When it was announced that a direct-to-video third installment in the Hostel series was in the works, I quietly mourned the loss of a beloved franchise. Eli Roth was not involved and the eastern European setting that fueled the sense of hopelessness and despair in Parts 1 and 2 was relocated to Las Vegas of all places. But far from nail in the coffin that I predicted, Hostel Part III overcomes its meager budget and breathes new life into a series that appeared to have run out of steam.
The premise is almost too familiar. Whisked away to Vegas for his bachelor party, Scott and his three buddies are baited by their hedonism into a world of torture, for the sole purpose of entertaining members of the sick-minded Elite Hunting Club (EHC). Like the other films, the victims are bound, tormented and murdered in sadistic ways. What distinguishes Part III is the audience of extremely wealthy "gentlemen" perched above to watch the action. While the first victim finds himself on the receiving end of an unwanted face removal, the EHC leisurely sip cocktails served by topless hostesses and place bets on how long he has left to live. Las Vegas proves to be an ideal backdrop for such wicked excess. What better symbol for moral bankruptcy than a city that revels in its own debauchery? If the original Hostel made you scared to leave the country then Hostel III might nudge you one step closer to complete agoraphobia.
|"What happens in Vegas... is just plain disgraceful."|
However, all of the above mentioned weaknesses are redeemed by good acting, solid chemistry between the characters and a cunning script. Director Scott Spiegel (who co-wrote the screenplay for Evil Dead II and produced the first two Hostel films) deviates from the template with several unexpected twists that tie together in an explosive grand finale. Recommended for fans of the others.