Saturday, February 9, 2013

HOSTEL (2005) movie review

Hostel (2005) d. Roth, Eli (USA)

Following the spirited (if not entirely successful) twist on the “kids in the woods” horror subgenre with his flesh-wasting freshman effort, Cabin Fever, writer/director Eli Roth heads overseas to provide a chilling assault on the vacationing habits of backpacking college kids everywhere.

American frat boys Derek Richardson and Jay Hernandez are introduced in Amsterdam, enjoying the hedonistic nightlife to its fullest. However, they are soon lured, along with Icelandic pal Eythor Gudjonsson, to a youth hostel in nearby Slovakia with promises of nubile females who will “do anything.” This indeed proves to be true, but beneath the veneer of the party boys’ paradise lurks a terrifying and sinister secret: Seems the local tourist trade is directly linked with an exclusive torture club, where victims are captured and murdered in the most gruesome fashions imaginable.

Roth takes a huge leap forward from the lowbrow humor and paper-thin characters of CF, combining fresh acting talent, “this could really happen” subject matter, and KNB’s squirm-worthy gore f/x to create a solid thrill ride that maintains tension and suspense throughout. (Red-blooded heterosexual male viewers probably won’t have any quibbles with the amount of skin on view either, courtesy of mysterious and sexyfine Barbara Nedeljakova and Jana Kaderabkova.)

Though it’s far from the modern horror high-water mark that some claim it to be, I found this to be a more-than-worthwhile offering and looked forward to seeing what Roth has is store for the future. Keep a sharp eye out for cult Japanese director Takashi Miike in a memorable cameo. Exec-produced by Quentin Tarantino.

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