With only one film under his belt and the endorsement of Quentin Tarantino, Eli Roth became a virtual horror brand with HOSTEL (2005), a yarn about a group of thrill-seeking American college dudes backpacking through Europe, only to be seduced into a Slovakian money-for-torture ring where they became the prey. The sequel begins right where that film left off, filling us in on the whereabouts of lone survivor Paxton (Jay Hernandez)---but before long, we see that gender roles are reversed and we are traveling with sensible Beth (Lauren German), hedonistic Whitney (Bijou Phillips), and virginal Lorna (Heather Matarazzo, a real trouper). After tussling with a gaggle of shifty men on a train, they meet Axelle (Vera Jordanova), a gorgeous woman who persuades them to follow her to a rejuvenating spa in Slovakia.
As the trio checks into the same infamous hostel, Roth shows us the inner workings of the previously mysterious torture club. Once the girls are put up on the auction block, online bidding begins among the clubs members---who are revealed to be prominent international businesspeople. After Beth and Whitney are won by type-A American corporate jerk Todd (Richard Burgi), who believes that killing someone will give him power, and his reluctant associate, Stuart (Roger Bart), the film shifts to the preparations for their inaugural slayings within the bloody walls of the warehouse.
For those who embraced HOSTEL's abrupt tonal shifts and very realistic gore, Roth serves up amplified doses of both in his follow-up. Astute horror fans will find a few amusing in-jokes among the carnage, but beware---things get incredibly strong, and Roth's charnel house chic intends to offend. In fact, HOSTEL II may stand as the most glaring example of the MPAA's bias in favor of violence over sexuality when it comes the boundary between R and NC-17.