For three people backpacking across a Slovakian city, what promises to be the time of their life soon turns into the worst nightmare any of them could have dreamed of.
As one by one, they go missing, they each soon discover that this Hostel has a terrifying art show, where these characters are the main exhibit. People pay to torture and kill and get away with it for free. Having been a big fan of Eli Roth’s first attempt at the horror genre, Cabin Fever, I had high expectations for Hostel, ever since I first heard about this film. With Cabin Fever, Roth showed that he’s a director who has a true love for the genre, and his enthusiastic nature of filmmaking really shined in that film. Now, with Hostel, Roth is given a chance to prove himself as a director. Where Cabin Fever relies on a director’s love for the genre, Hostel has to show his fans that he’s a director that’s here to stay, and needless to say, Hostel shows just that. Eli Roth has already set a style of his own with his films. It is easy to see Hostel and tell that he’s the director of Cabin Fever. His characters in Hostel, although somewhat stereotypical, are developed much like the characters in Cabin Fever were, with a lot of humor at the beginning. The character of Oli reminded me completely of Burt from Cabin Fever. Josh was more of a Paul type character, and Paxton was a mix between Burt and Marcy. However, if a character can’t be developed completely, normally a screenwriter does go for stereotypes, which is basically what Eli Roth did. Now, it’s just up to the viewer to see if they can relate to these characters or not. The character of Josh has the classic protagonist feel to him, a good guy trying to get over his ex-girlfriend type character. However, Roth quickly changes that as we discover that the main character in the film is actually Paxton, our party going leader of the group. The villains in this film were pretty well thought up, and there are a lot of villains in this film.
The torturers are all very effective, especially the one who doesn’t like to hear his victim’s talking. The complete insanity of that character is worth the price for admission alone. He reminded me of a more human Dr. Satan from House of 1,000 Corpses. Eli Roth’s vision of horror is quite evident in this film. Once the movie becomes a horror film, the setting is grim and horrific. The torture chamber comes across as a mix of Hellraiser and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Each torture chamber, with a bleak setting of its own. The acting in this film is definitely above average. Jay Hernandez was an excellent choice to play Paxton, and Derek Richardson pulled of Josh perfectly. However, it’s the villains that really sell this film. The main question for horror fans about this film, is the gore and torture scenes. I was expecting an all out torture film in the last half of the movie, however it’s more of a game of cat and mouse. Sure there are torture scenes in it, but they aren’t as graphic as I was expecting. When they do come, they are quite brutal, but Roth doesn’t linger on these scenes for very long. However, KNB Effects does an amazing job with the gore when it comes. Overall, I highly recommend Hostel. Although it’s not as fun as Cabin Fever was, which I loved, it is still a really good horror film, and it’s not a remake of anything. Eli Roth has a true vision of what horror should be, and it’s evident in his work. Now, it’ll be interesting to see what he does next. I give Hostel an 8 out of 10.