Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actor: Jay Hernandez
Well-made for the genre--the excessive-skin-displayed-before-gruesome-bloody-torture-begins genre--Hostel follows two randy Americans (Jay Hernandez, Friday Night Lights, and Derek Richardson, Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry... more »
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Dark, nihilistic, misogynistic...but somewhat flawed
A. Sandoc | San Pablo, California United States | 02/28/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I may be one of the few people who actually enjoyed Eli Roth's first film, Cabin Fever, despite the many inherent flaws to the story, direction and all-over-the-place feel. I never bought into the tagline for that film as once of the most horrific films this generation. I've been watching horror films for as long as I can remember and Cabin Fever doesn't even scratch the surface of what constitutes a great horror film. But it did show me that Eli Roth was serious about genre and acknowledges and honors his roots and influences.
Hostel is Roth's sophomore effort, and just like Rob Zombie with his second film (The Devil's Rejects) he shows improvement as a filmmaker and continues to show that he respects the genre he's chosen to be in. Hostel is an exercise in hate, pain and nihilism. There really are no sympathetic characters in the film. Roth instead shows just how debased, cruel and inhumane people can be towards each other. Whether its through verbal, physical and intellectual means. I must point out that this film is not the torture-porn that alot of media-types call it. The gore and torture really doesn't start until fully halfway into the film. Everything before the second half begins can be summed us as soft-core porn. There's alot of nudity and sex in this first half and sets-up the three characters played by Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson and Eythor Gudjonsson.
These three college students are shown as boorish, misogynistic, insensitive louts who wish nothing more from their European vacation than sex, drugs, sex, drugs and more sex. It's this behavior that lures them to a town in Slovakia. An Eastern European, Soviet Bloc-era town where the women are stunning and horny to do whatever with foreign men. So, the trio takes off for this haven of horny, easy, beautiful women and the soft-core porn sequences continues once they arrive. But intermixed within these sequences are small bits and hints of dread and uneasiness. There's a certain sense of decay to the town and its inhabitants despite the normal scenery.
The second half promptly begins once they arrive in town and check into the hsotel. The gore mentioned by most reviewers are pretty graphic for what was finally given an R-rating. For people like myself and other horror aficionados the gore in Hostel is something we haven't seen before. The gore and torture scenes are in-your-face and Roth owes alot of thanks to Takashi Miike's Audition in how the scenes are presented. Roth's style of directing Hostel really brings to mind Miike's cult favorite. Takashi Miike even makes a brief appearance in the film.
One thing that I wanted Roth to do which he seemed to have pulled back from was going all-out in presenting Hostel as a horror exploitation film. This film tries to emulate the gory exploitation Italian and American films of the mid-70's to early 80's. Maybe the MPAA had forced Roth to trim certain scenes to get an R-rating. In certain scenes one could almost feel and sense that something was left out. Maybe the DVD release with an unrated, director's cut will shed some light to this. Roth's influences are plain to see, but he falls slightly short of reaching the lofty heights that Romero, Miike, Fulci, Craven (early), Hooper, Gordon and Argento established with their grand guignol works.
Hostel is a very good second offering from Eli Roth who really seem to like the horror genre and is constantly trying to pay it homage. His direction is much better and gone are the campy, almost comedic sequences from Cabin Fever. The film does fail to convey anything original to the genre, but succeeds enough in honoring its bloody past. Roth went from a genre-hack to very promising horror auteur with Hostel. I am hoping his next project is less of an homage to horror's past and he actually adds to its future legacy. I'm happy to give this film a grade of 7/10."
The ultimate tourist trap
trashcanman | Hanford, CA United States | 10/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The first time you watch "Hostel" you leave remembering two things: an insane amount of sex and nudity, and some truly brutal torture sequences. The media ignoranty dubbed it a new genre, "torture porn". This film is actually rather tame when compared to some of Italy's 70's horror, grindhouse flicks like "Cannibal Holocaust", and some of Asia's current horror masters. Nontheless, horror fans drooled, sqeamish movie-goers and media watchdogs were offended, then everybody moved on. The truth is this: "Hostel" is the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" of our generation. After taking this so-called "director's cut" re-release as an opportunity to revisit a recent horror film I remembered fondly -if mostly for the two reasons stated above- I came to realize why so many people (not the least of which is Quentin Tarantino) believe in Eli Roth as a horror savior.
"Hostel" is a film layered with subtle humor that builds suspense beautifully and gives the audience exactly what they want to see while making them feel as though they've seen worse things than they actually have; all TCM hallmarks. The characters, obnoxiously American protagonists and European antagonists alike, are all both likeable, depraved, and almost feel like people you may know or have met somewhere before. You laugh with them, you scream with them, and you wonder what your own friends and family are truly capable of. Also reminiscent of TCM is the slaughterhouse feel one gets from the entire process of this torture industry where angry Europeans can take out their frustration with Americans and other tourists for a fee, thus comparing the suffering of the victims to that of animals harvested for slaughter. Be it simply for irony's sake, vegetarian propaganda, or both; it is nicely done. Had I reviewed this flick after one veiwing, I'd have given it 4 stars, tops, but having spent a little more time with "Hostel", I've found that there really is much more than meets the eye here. It really is a damn near flawless horror film with lots of little jokes I missed the first time around (keychain anybody?) and a final act that is so delightfully insane you can't help but smile as Roth intentionally pushes the limits of implausibility to comical levels while giving the audience bloody satisfaction. I love it.
While these DVD's are packed with extras that the studio apparently wouldn't allow Roth to include in the intitial release, as a director's cut this release fails miserably. The film itself is entirely unchanged except for an alternate ending. And that ending is awful, nonsensical, confounding, out of character, and pretty much inferior to the original cut in every possible way. So why the 5 stars? Because Roth was wise enough to include both versions so that you can choose to watch the original unrated version with the good ending intact. No harm, no foul. There are no less than four commentaries, tons of lengthy featurettes, around 20 minutes of deleted scenes, and an interview with the most hardcore director in the business, Japan's twisted and talented Takashi Miike (who has a cameo in the film) among other extras. Many of these special features were on the first DVD so this release is really only for those who have put off buying this movie. And if you haven't yet, now is the time."
Lame Movie for The Vacant Minded
Josh | NYC | 01/24/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
Cabin Fever was one of the worse "horror" movies ever made. It lack a story, character development, and had no plot. The premise was completely preposterous, namely a flesh eating bacteria suddenly breaks out among a group of poor city slicker visiting the back woods of white-trash redneck-ville. The stereotypes were trite and plastic, even genuinely racists to both whites and blacks. Thus is the limitation of Eli Roth's talent for both writing and directing.
In Hostel, he does no better, only now substituting more blood and gore in a pathetic attempt to compensate for his blaring deficiencies as a writer and director of cinema. Yet Roth seems to genuinely believe he has achieved something of greatness in showing, for instance, a woman strapped to a chair having her toes chopped off with a larger lock cutter. This, we are to believe, is the height of
artistic talent and creativity. Indeed, only the most scatologicial and undeveloped, vacant loser minds would find such poor garbage as this amusing.
The only thing that proves genuinely grotesque about this movie is Roth's appalling lack of imagination and most undeserved sense of accomplishment and unjustified pride in believing he has any talent other than to amuse adolescent, puerile teenage minds.
This movie was not horror nor horrifying an experience. Compared to movies like Seven, which despite having little or no blood in it was far more frigthening and distrubing than Hostel for cleverly eliciting the viewer's sense of dread and own imagination to fill in the suggestive details, Hostel just inundates you with a barage of senseless, frenetic images that soon become formulaic and tedious.
Moreover, unlike Seven, which presented a very real scenario that didn't insult the intelligence of viewers and had skillful, competent actors who actually acted, Hostel is premised on a very preposterous premise of a large underground torture and murder industry in which despite a large clientele of murders and ever amassng murder victims, no one is the wiser outside of the town in which these crimes take place and where everyone in the town just about is involved in the scheme--all the while presented by so-called "actors" who cannot act to quite literally save their own lives. Even the supposedly "steamy sex scenes" (to borrow from the trite description so often said of the sex scenes), the acting is stiff (pardon the pun) and plastic.
You have no concern for the characters, except for perhaps one, an Icelander who is arguably the most sympathetic. The movie then truly proves as a puerile excuse for genuinbely gratuitous lame and rather unerotic sex and female nudity and blood and gore. You'd have a far better time renting a porno, then, and watching an Ultimate Fight match than seeing Hostel if that is watching cheap looking women acting like whorish fools and seeing blood blow is your sense of entertainment.
--Josh Evans Jr., Film Student"
So it is that bad?
M. UHL | I done forgot | 03/31/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Look, for anyone rating this 1 star or hoping for a 0 star rating stop reviewing a genre that you hate. Maybe you like older movies, maybe you like love stories, maybe you like a film to be uplifiting. Whatever you like it is not horror. Sure, there are plot holes (all horror movies have those) and yes it has SO MUCH gore and nudity(which a horror movie is naked without) it offends you. But who asked you to watch this and rip it apart.
I love movies in general, own a couple hundred. I saw this in the theater because I enjoyed the very humerous Cabin Fever and Eli Roth as a director in general. If you like movies and can enjoy good humor watch the cabin fever extras. So simple and funny. And Eli Roth appearing in Both Cabin Fever and Hostel was really funny, I dug his cameos.
Overall I like Eli Roth's movies and think Hostel was not GREAT or anything but it was far from the 1 star ratings most of the close minded people reviewing it posted. So if you can agree with what I have said go watch this and cabin fever too, you won't be sorry."