Hello again, gentle readers! It's your old, odd pal, Mad Jester! I'll be filling in for Kweeny, as she's off on an all-expenses paid cruise of Hell, courtesy of Cenobite Travel Inc. She has such sights to see (and it's bloody hard to type while dangling from hooks and chains), so I figured I'd step up to the proverbial plate- and that means it's time for another Mad Jester movie review! Are you excited? Tough titty, I'm doing it anyway...
This time, we're going to go in a far less intellectual direction than some of my previous film choices- by no means plot-free, but certainly not as cerebral as, say, Dead Girl or Funny Games. No indeed, this time we're diving into one of the more gory-for-its-own-sake entries in the genre. So strap on your crash helmets, grab your gore-mops and prepare yourself for my take on the third installment of a well-known and much-maligned franchise, Hostel: Part III!
Our story begins as our protagonist (and survivor-dude) Carter is whisked away by his friends Douchey Scott, Justin with the Gimpy Leg, and Racist Mike (nicknames provided by Yours Truly) to fabulous Las Vegas for an epic, weekend-long bachelor party before he marries college sweetheart Amy. A party during which they meet Kendra and Nikki, two working girls (if ya know what I mean). Racist Mike hooks up with Nikki, while Carter the Boy Scout decides to politely decline Kendra's prepaid advances. Carter (predictably) has too much to drink, passes out, and wakes up... in his own hotel room, courtesy of a misleadingly-sinister-looking cabbie. However, Carter and Scott soon realize that Racist Mike never got in last night, and after a bit of investigation learn that Nikki didn't either. Carter, Justin, Scott and Kendra resolve to go find them, at which point it begins being a Hostel movie for real-real.
This movie brings a few new twists to the Hostel table, such as expanding on the services offered by the Elite Hunting Club- in addition to being able to pay to kill a human being, other wealthy members can pay to watch the proceedings and bet on any aspect thereof- which implement will be used, how long it takes the victim to die, what precise words will be used when the victim begs for his/her life, et cetera. Apart from that, it doesn't stray too far from its gorny roots, although it does deliver a few plot twists that make it- in my opinion- better than its immediate predecessor. The acting is adequate at best, however- Douchey Scott and Racist Mike in particular are played a bit hamfistedly, presumably in an attempt to kill any potential pathos. (It works, so mission accomplished, I suppose.) A couple of the kills are less impressive than some logged by the franchise, and subsequently seem somewhat lackluster in comparison, but are still sufficiently cringe-worthy to bring the squick. A word of warning to entomophobes- you may not want to watch Nikki's death. I know I could've done without seeing that- but then, horror movies are supposed to make one uncomfortable, so again, job well done.
There are no major lessons to be gleaned from this film (except, perhaps, "when in Vegas, avoid off-the-strip clubs"), there's no real moral relativity or dissonance, and it doesn't leave the viewer with anything to ponder; that said, it's engaging, at least, and entertaining to those who enjoy a bit of torture-porn now and again.
Would I recommend Hostel: Part III? Depends who's asking. Horror-dilettantes should probably give it a wide berth, as it definitely doesn't make a case for the 'not all horror is torture-porn' argument, and likely hasn't got enough plot to keep one interested. However, if you've got a real taste for the red red kroovy, and/or are already a fan of the first two Hostel outings (as does/is your humble reviewer), you'll probably get some mileage out of this one. At the very least, all the right people are made to achieve room temperature.