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Overall Rating

Awesome: 22.1%
Worth A Look: 25.97%
Average: 6.08%
Pretty Bad: 13.26%
Total Crap32.6%

9 reviews, 127 user ratings

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by EricDSnider

"This is why Europe is bad."
4 stars

Eli Roth became a cult hero in 2003, when his "Cabin Fever" hit theaters and was hailed as a rebirth of the old-school style of blood-and-laughs as found in movies like "Evil Dead II" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." Funny one minute, horrific and graphic the next, "Cabin Fever" was soon an underground hit.

Now comes his follow-up, "Hostel," which is a little lighter on the humor and a little heavier on the torture. It's a good movie, as these things go, occasionally painful to endure and quite fiendishly devised. If that doesn't sound like your idea of a good time at the movies, you're excused from watching it.

The premise, or as much of it as I can tell you without ruining any surprises, is a time-honored classic: attractive young people go someplace unfamiliar and are slaughtered. A few gore flicks let the kids get killed at home (notably the "Halloween" and "Nightmare on Elm Street" series), but it's usually when they're away: camping, on a road trip, or on vacation somewhere. In this case, it's backpacking through Europe.

Strangely, there are no girls among the potential victims, at least not readily. In fact, the group is small: just Paxton (Jay Hernandez), his best bud Josh (Derek Richardson), and the Icelandic freak they picked up in Paris, Oli (Eythor Gudjonsson). Paxton and Josh have just finished college, we gather, and are in Europe to see how much sex they can have. Paxton is the more gregarious of the two; Josh is hesitant and still nursing his wounds after being recently dumped back home. And Oli is a goofball who will do anything.

While looking for debauchery in Amsterdam, the trio learns of a hostel in Slovakia that is legendary for its nubile young women and its general acceptance of all things licentious. And if someone in AMSTERDAM is saying this, then the place must really be swingin'. The boys set out for Slovakia immediately and sure enough, the hostel is everything they dreamed it would be: nude women in the spas, loose women in the discos, liquor and pot flowing through the streets like water.

Then, 45 minutes into the film, the terror starts. There are abductions, and there is torture. It's interesting to note that the recent release "Wolf Creek" followed the same pattern: 45 minutes of set-up and stalling, followed by 50 minutes of mayhem. The first half of "Wolf Creek" felt repetitive to me, but "Hostel" loads up on frat-boy humor, visual stimulation (in the form of lovely European ladies) and unanticipated plot devices, enough to hold our interest before we really get down to business.

The business, when it is gotten down to, is suitably gruesome and intense, the product of a twisted imagination and a firm grasp of the horror language. Some of the details are more inventive than you would think. Indeed, where most films would be satisfied to have a lunatic with a torture chamber in his basement, Roth goes above and beyond that.

Roth counts Quentin Tarantino among his mentors (and fans), and it would be unfair to dismiss "Hostel" as nothing but a competent delivery system for slash-and-smash yuks. Like Tarantino, Roth composes shots stylishly, amps up the shrieking musical score when the action goes over-the-top, and lets humor emerge from the extremeness of the onscreen scenarios. Even if this type of entertainment doesn't entertain you, ya gotta admit, it's pretty slickly done.

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originally posted: 01/07/06 22:05:08
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Toronto Film Festival For more in the 2005 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

2/21/17 morris campbell the only good torture porn movie 4 stars
11/28/10 daniel vermillion Wow! Breathtaking thrills! Chilling suspense! And that dialogue: "I won't tell anybody, let 3 stars
2/21/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess Much better than I thought it would be 4 stars
1/18/09 action movie fan an actually engrossing torture porn flick with a good stoyr and suspense 4 stars
1/15/09 FrankNFurter Deeply unpleasant, misanthropic excrement on cellulloid.Absolutely horrid! 1 stars
11/24/08 action fucking sick dude 1 stars
10/28/08 Sugarfoot Too repetitive and predictable to be scary, though the gore factor is there. 2 stars
9/10/08 Borat Eli Roth talked up this movie way to didnt deserve the hype. 3 stars
7/24/08 Shaun Wallner Bloody Awesome!!! 5 stars
3/01/08 Ivana Mann Promising, creepy set-up turns into overly gory house-of-horrors shit. Roth goes too far! 2 stars
2/11/08 Mark Great Horror movie, this is the new benchmark 5 stars
10/28/07 Jest Eli Roth and Uwe Boll need to kill themselves to save cinema 1 stars
10/04/07 Flesh-GTA I noticed all the bad coments are antigore. Yeah Gore!!PS I Love this Film, Keep it up Eli! 5 stars
9/26/07 dude unwatchable 1 stars
7/19/07 Alice The Scary movies, american pie lovers, will prob love this also, so: A NO BRAINER 1 stars
5/06/07 Dan Lipian A surprisingly intelligent, albeit excessively gory, take on seeking pleasures of the flesh 5 stars
4/18/07 Sally SUCKED! 1 stars
4/02/07 Dark Enchantress i have shit better things out of my ass 1 stars
3/31/07 fools♫gold Pointless nudity and Hitchcock-style could-be-true horror story that everyone hates?! 3 stars
2/08/07 Raph Branca Sexy, scary, bloody. Everything a horror film should be. 5 stars
2/02/07 Shobert Piss poor filmmaking, nonexistant script, laughable acting, stupid movie for idiots. 1 stars
1/18/07 del ME LIKEY GORE AND HAVE NO BRAIN!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
12/21/06 David Pollastrini brilliant, great gore 5 stars
12/03/06 seonaid Hideously brilliant. Good, senseless gore, but, surprisingly, with a fairly original plot. 5 stars
11/14/06 millersxing Miike fan disappointed both by that brief cameo and by dull storytelling. 2 stars
11/10/06 American Slasher Goddess Decent enough and much better then the horribly goofy Cabin Fever. 3 stars
11/02/06 Roy R. Pryor Those who vilify me for watchin "too gross" AMERICAN PIE should be forced to watch THIS! 1 stars
11/02/06 bobby Made me feel dirty just watching it. Set back Eatern European tourism 10 years! 4 stars
10/31/06 pete.chesworth very creepy film with a sense of dread pervading the screen 4 stars
10/29/06 Tara this movie was quite pointless, and the effects looked pretty fake 2 stars
10/29/06 Pritchett Not scary, not stylish, pointless gore. Total yawn-inducing garbage. 1 stars
10/22/06 Dillon Uneven and a little dull, but it might work for you if you like this kind of thing. 3 stars
10/19/06 David Pollastrini good gore. 5 stars
10/18/06 AJ Muller Eli Roth is here to stay, and we horror freaks should be MIGHTY thankful 5 stars
9/22/06 Pimp It kicked heaps of arse best thing I've seen tits and violence what a great combo 5 stars
9/11/06 truth eli roth redeems himself after the horrible cabin fever 4 stars
8/28/06 anthonyuk lacked any tension, overhyped garbage, almost laughable, lets hope eli roth retires soon! 1 stars
8/23/06 chris f best horror movie ive seen!!! 5 stars
8/19/06 Beau Good, woodnt see it twice. the producer/director 'quentin' is full of sick plots, worth 2 c 4 stars
8/18/06 Vince Good idea nicely executed 4 stars
8/17/06 Senoa It's bloody, it's gory. It's well done, but watch it twice and you need help. 4 stars
8/14/06 Me I love this movie it does not suck and jay hernandez is SEXY!! 5 stars
8/05/06 Sumixam great idea poorly executed (pardon the pun) 3 stars
7/22/06 Agent Sands Really quite a good movie, just poorly misadvertised. 4 stars
7/19/06 Steve Has to be the darkest horror film I've seen. Extremely hardcore horror! It was great! 5 stars
7/15/06 Anthony G Worth seeing one time just to say you've seen it, after that you should hang yourself. 1 stars
6/23/06 TempLoop Better than I thought it would be 4 stars
6/15/06 Indrid Cold Like Cabin Fever, it's relatively good for its genre. Worth seeing once. 3 stars
6/13/06 Tasia I liked this movie, but I think it was way too hyped up. I don't think it's worth owning 3 stars
6/04/06 William Goss Extremely entertaining exploitation. However, post-screening shower sold separately. 4 stars
5/25/06 Jon How can you guys say this was ok!?!?? You people are sick. WORST. MOVIE. EVER. 1 stars
5/20/06 JeromeBosch Christine, what did you dislike? 4 stars
5/20/06 Christine Wilbik It wasn't worth watching. One of the worst movies ever made. 1 stars
5/15/06 Monday Morning Very tasteful, compared to Kill Bill. 1 stars
5/11/06 Jerome Bosch see it for the babes! 4 stars
5/11/06 Agent Sands Misadvertised. It's actually a good movie. 4 stars
5/05/06 Vince Pretty good gore-fest actually 4 stars
5/04/06 ES The 'I'm American I have to get vengence on all who have wronged me" ending killed the film 1 stars
5/01/06 Leslie My interest to see it /"based on true events" is it possible? No trip to Europe for me! 3 stars
4/27/06 Sheldon This is a sign that good horror movies are endangered 1 stars
4/27/06 Bill This movie was horrible and it sucked! 1 stars
4/24/06 Annie From all the hype, I expected more, big letdown... 3 stars
4/23/06 Mick I enjoyed the last 30 minutes of the film the best. 5 stars
4/23/06 Josh Standlee Fuck you, Mike D! This movie kicked hella ass!! 5 stars
4/23/06 Danny I do believe this is the most repulsive movie ever. Total waste of time. 1 stars
4/21/06 Nicko What the fuck are you talking about Laffy 5 stars
4/20/06 Laffy Taffy Disgusting and it sucked 1 stars
4/20/06 tatum Terrible letdown from Cabin Fever, lifeless and a bore 1 stars
4/18/06 Kevin experience This movie was total crap, plotless pointless and pathetic 1 stars
4/18/06 does what it is supposed to do b-movie horror at it's finest. at least better than DEVIL'S REJECTS 5 stars
4/10/06 Rub Molesto Why isn't there a "no star" rating? I wouldn't but this movie to scrape the shit off my ass 1 stars
4/04/06 Mike D Total shit...only losers like this crap. 1 stars
3/15/06 sandra lopez hey! well i saw the movie hostel and it's verry good i liked it. jay i love you. 5 stars
3/13/06 chris f very sick and gory i enjoyed it 5 stars
3/12/06 Frenzy Dumb movie 2 stars
3/12/06 Reklc If this is what americans think about Europe we're lucky not to be ocupied. Sucks!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
3/11/06 Dillon Slow in the beginning, but once it gets going it doesn't stop 3 stars
3/09/06 Marcia Lartz OMG, EricDSnider! Where's fart humor when we need it Svetlana&Natalia, please blast one! 1 stars
3/08/06 Jane Austen's Enema WRONG TURN made me sure to visit West Virginia. Too bad Slovakia's so far away! 2 stars
3/08/06 Allison Lafferty Does such shit really happen in Bratislava? Ugh! Almost coulda made me a Lesbian (LMAO). 2 stars
3/03/06 Bleak Brilliant!!! anyone who hated this doesnt have a clue 5 stars
3/02/06 ronald total rubbish.Fuck you roth 1 stars
2/26/06 Dannothemoviemanno Liked Cabin Fever.. bored with this. 2 stars
2/17/06 BoondockTwat This was such a stupid movie...if you liked it, you're stupid, too. Eli Roth stupid. 1 stars
1/31/06 Agent Sands What the fuck?! This was really really really good! 5 stars
1/30/06 Amy I have never puked after a movie, but this movie made me!!! 2 stars
1/21/06 Flyboy A total piece of shit with absolutely no style and a nonexistant script. A complete waste. 1 stars
1/21/06 SoHo Defend it as you may wish, in the end you're defending a pile of turds in drag. 1 stars
1/20/06 ChappyX Not for people who like story structure, characters, or any resembling an actual script. 1 stars
1/19/06 kat Dropped to #5 in second week...ha! People DO have taste! Wow! 1 stars
1/18/06 ShadowFace5 I enjoyed the movie. Good concept. 4 stars
1/18/06 Jon Gory, but not scary. 4 stars
1/18/06 Larry The people who liked this are the same who liked DEVIL'S REJECTS - RETARDS!!!!! 1 stars
1/17/06 KevinG "wtf is wrong with yall???" We have taste...and you do not. 1 stars
1/16/06 Jai Alai I have to say that I like it far more than I thought I would 5 stars
1/16/06 Jesus This movie ROCKED! wtf is wrong with yall??? 5 stars
1/16/06 gerald If Eli Roth is the future, we should all repent right now... 1 stars
1/15/06 Gerald Sherfy Roth should go back to film school: shades of Pulp Fiction anyone? 1 stars
1/15/06 Sam Justus Eli Roth is definitely the future of horror! 5 stars
1/15/06 Larrold Not scary, not really that gory, no suspense, no style...totally pointless and BAD. 1 stars
1/14/06 Jennifer this was one of the best horror movies I have seen in a long time 4 stars
1/14/06 Gummo Like a 12-year-old retard attempting to be profound...pathetic. 1 stars
1/13/06 Perry Mason About as scary and disturbing as getting a tooth pulled. 1 stars
1/13/06 Mumba If I heard the word "Dude" one more time! What a S-T-U-P-I-D movie!! 1 stars
1/12/06 TriggerHappy A complete waste of time...I'd say talent, too, but Eli Roth doesn't have any. 1 stars
1/11/06 Simon Some of the violence was disturbing enough, so it does its job there. but oh so pointless! 2 stars
1/11/06 Blobby One of the DUMBEST, worst pieces of SHIT I've ever seen in a theater!!! 1 stars
1/10/06 kmdewitt Doesnt EVEN compare to Saw. Hostel is a bloody, limb-cutting porn. 2 stars
1/10/06 Nekro Badly written and directed. Zero suspense and overrated gore. Pass. 1 stars
1/09/06 lapis A big load of horse manure posing as some kind of bad movie. 1 stars
1/09/06 Flounder One of the most entertaining horror flicks to come down the pike in quite some time. 5 stars
1/09/06 lee Not enough blood, but still entertaining. 4 stars
1/09/06 Kali Gore - big crap (and boring) storyline, acting, script, plot, characters. 1 stars
1/09/06 wrob Disturbing and completely plausable. Well done. 5 stars
1/09/06 Agent Sands OK, so it wasn't as shocking as everyone thought it would be, but it's still great. 4 stars
1/09/06 lumpy This movie was dung...and the gore wasn't even that great! Fuck this crap... 1 stars
1/08/06 me pseudo snuff films suck 1 stars
1/08/06 y2mckay Fuck SAW and dumbass PG-13 horror. Plenty of titties, gore, suspense, and humor. 4 stars
1/08/06 Bitchum Very badly-written and badly-made...the gore doesn't save it. 1 stars
1/08/06 aimless Eurotrip meets Toolbox Murders but it could use Michelle Tractenberg 2 stars
1/07/06 SlappytheFrog 'Sorry, Mr. Roth, but you're just no Takashi Miike... 1 stars
1/07/06 rory bore fest 1 stars
12/16/05 Groth Piss poor attempt at grindhouse Miike 1 stars
9/22/05 marajade29sm Finally, a horror film that truly doesn't back down from its subject matter! 5 stars
9/18/05 pierre bonhomme Just saw it at Toronto Fest - 2 Thumbs Up!! The best horror ride In years! 5 stars
9/18/05 L. Anderson Only for those who LOVE gore... 4 stars
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  06-Jan-2006 (R)
  DVD: 18-Apr-2006



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