Running Time: 94 minutes
Starring: Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, Eythor Gudjonsson
Directed By: Eli Roth
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
Three friends head to a small eastern European town for some heathen pleasure only to wake up in a town of horrors.
I don’t usually like films that are just glorified bloodbaths of dissection and body parts. Somehow this movie worked for me though. Hostel just sticks in your mind long after it is done and I felt it did its job of not only scaring but ultimately horrifying its audience. Hostel is the story of three friends backpacking across Europe. They head to a small town in Slovakia for some partying and casual sex but what they find though is a place straight out of hell.
The film starts out and we are treated to the three friends as they smoke pot, fornicate with prostitutes, and generally act like a bunch of jackasses. After a pretty lame start to the film we find ourselves following them to a little town in Slovakia. This run down and industrial looking city is a great backdrop for the horrific murders that take place there. If you are a person that dissects movies then this is not going to score very high on the rating scale. The characters personalities are over the top and why the murders are taking place in the area is appalling. The characters decisions under duress are also questionable and many more things will test your faith in this film. If you can take a movie at face value and treat it as an hour long torture and gore fest than this film works. We find different characters stuck in some truly terrifying situations. People are killed using every implement of death you can think of. This film will not be for the squeamish as scissors come perilously close to eyes and scalpels cut deep into human flesh. The casual attitude of how these murders are executed truly makes this film chilling.
The acting is almost presented as a comedy. The three friends are super obnoxious and are hard to root for. Actors Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, and Eythor Gudjonsson comprise the trio of friends and put forth unremarkable performances. What I will say positive about them is they do better jobs of acting when their lives are on the line and that is the most important thing I guess. Gudjonsson plays a guy named Oli from Iceland. I don’t know much about that country but this character must be insulting to it. Oli is not someone normal people would befriend as he whips his penis out at random and humps anything that moves. He was an odd character for this film. The best part about the casting was the Slovakian locals as they all look authentic and menacing which captures a darker edge to the story.
The film is just strange but it all comes together somehow. There is a ragtag gang of kids terrorizing the tourists while begging for candy, the women are unrealistically beautiful, and the locals are brutally unfriendly. It shouldn’t work but yet it congeals into something watchable. The most important part of the film though is the horror itself and it is done very well. Some people might refer to this as torture porn but I felt it was within reason (If that makes sense). The characters are forced to make brutal decision as they fight for their lives. The blood flows by the bucket as the characters are dissected and tortured in the most horrific ways. The ending seems to fit with the overall flow of this film which is more horror/comedy than anything dramatic or realistic. Overall I thought this film was a nice entry into the world of horror and it repulsed and entertained me in equal parts.
Director and writer Eli Roth puts forth another successful comedy/horror in my mind (See Cabin Fever). There are numerous tense situations as these three friends run around one the strangest towns in Europe. The murders are campy but well thought up and while the story has a lot to be desired it all fits together quite well. Sex, nudity, and murder are the name of the game and Roth gives the viewer all of these in ample quantity. Truly this is a fun film in the horror genre.
I recommend this film but especially to horror lovers that like over the top gore.
T Factor + If you like blood and guts then this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you need realistic characters and story in your films then this could score lower on the rating scale.
IF you liked this film reel recommendations: Wolf Creek, House of Wax.