Let me preface this column (blog, whatever) with two things. The movie ratings system should be abolished, and “”Hostel 2″ was a better film than the first one, which I liked. If you agree that the ratings board is a necessary evil (and I don’t, but plenty do), you have to admit that it got it wrong with the R rating for “”Hostel 2.” I’m not the only one who thinks this, either. “”Entertainment Weekly” has a columnist who believes the same thing, though he had different reasons than mine.
“”Hostel 2″ should have been NC-17 based purely on its tone. It wasn’t the “”erotic bloodbath” cited by the previously mentioned columnist that pushed it past the R. It wasn’t the castration scene, either. The “”gore” was pretty standard stuff (though that castration scene was fairly nasty, but not unheard of in an R rated movie). There was a point where the tone of the film shifted, however, and that’s why I thought the simple minds behind the ratings would have given it that dreaded NC-17.
American horror movies consider some things to be fairly taboo. One of those things is killing children. (It seems far more acceptable to do that in a drama as opposed to a horror film.) “”Hostel 2,” for those who haven’t seen it, features a cold-blooded, drawn out execution of a child. During that scene the crowd in the theatre I saw the film in went from fairly quiet to dead still by its end. It made the movie feel slightly unsafe and brutal (things that worked in its favor), and it sent the film into new territory. Why the film got an R can only be explained by the money behind it. With an NC-17 fewer theatres would have shown it, and it would have done even less business at the box office (I suspect it will do far better on DVD). Had this been an independent, it would’ve never made it by with an R.
“”Hostel 2″ is one more reason the ratings board should be abolished. It can’t do its job properly even within its own loose guidelines. If it can’t get this one film right, why should anyone believe it can properly rate any other film? It’s more proof that parents, whom the ratings board was designed for, need to actually read reviews of the films before letting their kids see them. (Better yet, actually watch the film without the children first, then make your decision.) In any case, they shouldn’t trust the ratings board because “”Hostel 2″ shows how wrong it can go. If you can’t trust the board, it isn’t doing its job, and if it’s not doing its job it needs to be fired.
Let’s get rid of these fools and start taking matters into our own hands when it comes to our films. And if you think I’m being extreme, ask yourself this: If the execution of a child in a horror film (which is at the end of a scene that features a line of children having a gun shoved in their faces one by one) doesn’t rate an NC-17 for tone alone, what does?