Hostel

Final Grade: C+

Eli Roth bored us to death with Cabin Fever in 2002 and gored us to death in 2005 with Hostel, alongside executive producer Quentin Tarantino. There have only been a few films that I have ever had to turn my head away from, and Hostel is one of them.

While backpacking through Europe, college students Paxton (Jay Hernandez) and Josh (Derek Richardson) seek the ultimate vacation through sex, drugs and unforgettable experiences. When a friendly stranger informs the two of a hostel in Bratislava that offers the most beautiful and promiscuous women in all of Europe, Paxton and Derek trek with their new Icelandic friend Oli (Eythor Gudjonsson) to find the hostel that sounds too good to be true.

When arriving to Bratislava, the trio found that the hostel was everything and more of what they expected. The events that follow are sure to deliver the unforgettable vacation that the two were looking for. Mystery, suspense and fear direct this film to its bloody ending.

When Eli Roth directed Cabin Fever in 2002, the film was hailed as a cult classic. Personally, I hated myself for buying the DVD. The beginning of Hostel seemed as if Roth was up to the same old shenanigans. Even though this is supposed to be a horror flick, the film begins like a midnight Cinemax feature, T & A. Once getting past the glitzy studio input for normalcy, Hostel takes a dark and menacing turn for the best. Despite the films shortcomings, Roth takes a giant leap forward as both a storyteller and director. The gore in this film is intense; extremely intense. There were some scenes where I actually found myself trying to cover my eyes. Surprisingly, the gore was not cheap, overbearing nor did at any time I feel as if Roth was using gore to offset the lack of a story.

The DVD is well above average in both Video and Audio. The sound is especially creepy. The DVD features three mini documentaries called “Hostel Dissected” that actually show Hostel move from preproduction all they way to the final cut. Aside from these three mini features, the DVD doesn’t offer much other than a multi-angle behind the scenes feature that shows the bubblegum gang destroying a car.

The hype that drove Hostel into the mainstream was that it would be a 90 minute torture chamber of gore. The film is anything but that. Roth’s direction placed Hostel in an interesting position as a horror flick that isn’t carried by gore. The film is more of a “How is he going to get out of this?” type of film where you find yourself caring about the leads and wanting to see them find safety.

The Upside:
Suspenseful, gory and a step up for Eli Roth.
The Downside:
Wanted horror, found 20 minutes of gratuitous nudity.
On The Side:
Director Eli Roth says that he found a Thai website that advertised itself as a “murder vacation,” offering users the chance to torture and kill someone for the price of $10,000. Roth later showed the site to Quentin Tarantino and the two developed the idea for the film. Tarantino and Roth said later on an Icelandic talk show that they have no idea if the website was real or not.

Breaking Down the DVD:
The Film: C
The Delivery: B
The Extras: C+

DVD Stats:
Release Date: April 18, 2006
Starring: Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, Eythor Gudjonsson
Directed by: Eli Roth
Writing Credits: Eli Roth
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Sound Mix: DTS, Dolby Digital
MPAA Rating: R
Country: USA
Run Time: 94 min.
Studio: Sony Pictures