Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Movie Review: "Hostel" (2005)

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Director: Eli Roth
Year: 2005
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 34 minutes

Paxton (Jay Hernandez) and Josh (Derek Richardson) are two American friends who have been backpacking across Europe with and Icelandic guy named Oli (Eythor Gudjonsson), who they met on their trip. They receive a tip from a random guy that there is a hostel in a small Slovakian town that has beautiful women that are easy to bed. Their sexual fantasies come true when they meet a pair of pretty girls at the hostel there, but when their friend Oli and others begin disappear without warning, their wonderful fantasy starts to quickly become their worst nightmare. 

"Hostel" is the second feature-length film from writer and director Eli Roth, who has been known as a "horror master" in some circles, though we just assumed he started this namesake. It is also his most well known and financially successful directoral effort. After seeing this film or any of his other movies, besides needing barf buckets nearby, you have to wonder, what the hell is going on in the head of Eli Roth that he can write these vivid, depraved pieces? There are two major themes in "Hostel," which are sex and violence. The first half of the movie focuses in on the sex aspect. Nearly every conversation that takes place in the first portion of the film between any of the characters revolves around sex, from getting it to having it to thinking about it to buying it. The whole reason Paxton, played by Jay Hernandez, and Josh, played by Dereck Richardson, headed to the little Slovak town they were alerted to by a stranger is for the promise of sexual exploits with hot, sexy women. Of course, "Hostel" takes a dark turn as sex leads to eventual violence, and when we say violence, we mean very graphic, very disturbing violence, the kind that not everyone can handle. As it turns out, these attractive women run a scam where they seduce men, drug them, and sell them to wealthy business men from around the world to be tortured and killed in sometimes weird, sometimes bizarre manners.

"Hostel" is successful at playing on our worst xenophobic fears. Instead of being adventurous travelers, this movie has the ability to make us ready to lock ourselves in our safe little houses far away from unfamiliar situations and people that will surely lead to our demise. We wouldn't want to fall asleep at a hostel and wake up strapped to a chair and have some bored millionaire cut through our Achilles tendons with a scalpel and then dare us to run away. Just thinking of this scene gives us violent shivers and makes us a little queasy, though when it comes to horror that's a good thing. This movie has a lot of scenes and parts that will straight up disgust and totally unnerve you, and in this aspect, it works at getting audiences invested. Some of the violence in these scenes are a little too tough for easily queasy viewers, though this is to be expected with all of Roth's films. "Hostel" is completely reliant on these torture scenes in the latter portion of the movie which, as we mentioned, are very effective. Sure, the acting is bad and the story isn't exactly intriguing or thought-provoking (even though Roth has a penchant for trying to be so), but it is a movie horror fans can enjoy watching so long as they can stomach the visuals.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 61%
Do we recommend this movie: ---
Two years ago, we were watching: "A Nightmare on Elm Street"

One year ago, we were watching: "Saw II"

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