|31 Days of Horror|
|Yes, even them, with their Eli Roth-nipples|
|"We do not fear vaginal asphyxiation"|
|If this was CSI, we would hear Roger Daltrey screaming "YEAAAAHHH!!!"|
|If this looks too "edgy" for you, then it is|
The acting in Hostel is surprisingly decent. There are no good actors in this film, but Jay Hernandez was as good as I've seen him here. Granted, he's usually pretty mediocre/awful, but even his limited acting ability didn't get in the way of his character's believable reactions and motivations. Derek Richardson was fine as the bitchy, conservative member of the troupe, but that also made him fairly unlikable. Eythor Gudjonsson, though, was the saving grace of the main cast. Oli was awesome. In a film filled with profanity and lewd remarks, Oli stood out, thanks to the joy and unique nature of his work. Jan Vlasák was suitably creepy in a small, but important, role. It could have been a more substantial part, but I blame that moer on the script than on Vlasák.
|"I'm the one paying them!" could have been epic with a better script|
|"Hey, dick, I'm a little preoccupied here"|
Hostel is only the second film directed by Eli Roth, but it shows a surprising amount of confidence on the part of the director/writer. One thing at a time, though. Roth's direction shows a talent for building suspense; the torture scenes bordered on masterful, with regard to suspense. The overall pacing of the film is a little uneven, and it would have been better if that sense of suspense or dread was carried through more of the movie, but this is a torture/horror movie --- let's be honest, we're lucky to get anything this competent. Roth's best moments lie in particular scenes; he does a fantastic job making uncomfortable moments feel absolutely excruciating. That doesn't translate into the movie as a whole, which has an almost comedic tone at times, but those moments are what sticks out most in the memory.
|In other words, you recall the torture more than the boobs|
[To be fair, that was my reaction to the Unrated Director's Cut, which has a different ending than the Theatrical and Unrated editions. After seeing the other ending, I stand by my statement.]
Hostel is a movie about torture, so how violent is it? Not as bad as you would think. The first half of the movie is almost devoid of violence and gore, so it really isn't until Josh gets kidnapped that the viewer sees anything gross. Even then, the violence is not nearly as unbearable as I had imagined it to be. Of course, "not as unbearable" does not mean that this is a gore-free film. The worst moments are probably when Josh has his Achilles' tendons slashed and when the Japanese girl gets her face torched.
|I don't want to look for it, but I'm sure there is a Japanese fetish porn site that loves this picture|
|Thankfully, the hunchback body-part-retriever doesn't deliver puns. In English, anyway.|
Eli Roth is famous for supporting both extreme violence and nudity in his movies, and Hostel is no exception. If you are a fan of female nudity, there are over a dozen breasts pairs to ogle. Are they gratuitous? Mostly, yes. However, they are gleefully gratuitous, which somehow makes it seem less sleazy, although I'm not sure I can explain why.
What's the verdict on Hostel, then? I fully expected that I would cringe my way through this movie, but I found it surprisingly watchable. There are some elements in this film that I loved --- the fact that there were no subtitles added to the sense of isolation, the girls did a good job, and there was enough humor to offset the uncomfortable moments --- but there were just as many that I disliked --- the inconsistent tone, the "edgy" dialogue, the action movie final act. If I could change only one thing in this movie, I would have had more suspense, even if that meant longer torture scenes. The fact that the most memorable scenes are so short, and yet have such a central importance to the plot makes this an uneven story, at best. Given the actors Roth was working with, I think this movie turned out surprisingly good for what it is. "What it is," though, is a couple of graphic scenes wrapped in another hour-plus of stupid character syndrome.