Cabin Fever 50
[ Why is it that Eli Roth can be such a cool and funny geek of a guy when you hear him talking or read interviews with him, but his movies are just not all that great? Maybe it’s because the line is so thin between having fun with B-movie tropes and merely making another B-movie. Set in and around a cabin in the woods, where five young men and women must face some creepy hicks and a mysterious, deadly disease, “Cabin Fever” is like an 80s exploitation flick, with lots of bad writing, bad directing and bad acting… Which might be intentional – or not. In any case, the gore, T&A and juvenile humor are modestly entertaning, and some of it is even genuinely effective. I still feel like hearing Roth talk about this stuff might be more fun then watching him try to pull it off on screen. ]

Hostel 52
[ review ]

(4 Jun) Hostel: Part II (2007, Eli Roth) 54
[ It starts like a crappy straight-to-video sequel, with badly incorporated flashbacks recapping the first movie and that most lame of horror movie tricks, the BOO!-no, wait, it-was-a-nightmare scare. Plus we’re still with the surviving jackass from the original played by Jay Hernandez but, thankfully, we soon move on to new faces, namely a trio of American babes studying abroad. These are still one-note characters, but as played by cute dork Heather Matarazzo, sexy bitch Bijou Phillips and model-like Lauren German, they’re much less obnoxious than the guys in Part I.

On the other hand, the gender reversal brings along a misogynistic streak and makes this into the usual let’s-watch-women-suffer horror show. But not before a long, not very exciting series of creepy false starts and ill omens. The carnival is a nice touch, and I liked that we’re shown nearly as much of the “johns” as of the girls they’re buying. As in the previous pic, the scariest thing is the idea itself of men paying to hurt and kill people and being so damn casual about it. There’s nothing scary about the big gore scenes, those are just disgusting. One in particular, involving a naked girl hung upside down, is even worse than that, it’s downright obscene. This will sound like an endorsement for fans of the genre but seriously, what possible enjoyment can there be in watching such loathsome violence? There’s no subtext, no artistry, no suspense… You’re promised that a woman will get slaughtered before your eyes, and she does. It’s not scary, not surprising, not skilfully crafted… Just meaningless death.

I’m hardly against violent entertainment. I love action movies and films as extreme as “A Clockwork Orange”, “C’est arrivé près de chez vous” and “Ichi the Killer”, but those have social commentary, black humor and brilliant filmmaking going for them. For the most part, “Hostel: Part II” is only a B-movie that gets off on going too far, with little redeeming values. As I said, the early girly stuff is amusing (Roth should make a college sex comedy), whenever the movie’s attention turns to the clients’ point of view, it’s truly disturbing and when we get to the inevitable revenge of the Final Girl, it’s good for a few tasteless laughs. Overall, I’m not sure what to think of this. Some of it me turned me the hell off morally, but if you’re able to take it as “just a movie”, it’s not so bad, I guess. ]

The Green Inferno 62
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]

Knock Knock 69
[ Reviewed on Extra Beurre ]

Death Wish
[ Les films d’auto-justice sont presque toujours réactionnaires, de droite, pro-armes, etc. Par définition, un film d’exploitation ne fait pas dans la dentelle. Au moins, ce remake laisse supposer un certain aspect satirique, un second degré… sans toutefois que ce soit complètement maîtrisé; Eli Roth n’est pas Paul Verhoeven. En fait, on n’est pas loin d’un film d’action direct-en VOD, avec seulement un peu plus de gags et de gore que la moyenne. Ça se regarde bien, mais ce sera vite oublié. ]