Like a lot of the US I was snowed in this weekend and had some time to go through my backlog of movies I have not watched for some time. One of these was Hostel. During my first viewing I was not a huge fan and have not watched it in years. Thought I would give it another go to see how it aged and if my opinion has changed over time. Read on to get the details.
Originally released in 2006 and directed by Eli Roth I can remember seeing the trailer and being excited for the release of the movie. The film stars Jay Hernandez, Eythor Gudjonsson and Barbara Nedeljakova. Below is the original trailer for the film.
What Is the Hostel About?
Paxton (Jay Hernandez) and Josh (Derek Richardson), two American backpackers traveling with their new friend Oli (Eythor Gudjonsson), try their best to impress the others with their ability to party. People in Amsterdam are awestruck by the abundance of explicit depictions of sex, drugs and hash in the city’s streets.
Alex (Lubomir Silhavecky) tells the boys that a hostel in Slovakia promises even more sexy chicks and more potent drugs. The boys are delighted. They immediately board a train. When a fellow traveler, an older Dutchman (Jan Vlasák), makes an unwanted move at Josh, they’re given a taste of what’s to come. Even still, the boys’ arrogance grows when they encounter Natalya (Barbara Nedeljáková) and Svetlana, two girls who appear to be smitten with them (Jana Kaderabkova).
The boys begin to disappear one by one as everyone becomes inebriated and engaged in sexual activity. The affluent patrons who pay to beat and kill attractive young tourists abduct Paxton and force him to sit in a chair as a spastic German man swings a chainsaw over his head.
Opinion and Review of Hostel
Using terms like “cheesy” and “B-grade” to describe a product might be seen as a compliment. However, this is not the case with Hostel. This film has the profile one might anticipate from a direct-to-video release since it is a thrill-less thriller that employs gore to obscure its incapacity to produce tension. However, Lion’s Gate has chosen to release Hostel in theaters due to the appeal of the horror genre and the fact that writer/director Eli Roth gained prominence with his earlier film, Cabin Fever. At the very least, it will boost its profile when it is released on DVD.
See other reviews, White Knuckles Film Review
The film Hostel begins as a sex comedy. Paxton (Jay Hernandez), Josh (Derek Richardson), and Oli (Eythor Gudjonsson) go on a backpacking trip around Europe with their Icelandic friend. They can get their fix of marijuana, liquor, and sex in equal measure in Amsterdam. While in Slovakia, they also learn that there is an excellent hostel nearby where the women are so easygoing that they will have sex with any foreigner with an accent. The three of them board a train headed east with little further ado. At first, what they discover is in line with what they had anticipated. But then things go downhill. Oli vanishes, and it appears he went on a date with a Japanese woman. Afterward, Josh and a Japanese woman leave from the scene (Jennifer Lim). Paxton, looking for his buddies, discovers a conspiracy that puts his life and limbs at jeopardy. Despite its appearances, the hostel is little more than a facade for a living hell.
Hostel’s first third is exactly what you’d expect from a European road trip movie starring hormone-drenched men in their early twenties. There’s a lot of naughtiness here, including a few full-frontal images and a wide variety of breasts. To put it mildly, this segment of the film is entertaining in a campy sense. No matter how poorly developed the characters and stories are, it’s not difficult to watch. Then there are the scary elements. This is where the plot starts to unravel. Roth writes himself into a corner. However, his solution requires much meaningless rushing around, excessive gratuitous gore, and a deficiency of intrigue. When it comes to horror/thriller movies, Hostel fails the litmus test of eliciting an emotional response. The blood and guts aren’t up to snuff to frighten. The action is too routine to be electrified. The final 15 minutes of the film are so full of implausibilities and coincidences that even the most generous audience will be shaking their heads in disbelief.
Actors on the cast are people I’ve never seen before and who I doubt I’ll ever see again. In this case, the two leading actors are both Americans. Ladder 49 and Friday Night Lights both had supporting roles for Hernandez before he was cast as the protagonist in direct-to-DVD. Achieve Greatness the Carlito Way. Among the decade’s worst films, Dumb and Dumberer, has Derek Richardson’s name attached to it. None of the other guys make an impression. And, other from Jennifer Lim, the women appear to have been selected more for their looks than their acting abilities.
Hostel’s cheesy, gory style will appeal to some horror lovers, especially those who enjoy cheesy, gory horror. That is not the case with me. A knife’s edge is the best way for me to savor my fear. As long as the shocks and tension are genuine, I don’t mind seeing blood and guts. That is not the case here. No matter how shocking the hostel’s secret is, the lack of a singular villain diminishes the film’s impact. We can only hope that the year’s first horror picture is not a sign of what’s to come for the genre in 2007.