Publicity Stills of "Hostel"
(Courtesy from Columbia TriStar)

Photo by Rico Torres

Photo by Rico Torres

Photo by Rico Torres

Photo by Rico Torres

Genre: Horror/Thriller
Director: Eli Roth
Cast: Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, Eythor Gudjonsson, Barbara Nedelljakova, Jana Kaderabkova, Jan Vlasak, Rick Hoffman, Jennifer Lim
RunTime: 1 hr 38 mins
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Rating: R21 (Strong Violence)
Official Website: http://www.sonypictures.net/movies/hostel/

Opening Day: 20 April 2006


HOSTEL tells the story of two adventurous American college buddies Paxton and Josh who backpack through Europe eager to make quintessentially hazy travel memories with new friend Oli, an Icelander they’ve met along the way.

Paxton and Josh are eventually lured by a fellow traveler to what’s described as a nirvana for American backpackers – a particular hostel in an out-of-the-way Slovakian town stocked with Eastern European women as desperate as they are gorgeous. The two friends arrive and soon easily pair off with exotic beauties Natalya and Svetlana. In fact, too easily….

Initially distracted by the good time they are having, the two Americans quickly find themselves trapped in an increasingly sinister situation that they will discover is as wide and as deep as the darkest, sickest recess of human nature itself – if they survive.

Movie Review:

This is definitely NOT a date movie unless you have the VERY rare girlfriend that doesn't mind copious amounts of nudity, blood, and some vicious torture scene. "Hostel" is a disturbing, uncompromising descent into the blackest corners of human nature, where people are capable of shutting down their consciences in the face of strangers. It's a horrifying notion, indeed, and one with some thought-provoking sociological elements that deepen its purpose beyond being a cheap thrill out to shock and nauseate viewers. "Hostel" is violent, gruesome and graphic, testing the limits of its R rating, but there isn't a moment that goes too far or feels exploitative. In the midst of its mounting tension is a truthful statement about how some people—not all, or even the majority, but some—classify foreigners as being almost of a different breed of human, or inferior to themselves. This xenophobia—the fear or contempt of that which is foreign—goes both ways, stemming from a sense of the unfamiliar.

The plot is straightforward. Josh and Paxton are a couple of American college kids taking a backpacking trip through Europe. Along with an Icelander named Oli that they met during their travels, are finishing up their trip in Amsterdam and are looking for a few more hot babes to hang out with. After getting locked out of their hostel, a local dude lets them crash at his place for the evening, and upon learning a town in Slovakia which is famous for hot and easy girls, they set off their journey to the secret garden. They ended up sharing a room with Natalya and who instantly take a liking to Paxton and Josh. A damper is put on their trip when Oli suddenly disappears. The clerk at the front desk claims he already checked out, and Paxton receives a photo message on his cellphone telling him that he left for home, but something doesn't sit right about the situation. What is really going on—something that Paxton and Josh are soon involuntarily embroiled in—zooms safely past the average person's worst nightmares.

So much can be done with this simple yet clever idea, and at times, Director Eli Roth delivers some truly gruesome moments. There is an early torture/kill scene that is simply excellent. Sadly though, its never really topped and nor does any other scene in the movie come close to it. He shows flashes of greatness and then seems to lose focus. That's not to say it's not gory as hell, it earns every bit of the full rating on the Blood/Gore scale but they obviously held back with the gore a bit to keep the R rating. During these bloody curling moments, the acting, surprisingly is solid as actors conjure up some highly pitched and highly believable screams. Jay Hernandez is fine in the lead role as Paxton, and Derek Richardson does an excellent job as the silly and gullible Josh. Apart from that, Roth definitely needs to put a little more thought into his writing and try and balance the shocking visual imagery with a stronger screenplay. His dialogue is often poor and some of the situations he sets up lack common sense and believability.

Hostel is an improvement for Eli Roth which is promising as, despite the hype surrounding him, he's still a fledgling talent who has a lot to learn, but he is on the right track with this slice of grim death. It's entertaining overall, but its unrealised potential and storytelling lapses are frustrating. As twisted as I may sound, more people are needed to be killed in the movie and it needs to go into a darker direction story wise. That said, it's still a decent horror movie that should satisfy most people's thirst for blood in this genre driven satire. And if this disgusts you though, I know of this hostel you can visit...

Movie Rating:

(Savior the delights of boobs and blood with images that will embalm in your mind like a hatchet to a head...or a drill to a thigh.. or a burner to an eye.. or a chainsaw through your guts… or pliers to your toes…you get the idea…)

Review by Lokman B S

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