Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

REVIEW: Hostel

Hostel **½

Three backpackers in Amsterdam are locked out of their hostel. They trawl through the red light district, get drunk and are given information about a hostel in Slovakia where the girls are beautiful and love American men. The hostel is ‘To die for’

These opening scenes are supposed to give us some time to get to know our lead characters and therefore have some empathy for them when they’re inevitably tortured and killed.

Anyway the guys, Americans Paxton (Jay Hernandez), Josh (Derek Richardson) and Icelander Oli (Eythor Gudjonsson) head off to Slovakia and check-in to the hostel. On first impression it seems like the hostel is as they were led to believe. Not at all a front for a rich man’s club where they pay small fortunes to torture and kill backpackers with impunity… Or is it..?

Soon enough, they’re drugged, kidnapped and strapped into chairs in murky rooms… Torture ensues: tendons cut, fingers and toes severed etc, the usual stuff… then it’s a blow torch to an eye.

This is Eli Roth’s second feature after his fun debut ‘Cabin Fever’. Despite the bigger budget, higher production values and Quentin Tarantino as executive producer it’s not as good as his debut. Sure it’s a good idea for a horror film; it’s just not that good an idea. We’ve seen similar themes before and I’m sure Roth and Tarantino have seen the same movies being fans of horror and Grind house.

It’s well shot and the leads are okay. The gore when it arrives is suitably gruesome and it would seem that Roth has spent some time thinking how to hurt people.

I just don’t buy it. The whole premise of a hostel where these kids disappear from was like an ‘anti-The Beach’ and pointless.

SPOILER ALERT. Paxton’s escape and revenge is a little too contrived and totally unbelievable. The car chase killing of the bastards who led him to the hostel is a bad joke and the train station revenge feels like an add-on idea.

Not as bad as I’ve described it. But if you like this sort of thing, seeing people tortured then you’re sick and fortunately for you there are better movies out there. The horrific ‘The Girl Next Door’ was made on a fraction of the budget and has realistic, empathetic characters. Also ‘Martyrs’ leaves this in its wake for creepy chills and disturbing scenes of torture. If you can handle it ‘Salo: 120 Days of Sodom’ will disturb, horrify and scare the shit out of you in equal measures.

Quality: Well made 3 out of 5 stars

Any good: Not really, 2 out of 5 stars