Starring: Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, Eythor Gudjonsson, Barbara Nedeljakova
Director: Eli Roth
Based on the latest box office receipts, this review will come much too late. But that’s no reason not to start off by apologizing to those of you who went too see Eli Roth’s “Hostel.” You see, this movie is, quite simply, complete garbage. This film, which Quentin Tarantino has inexplicably managed to get his name attached to as a “presenter,” is a ridiculous and pretentious piece of refuse that pitifully attempts to be something it clearly is not.
“Hostel,” not to be confused with “hostile,” which is how you will feel when you leave the theater, follows two ugly Americans and an Icelandic drifter as they backpack across Europe, staying in hostels along the way. After a brief stint of marijuana-laced sexual debauchery in Amsterdam (admittedly, the movie starts off okay), the trio makes their way to a remote Slovokian hostel rumored to have ripe Euro-sluts for the plucking. If you’re still awake, after the film takes way too long to get to this point, you’ll realize this is when the film plummets to a preposterous new low in filmmaking. One by one, the characters find themselves prey to would-be serial killers using the hostel as their source for fresh victims. Although the idea is a somewhat unique twist on the horror-film formula, the so-called “style” director Eli Roth gives the film amounts to little more than camera lens-tinted tits and amateurish gore.
“Hostel” is the opposite of everything it has been purported to be. It's not scary, for starters. The film doesn’t contain anything other films haven’t already done better. At no point does this film invoke even a subtle twinge of fear, anxiety, or even the disquiet that accompanies the unknown. It’s too absurd to take seriously. Its unintentionally funny writing, laughably horrendous makeup, and its simple-minded, dim-witted characters are only pathetic to watch. In fact, the movie would be insulting (to Europeans, women, movie fans) if it wasn’t so terrible in every conceivable way.
You’ve got to hand it to Lion’s Gate, the studio that released this film, for the marketing stroke of genius that was required for this movie to not only make money, but even manage to brainwash several movie critics into an even slightly ambivalent review. Somehow this film was presented as something more than a complete waste of two hours of your life, and some people have remarkably accepted this premise. Those people need to have their heads examined. Any inkling you may have of even finding amusement in how horrible this movie is, are quickly replaced by the shame or anger you will undoubtedly have for having your precious time squandered away.
Commentaries, commentaries, who wants commentaries? Director Eli Roth does a whopping four of them, with guests varying from executive producer Quentin Tarantino to “web author” Harry Knowles. The Tarantino commentary is obviously very lively, to the point where you’d think these guys were watching “Airplane!” instead of a snuff film. Since the movie is the unrated version, there are no leftover deleted scenes, but there are three lengthy featurettes on making the movie.