HOSTEL–United States-94 Mins. 2005
Written and Directed by Eli Roth
Jay Hernandez as Paxton
Derek Richardson as Josh
Eythor Gudjonsson as Oli
Barbara Nedeljakova as Natalya
Jana Kaderabkova as Svetlana
Jennifer Lim as Kana
Jan Vlsasek as The Dutch Businessman
and Rick Hoffman as The American Client
Hostel is by far one of my favorite horror films of all time. I have watched this film countless times and each time has been as fresh and exciting as the last. My blog today is going to be about what I specifically liked about this film. First of all one of the main things that comes to mind is the script. At first glance you might get the impression that the film is basically about three horny college guys backpacking across Europe in search of drugs and sex who are drawn into the nightmarish world of a society that provides victims for people who want to kill someone. Then when you look a little deeper you begin to see all the little things that make a difference. For instance, Josh and Paxton are from America and have probably never been outside of the United States. It is easy to see that they still have that ‘invincibility’ factor that a lot of young people seem to have. ‘I am young and I am strong and I am American. Nothing is going to happen to me’. What these guys don’t realize is that they could have left at any time but instead let their libidos’ lead them and not their brains.
Another aspect of the film that I enjoyed was the scene involving Oli’s death. The only thing you see is his decapitated head on the work table and his headless body on the floor in the background, still handcuffed to the chair. You know in what way he was murdered; but you don’t know how it was achieved. That, in itself, added to the fact that he is a likable character to begin with, makes his death all the more horrifying.
Also, I though it was genius of Eli Roth to use the great Japanese director Takashi Miike in a brief encounter with Paxton to emphasis the coldness of the men (and women as Hostel: Part II reveals) who pay top dollar in order to kill another human being. Miike tells Paxton ‘You could spend all your money in there’ as if he were describing a department store or hardware store and not a human slaughterhouse.
Finally the music was another strong point in the film. This is true especially in the final third of the film when Paxton is on the run from the organization and is fleeing for his life. Nathan Barrs’ soundtrack matches Paxton’s desperation and utter fear step by step all the way to the final moments of the film.
Hostel has been accused of being one of the films that started the ‘torture porn’ movement that is prevalent in films such as Saw and Captivity. Why? Is it because it shows scenes of people being killed in violent ways by depraved people? What about the Texas Chainsaw Massacre? That movie depicted people being bashed in the head and shoved onto meat hooks by equally depraved people. Why did no one accuse that film of being torture porn? I love TCM, don’t get me wrong. I just think that the accusations toward Hostel are shaky at best.
So, those are my reason as to why I love Hostel and feel that it will one day be considered one of the greatest horror films of all time. Remember, John Carpenters’ The Thing was ridiculed when it first appeared in 1982 and it is now considered a classic.
Eli Roth wrote the role of Oli for Eythor Gudjonsson after he met him doing press for Cabin Fever in Iceland. Roth was so taken with Eythor’s charisma and charm, he promised he’d make put him in a movie one day. Eythor was surprised when he saw that Roth had followed through with his promise, and happily accepted the role.
The porn film the guard at the factory watches on the DVD player is Sex Fever, the X-rated parody of Roth’s first film Cabin Fever.