I'll get into the HOSTEL series with ya! We are due for a good argument. Love you buddy.
Do I really need to explain the formula for HOSTEL? Start movie. Young people go to a place they think is normal. The place turns out to be not so normal. The young people are murdered by bad people one by one. One of the young people survives long enough to get revenge on the bad people and escape. End of movie. I criticized THE CABIN IN THE WOODS for having this same exact structure (which, in reality, is the structure of just about every modern horror film) despite it being so unique in every other way. The first HOSTEL follows this standard formula, but we can at least give it a few points for, as you said, depicting rampant torture unlike any other mainstream horror film at the time. The problem, however, with the first HOSTEL is that by following such a standard regurgitated formula, torture becomes its only selling-point. There is really nothing that sets HOSTEL apart from a your routine horror/thriller other than its elaborate torture scenes. It lives solely on them.
Okay, so putting aside the first HOSTEL for a second, you can get away with this gimmick once, but as soon as you make the SAME EXACT film all over again with the only changes being how disgusting the torture scenes are, you have officially run out of anything interesting to say or do. You've got nothing. You're selling us the same product but in an uglier wrapper.
I was actually starting to get mad watching HOSTEL PART II. The first HOSTEL just grossed me out, but watching PART II, I started to realize how fucking hacky the whole idea of it was. There is literally nothing to it other than trying to make you puke. It's bereft of anything else. Self-awareness can not even save it from being bankrupt in the idea department. It's like TRANSFORMERS 2. Your piece of shit first movie did well, so you decided to make the same piece of shit movie all over again but with slight modifications. I have no problem with the idea of torture in film. It's not even the issue. I do have a problem with people, who have been given a gift to even be allowed anywhere near a feature film, utterly phoning it in and passing off their mediocrity for shock value.
The first HOSTEL–not my thing, but I can understand its appeal to horror fans (you did a nice job defending it, Brandon).
HOSTEL PART II–complete garbage!
If my tone sounds harsh, it's only because this movie pisses me off! haha. I guess I should just stick to old movies.