse is the that the players seem too much like the generic cast from a dead teenager flick.
*. A lot is squeezed out of the tight budget. Most of the gore, for example, is finessed. Showing arrows or an axe sticking out of someone after the fact is relatively easy to do. The face flaying is very effectively shown from the victim’s point of view, with the results only seen from a distance. Flemming is stabbed through an airbag. Carter’s demise takes place off screen.

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*. I really like the sets. The cages the victims are kept in are great, and I was impressed by the viewing room and the way the kills are now presented as a kind of performance art. Even the seating arrangements make it look like an upscale little theatre of cruelty.
*. On the commentary track Kip Pardue makes the point that the audience for the various murders is like the audience watching the movie. That’s something you didn’t get in the first two films at all, where the killing was a very personal, private affair.

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*. The kills themselves are cinematic productions: The face cutting scene is, I take it, a nod to Franju’s Eyes Without a Face. The death-by-cockroach routine recalls Dr. Phibes Rises Again and Creepshow. The St. Sebastian martyrdom of Justin is made weird by the cheesy smoke effects and Predator make-up of the dominatrix killer (she is described as “cyberpunk” on the commentary, but I’m not hip enough to know what this means).
*. God knows Eli Roth likes to mix in some sexy stuff with the sadism, but I think director Scott Spiegel is a bit too fixated on the booty here. There are at least four Buttman-style ass-watcher shots where he drops the camera just so he can have it follow a girl’s bottom as she waves it in our face. In a movie like this you can usually get away with a couple of leering shots like that. Any more and it starts to seem a bit too sleazy.

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