What happens across the pond comes to Vegas- where nothing is ever quite what it seems and everything is all to put on a good show. The series created and started by Eli Roth returns in the direct to DVD sequel, HOSTEL PART III and this time Las Vegas is the stage for the Elite Hunting Club and their sadistic games. I must say that for a direct to video sequel you could do a whole lot worse than this, but I assure you that this third sequel is at least an Ace short of a winning hand.
By now I think HOSTEL fans and non fans alike know the set up- but for the HOSTEL virgins I’ll give a brief rundown, plus there’s some new info for those familiar with the series. The first film introduced us to the Elite Hunting Club where the rich pay top dollar to torture and kill people of all different races and genders. The evil deeds in the first two happened overseas where as now the club has its very own set up in good ol Sin City, Las Vegas. The game this time is quite different where the rich not only pay to kill people, but the killing takes place in a glass room for high rollers to bet on the method of death or for what the victim will beg for first to get out of the situation- they even bet on how many arrows it will take to kill someone. This time a group of friends out on Vegas for their friend’s bachelor party get caught up in the mess and must find some way to escape before they end up meat for the sadistic gambling.
I think a better title for this movie may have been HOSTEL: BUTT SHOTS GALORE- it seemed that barely 10 minutes would go but without an extreme close-up of a woman’s butt and the camera lingers there for several seconds. I’m not complaining, just a casual observation but it’s worth noting given the blatant portrayal and judgments of women’s role in the city of Vegas.
For a direct to video sequel there are things that are done much better than in most, but there are still a lot of severe hiccups here and there. The right hand man of the leader of the Elite Hunting Club has been studying and practicing how to be an evil sleazeball way to intensely. He’s enjoyable to an extent, but it seems a little too forced at times. The group of friends for the most part are unlikable or didn’t establish themselves in any meaningful way for me to care if they bit the dust- I did sort of connect with the handicapped friend more because he was the better actor of the group and sold his part much better. When the blood starts flowing everyone sort of ups their game a little bit, but by then I was ready to see how they were going to be offed.
For a film that follows previous iterations where victims have their eyeballs cut of, penises snipped or cut to death while the murderer bathes in their blood naked HOSTEL PART III seemed quite tame. Even with the stigma of being direct to video the director had to have restrained the insanity quite a bit. The harshest of the kills here involves a scalpel where another is set up and you wait for the gory payoff and the good stuff happens off screen. I am not one to show up just for brainless violence being shown to me at nauseam but I don’t think HOSTEL PART III is fun enough, made or acted well enough to skimp on something the series is known for.
I was very excited to see the series move settings to Vegas because I thought that would add a pretty cool dynamic to the entire concept. Sadly while the idea is cool and they briefly show the different types of bets and odds players have while betting on the kills it is not explored as well as I’d hoped. The mystery of the Elite Hunting Club is also entirely missing here and is a bit corny. By corny I mean in the previous films the thugs fetching victims from their cells said nothing or little, where here they are given bad dialogue or stupid jokes. At one point a chase is going on and the henchman hears someone talking on the phone and as he approaches the source he utters the line “I hear dead people.” If there had been even one aspect that I thought was very well done it would be a lot easier to recommend.
As direct to video sequels go I’ve seen surprisingly good releases and bottom of the barrel ones too and while HOSTEL PART III isn’t bottom feeder material, it’s not part of the elite either. This is a film that hovers somewhere in the middle at average on a good day, but as it is the concept is well above average and the execution comes up short. HOSTEL PART III does nothing to advance or improve the torture porn genre which is in need of a facelift. Fans of the series should be able to check it out and be somewhat surprised that it isn’t completely terrible, but if you’re like me you won’t be able to shake the feeling that HOSTEL PART III is little more than a bluff by the filmmakers.