The Horror Honeys: The House Always Wins - except in Hostel: Part III

The House Always Wins - except in Hostel: Part III

A Head Honey Vegas Weekend Review

Hostel Part III (2011)

Vegas. Bachelor parties. Strippers. Hookers. Blow. Misogyny. Jealousy. Bad CGI. Good ideas that went nowhere. Not Vegas. Nowhere even near Vegas. Like seriously.


Let's start off with a confession. I actually like the idea behind the Hostel films. I like it a lot. A group of stupid American dudes, lured into a trap by the promise of no-stings-attached pussy (bonus points for being foreign pussy). I'm pretty sure that this is the ACTUAL meaning of the mythical "American Dream;" not the white picket fence, all the money for no work, streets paved with cheese stuff. Now, it's the trap itself that I really like. An "Elite Hunting Group," bored with the exploitation of animals turns to my favorite kind of "big game" - humans. This is not a new idea. I was hip to the "hunting humans for sport" thing way back in the 90s when John Leguizamo did it in The Pest (yes, I watched it... A LOT and laughed. A LOT.  #sorrynotsorry). I'm also certain that it's an older idea than that (ahem 1975's Death Race 2000). Regardless, Hostel took a unique approach to this storyline, and made all of us a little bit wary of travelling outside of the confines of our safe and secure English speaking Western European awareness bubbles.

Hold on, kids, we're in for a CLASSY ride.
Hostel II took it to another level - luring WOMEN to the depths of Eastern Europe with the promise of an exclusive spa and hot spring getaway. So, you have that old shoe. Lure dudes with pussy, lure women with hot stone massages and facials. Cue some "You can't do this to me, I'm American!" entitlement, and we're good to go. Hostel II was my favorite in the series, with inventive kills, great gore and FX, and a great twist ending that I wasn't expecting.

Now, before you go run out and get a bloodhound tattoo somewhere completely stupid awesome, there's another piece of the puzzle that you're missing.  Hostel: Part III - the straight to video cousin that no one talks about and tries REALLY hard to avoid at family reunions. Taking an overused theme setting of "a bachelor party in Vegas," we're whisked away to a secret warehouse where, instead of getting killed in the first 5 minutes (DAMMIT), the boys are treated to the stereotypical "bachelor party of a lifetime" complete with drugged champagne, "strippers", "hookers" and some bored looking topless go-go dancers.

When the token asshole of the group disappears, no one bats an eyelash, which is totally normal in horror movie land. Create an unlikeable character, kill him off, viewers cheer. Cheap entertainment and investment. Once you get past the initial smoke and mirrors, Hostel III (and the series in general) is very clear about its protagonists and villains. Eventually, Hostel III gets around to the point of the whole story and the group is whisked away to the "Elite Hunting" HQ just outside the Vegas strip. An American HQ? Sure. Because hey, why the fuck not. As you may have guessed, hilarity ensues.

Let's get to the good stuff:

The Kills 
The list of "Elite Hunting" kills is a disappointing one in Hostel III... there are no private rooms, the encounters aren't personal, and there seems to be zero backstory to any of the kills. Personally, this is what MADE Hostel and Hostel II SO great. I love backstory. I love history in general, so removing that from the equation made for something a lot more hollow, and with a lot less viewer investment. The kills ALL happened in the same sterile room, facing a "High Roller" lounge, where rich dudes in fancy suits (Club members, presumably) placed bets on the method of death, how long it took to use a specific excuse to live, and even when death would occur. This was one of the BEST ideas in the ENTIRE film. If they'd made a film JUST about that, I'd watch the fuck out of it.

First Male death:
Who dies: Mark "the Token Asshole"
The method: Some mental torture via harassment with various tools of death, and then having a literal facelift. Now, death by facelift is probably only something happens in LA or in bad episode of Nip/Tuck.
Score: 1.5/5 - Meh.  My idea of a proper facelift is Suzanne in Night of the Demons

WAY more realistic, RIGHT?
First (on screen) Female Death:
Who dies: Nikki "The Hooker"

The method: Sprayed down with a sugar water solution, our dear cheerleader is covered in large cockroaches who crawl into her throat and suffocate her? I think?

So, here's the thing about cockroaches - they like garbage. Not sugar. I'm going to side with nature on this one and say that this was a bad idea. How about this: Spray her down with sugar water and cover her in fire ants??  Now I'm paying attention.

Score: .5/5 - Science wins, not cockroaches.  Cockroaches get the last laugh when the world goes up in nuclear smoke.

Garbage breath!

Second Male Death:
Who Dies: Justin "The Cripple"

Meanwhile, at the "William Tell Live" auditions.
The method:  This kill is easily my favorite  of the film. Justin takes 9 crossbow bolts to various areas of his body - most of the actual shot locations aren't really shown except the crotch bolt, because crotch stuff makes dudes uncomfortable. The shooter, a black latex and gimp-gear clad female (we can only assume this from the lingering footage of her ass and crotchal region) who's face we never see, as she is clearly a hunter who is used to LARP-ing in the woods.

Score: 9/10 - Justin took more bolts than Boromir without making so much as a whimper - dude has balls of steel, even with a crossbow bolt in them.  I'm pissed that an OBVIOUS hunter character was forced to kill her prey in a boring room, while strapped to a chair. I wouldn't have gotten dressed up for that shit. LAME.

Next time, make a movie ALL about this killer and maybe her Amazonian huntress sisterhood? I'll watch the fuck out of that too.

Third Male "Death":
Who dies: Scott "The Groom" OR Carter "The Best Friend"

The method: There's no honor among thieves, and there's no honor among best friends who secretly want to steal away your fiancee and are part of an Elite Hunting society that no one knows about, and he secretly kills people, told her about your infidelity last year (oopsie) and then talks about banging your fiancee on your bed and how he's going to kill you with the knives she put on your bridal registry.  Are we clear? No? Good. NOW FIGHT TO THE DEATH.

Score:  2/10 - points awarded to "The Groom" for his kill room exit strategy. That's about it.

The Issues
As per usual, I take issue with makeup and FX, and I have no shame about my judgement. You can quote me on this - if you have a budget for your film, please, for the love of all that's tentacled - spend it on practical FX and stay away from shitty CGI that cheapens the whole effect of your film, and in reality, the entire credibility of said film. If you can't afford to blow shit up, DON'T. Not everything needs to 'splode to make a point (I'm talking to you Michael Bay).

In 2011, I'm pretty sure we had smart phones, actually, I know for a FACT that there were better phones on the market than the pieces of crap these guys had. It doesn't take a genius to wonder why these guys who obviously make a tidy salary in their day jobs have POS cell phones that barely take photos. It's a sad fact that the reliance on technology in films like this one have the unfortunate side effect of severely dating the film as time movies forward and technology moves on (and hopefully societal obsession with putting it in movies will too).

The lowdown:  As you may have guessed, Hostel: Part III will not be on my "watch again" list.  But it made me nostalgic for the beauty of the deaths in Hostel: Part II and the legitimate giggles and even the extreme eye rolls I got from the original Hostel. Oh, horror, sometimes you are a cruel mistress, but I keep coming back for more. There's something about a series of films, I just can't NOT watch the others.  Sometimes, it's rewarding (Alien, some of Hellraiser, Hellboy, Blade, Child's Play, Nightmare on Elm Street...).  Sometimes, I hate my life (most of Hellraiser, Children of the Corn, half of the Halloween's... ).  Hostel: Part III, rounds out a trilogy that makes me feel like a bought a CD in the 90s that only had one song I liked, but I had to pretend that it was worth the $24 I spent.

Head Honey Verdict: 2.5 crossbow bolts to the groin out of 5.  .5 is awarded for the obvious CGI arrow to the brain that I wish I'd gotten instead of "The Cripple," and the remaining 2 points are for the 2 good story ideas that could have made an awesome Predator-style film, but went nowhere instead.    
Hell yeah.