Hostel

I wasn’t traumatized by Hostel. When a horror movie has this much hype I want to be freaked out and shaking in my Pampers. Yes, vomiting through a ball gag is gross. But, if you are going to show tin snips positioned on a toe you better show that toe coming off. I guess I don’t get these films that say they are back to the 1970s spirit of grindhouse horror films. If there’s homages, I’m not getting them. If there’s cult film alumni in cameos, I don’t know it. I thought Roth’s Cabin Fever was a nice chamber piece and at least this movie gets the bigotry and crudeness of Ugly American tourists correct. I guess as we become less popular around the world it is inevitable that instead of a backroads Texas farmhouse, a Slovakian brokedown palace becomes the crucible for fear. Reading some reviews, evidently Roth was inspired by Audition and Ichi the Killer for Takashi Miike’s penchant for gore and sexploitation.

And The Devil’s Rejects is just as dumb. At least the blonde girl didn’t laugh as much as she did in House of 1000 Corpses.

I do agree with this quote from a review from Reelviews:

A thrill-less thriller that uses gore to obfuscate its inability to generate tension, this motion picture has the profile one might expect from a direct-to-video release.

And that is totally the crux of the matter. There’s very little tension. Which is surprising coming from creators that are such cinephiles. And I totally don’t buy that there is a better time to be had anywhere on earth besides Amsterdam.

If you like misogyny, gore and lots of and lots of naked bouncing breasts then this is the picture for you.

But puh-leeze – there’s more gore (implied) and tension in one episode of 24 than this pedestrian yawner.

Note to horror film directors: Can we drop the power tools meme? It’s tired. Ever since Doom added chainsaw to the weapons list power tools are really no big deal. If you want to learn how to torture, just read the Taguba Report.

Alert: Metacritic also has 2 notes that BloodRayne and Grandma’s Boy have not been screened for critics which probably means they are really really bad.
And note – the top-level domain for Russia is .ru not .rus. Slovakia’s is .sk.
What I did like: the Big Twist of What’s Really Going On. That alone was a great premise that belonged in a much better executed film.

Update: Roth says that his film is riffing on the exploitive attitude of the American tourists portrayed. I think that’s having your cake and eating it too. Having scene after scene with topless women doesn’t mean you actually have to always show their breasts. It is like the challenge of making a war movie that doesn’t glorify violence… Can you have characters being explotive without making a film that is exploitive? Just say you wanted to show lots of naked women. Bonus: the older asian man leaving the warehouse in Slovakia is Takashi Miike.
Further – there’s no feces in this movie. How can you say you’re writing the sickest thing you can imagine with no feces and no mentrual blood? I mean really. Get your fluids straight. Hell, Trainspotting had feces.

The producers brag about audiences vomiting after the film. I don’t think vomiting after seeing characters vomit should count. Some people are sympathetic vomiters. That’s like people saying that The Blair Witch Project made them sick – until you see the movie you don’t realize it is motion sickness from the shaky-cam.

6 thoughts on “Hostel

  1. J.J.

    “Audition” did give me a major case of the squirmies. More recently, “High Tension” lived up to its name. I think horror films pack less punch these days because we continue to be inoculated with escalating doses of real-life tragedy; nothing on the silver screen these days is more potent than the horror of the 10 o’clock news.

  2. Andy

    Yes! Audition was squirmy though it had a boring first act. High Tension was very good – but I felt the ending copped it out.

  3. J.J.

    I agree, on both counts. The “perfect” horror movie is an elusive thing. I think David Lynch needs to try to make another one; there were sequences in a few “Twin Peaks” episodes that were truly frightening. Otherwise, I’d have to go all the way back to “Alien”, “The Exorcist”, and “Night of the Living Dead” as nominees that approach perfection.

  4. Neil

    I agree that the movie was not even the least bit of a horror film. I’d even go as far as to say my phone bill is Ten Times more Terrifying. However, I’d like to point out that I got a good laugh out of the gangs.rus business cards… I.e. “Gangs R Us” … I thought it was a very good play on words considering how they were Toying with the Americans. I don’t think this was a mistake as you seem to believe it was…
    Besides, why would it be a real domain? When you watch a movie and the actor’s phone number is 555-7312 you wouldn’t assume that was a mistake.
    Just a thought 🙂

  5. Andy

    Only because I thought it’d be good marketing to actually have a fake site at the domain given in the film.

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