Directed by: Eli Roth
Starring: Jay Hernandez and Derek Richardson
Reviewed by: Brendan Graham (Phantomhour)
Torture Porn. You’ve heard the term before. The media had a field day with films like Saw, The Devil’s Rejects and yes, Hostel was also one of the founders of Torture Porn. It also had the reputation for making people pass out in screenings. Is it worth watching?
Backpacking across Europe, Paxton (Jay Hernandez) and his buds, are looking for cheap thrills. Drugs, alcohol, and of course, lots of sex. Their travel plans change when a group of attractive young ladies tell them about a hostel in Slovakia where are all their dreams will come true. Who would want to miss that? After they check in, they start to realize something is wrong when one of the gang disappears, and the town is eerily okay with this. Turns out, a business known as Elite Hunting is kidnapping people from the hostel, and putting them up for auction to be tortured and mutilated, and of course, killed.
Hostel didn’t skimp on the nasty. Tendons being cut, eyes being blow torched, limbs being cut off. I remember being in the theater and hearing people gag when this first came out, while I was eating my popcorn happily. Gore doesn’t get to me, yet the film is more interesting than that. It’s a social allegory for American’s fearing other countries after 9/11, and it’s effective.
The cast is decent, and the torture scenes are intensely effective, but most of the dialogue is cheesy and sometimes unnecessarily trashy. The movie takes it’s time in the beginning to get you to the nasty bits, trust me, horror fans did complain about that. It’s one of those movies which were overhyped for the wrong reasons, but it’s a thrill ride that I suggest you take.
Not close to perfect, but still an effective thrill ride that may make some of your stomachs churn, but most seasoned horror fans make think this film is pretty tame now.
8 severed limbs out of 10.