Written and directed by Eli Roth (Cabin Fever), Hostel follows two American backpackers making their way across Europe. Like most men, these two travelers are motivated by the idea of scoring chicks. They learn of a Slovakian city that promises to meet their hedonistic expectations, but little do they realize what they're really walking into -- a place where you can kill and torture for a price.
When I saw the first trailer for Hostel, which was coincidently attached to Saw 2, my interested was sparked. Learning Quentin Tarantino was an executive producer on the project, I instantly decided I had to see it. Maybe I should have paid stronger attention to the fact that the same man responsible for "Cabin Fever" was also involved.
The first hour of Hostel plays like a late-night Cinemax special, full of terrible acting and a dumbed-down storyline. Its only saving grace is the sheer amount of nudity and sexual content that inhabit every scene. As much as I'd like to say the second hour redeems it, I don't like lying.
For those of you wanting to be completely grossed out, Hostel might do the trick for you, but I have a feeling you'll leave unsatisfied. The trailer gives the illusion of truly terrifying sequences, but cutaways and other techniques severely constrict the effect.
The story focuses on the "warehouse of torture," as I call it, for only 25 minutes or so, and while it may be grizzly and violent, the film's story is so weak that its disturbing imagery is completely pointless and unnecessary. What Hostel has in female frontal nudity and dismemberment it lacks in suspense and character depth; it's essentially "Eurotrip" without Matt Damon, but with fake blood and power tools.
Hostel is neither shocking nor surprising in any meaning of the word. I found myself sitting in the theater literally calling out the plot's next "twist" as if I had just sat at a desk looking at storyboards all day. The audience seemed to struggle with the film as well; while some people did truly scream or jump during some parts, most people seemed content to laugh hysterically at some of the violent scenes because of their cheesy deliveries.
Somewhere in this waste of celluloid was a good concept, but, unfortunately, it seems as though no thought or care was put into its presentation. Hollywood just isn't trying anymore, and the sad thing is, they're still making money. Hostel appeals to the adolescent, hormonally challenged crowd, which is more than willing to pay $7.50 to see some breasts and a few bloody limbs rolling around on a cold concrete floor.
Films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Saw and even its successor Saw 2 are much more suspenseful, scarier and overall more satisfying to those out for blood. I give Hostel 2 out of 5 stars, and that's being generous.
Adam Frazier drives an El Camino and sports a vicious mullet.