Hostel III (2011)

Eli Roth once said movie series should never surpass two installments. Hence, Mr. Roth is nowhere to be found in the Hostel III universe aside from a small "based on characters created by" credit. So it should please him to know that the third film in the Hostel trilogy (so far) bears little resemblance to the original movie he unleashed on an unsuspecting public back in 2005. It's not "Halloween III" different, there are enough familiarities in the film to make us think it at least takes place in the same universe. Nor is it similar to Saw II, a film retro fit into a franchise for a quick box office turn around. No, Hostile III is more like dating your ex-girlfriends best friend. You think much know what to expect going in, but once you're there you realize you had no idea what you were getting yourself into.

Writer Michael D. Weiss and Director Scott Speigel take us to Las Vegas of all places to show us what would have happened in "The Hangover" if Doug hadn't been on the roof (if you haven't seen it by now...) and had instead been abducted by the Elite Hunting Club. The twist here is not only are the ignorant twenty somethings abducted and killed. It's that Hunting Club members can also bet on all sorts of things involved with the killing, from the weapon used to do the deed to how the victims will plead for mercy. When in Vegas I guess...

Into this twisted Sin City underground, Carter (Kip Pardue, Remember The Titans) leads three of his friends, including his best friend, the soon to be married Scott (Brian Hallisay). Normal exaggerated Bachelor Party behavior leads the guys to an abandoned warehouse, and you'd think you know that rest, but you'd be wrong. Here's where things get interesting or maddening, depending on your point of view or expectations. The script is very self aware and by that I mean Weiss knows that if we are watching Hostile III we must have seen the previous two. He plays on the preconceived notions that we have left in our minds from the previous films. It's a concept that works the first few times he does it. Unfortunately for Weiss, he tries to get too cute, while trying to be clever he leaves us with this group of characters, none of whom are particularly likable, all of whom are paper thin.

That's main, overriding issue with the film. There is plenty of build up, some twists and turns but no real pay off. The previous two films had those triumphant, root for the hero type of moments as they extract revenge on those who wronged them. As a viewer it's satisfying. You may have just seen some pretty fucked up shit, but at least you got to feel good watching the hero take it to the bad guys. There is way too much going during the middle 45 minutes of the film to really establish good and evil. This really hurts the payoff.

Hostel III is not a bad film. It's certainly different than the previous two entries in the series. For those tuning in looking to see more fucked up ways people get tortured - you will be disappointed. If you are looking for a fairly smart film that is better than any third entry in a B-level horror series has any right to be, this film will be right up your alley.

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