The evil Dr. Josef Heiter (Dieter Laser) drugs three luckless victims and sews them ass-to-mouth to create a human centipede. Tom Six’s joke is meant to cause nausea, but stretched over 90 minutes, it only induces drowsiness.
Writer + Director: Tom Six
0.5 / 5
Lucie (Mylène Jampanoï) is an escapee from a torture chamber. Many years later she tracks down her tormentors with the help of her best friend Anna (Morjana Alaoui) and pays them back in blood. In one of the few lapses into idiotic horror conventions, they linger far too long at the dangerous scene of crime. Soon evil people in black arrive and we learn that Lucie’s torturers were members of a cult that wants to investigate the transcendant power of pain — at other people’s, preferably young women’s expense.
You may want to stop this film every 15 minutes to go out and get some fresh air. If you do resume at all, you will realize that director Pascal Laugier has turned you into one of those people who yell silly things at the screen. He doesn’t want to entertain you, he wants you to feel every blow. He skins your sensibilities to a raw wound and accomplishes what Haneke tried and failed to do, twice. It’s an edifying tour of the abattoir for jaded viewers. Every now and then it’s nice to know where your meat comes from and think a bit about pain, suffering, death and beyond.
Writer + Director: Pascal Laugier
Rating: 4.5 / 5
Hostel II is basically the same ride as its predecessor, except with more blood and more women (victims and aggressors). The main bad guys are older versions of the two frat bros from Part 1, their doucheyness calcified with age. In the sufferer’s corner we have three female-shaped cardboards — the horndog, the ditz and the sensible one. All the familiar ingredients get chopped and mixed in Slovakia for a second helping.
Writer + Director: Eli Roth
Two backpacking frat bros go to a small town in Slovakia for a taste of European meat, but end up on a butcher’s table themselves. Welcome to the world of torture tourism.
Eli Roth seems like an intelligent filmmaker who does not want to burden his carefully curated tribute to b-movies with too much intelligence. His parade of stock characters do their best to quash any rumors of political subtext.
Writer + Director: Eli Roth
Genre films and women have a complicated relationship, so if I hear about a horror filmmaker down for the cause, I am already rooting for him. Unfortunately Lucky McKee’s The Woman goes out of its way to piss off the choir.
Hunter, lawyer, all-around shitbag Chris Cleek (Sean Bridgers) brings home a feral woman (Pollyanna McIntosh) he finds in the woods. He keeps her leashed like an animal and orders his family to help him in his project of “civilizing” her. The women in the family are understandably creeped out while his teenage son Shitbag Jr. takes a keen interest. Domestic abuse, humiliation, rape, torture — all the items in the list checked, the table-turning catharsis arrives. It feels quite hollow.
The uniformally good cast manages to distract from McKee’s heavy hand for a little while, but it keeps coming back. The worst offender is the soundtrack, which is as subtle as a directional neon sign. I don’t have the complete track list, but here are a few I remember.
“The character is feeling helpless about her surrounding”
“Moody teenager is moody”
“The director doesn’t trust you with irony so we’ll just poke you right in the eye”
Director: Lucky McKee