Hostel: Part II revisited: Beth is the perfect ‘final girl’ for a modern era

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 02: Lauren German attends NBC's "Chicago Fire" premiere at the Chicago History Museum on October 2, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 02: Lauren German attends NBC's "Chicago Fire" premiere at the Chicago History Museum on October 2, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images) /

It has been over ten years since Hostel: Part II released, but one thing about the film remains iconic and straight-up awesome — the character of Beth.

We spend a great deal of time discussing “final girls” in the horror world. Are they feminist? Anti-feminist? Something different altogether? Should we retire the “final girl” or just redefine it? The discussions are endless. But since it is Women in Horror Month, I thought I would take a moment to talk about one of my favorite “final girls” from Hostel: Part II.

Lauren German brought Beth to life in 2007. Since then, Beth has largely been forgotten. It is a shame since her story arc is perhaps more timely than ever in 2020. It’s not like the film was a box office bomb either. It did well, although not as well as its predecessor.

Critics didn’t like it, and audiences weren’t as crazy about it as the first film, but I honestly feel like Hostel: Part II deserves a little more recognition — and it might be controversial, but I found it a more enjoyable film overall than the first.

For starters, Eli Roth opted to focus on a group of women this time instead of male characters. He could have gone for a much darker film with sexual torture or rape, but beyond some lecherous gazes and lewd comments (all of which were present in the first movie, too) Roth keenly avoids falling into that cliché trap.

More from Horror Movies

Instead, we get a film that has just as many horrifically grisly scenes and gory moments, such as the infamous Elizabeth Bathory-style blood bath scene, as the first one, and we get a compelling twist ending that turns Beth from a victim into a stone-cold killer.

We’re finally living in the era of the anti-heroine with complex and antagonistic women taking charge in the media: from Amy Dunne to Cersei Lannister, and it’s fun to watch women be just as cunning, dangerous, and deadly as their male counterparts.

That’s precisely what Beth gets to do in this film. Like Paxton before her, she brutally enacts her vengeance on her would-be torturer, Stuart and the person that lured her into the hostel.

Not only does Beth castrate Stuart for calling her a c**t, but she also beheads Axelle, whose head then gets kicked around like a soccer ball.

Hostel: Part II isn’t a perfect movie, but Beth is arguably a perfect final girl. She even gets indoctrinated into the Elite Hunting Club with a tattoo. It’s not clear if she’ll become a psychotic torturer getting out her aggression on hapless travelers, but at the very least, she uses her money to seek revenge on at least one person.

It may not have been Roth’s intention to fill this movie with social commentary, but there is a lot to dissect in Hostel: Part II, especially by examining the characters through a modern lens. In the auction sequence, Roth makes a point to address that any man could be psychopathic killers. We see men hanging out with their families while bidding on women in an online torture auction.

However, he also subtly addresses the liability of wealthy white women. We see Beth — a trust fund baby uses her family’s money to turn the tables in her favor and twist the system into granting her freedom but also making her a murderer in the process as she falls into the twisted game.

It’s an equal opportunist message that women can be just as brutal and evil as men, at the time, that wasn’t something we saw much, or at least not so brazenly, in film.

Next. Great films directed by women currently streaming on Tubi TV. dark

If you want to rewatch Hostel: Part II for yourself, it is currently streaming on HBO Go and HBO Now.