Dir: Eli Roth, 2005
The question surrounding the genre “torture porn”, is who started it? Was James Wan with Saw or Eli Roth and Hostel?
For me, it’s always been the latter as Roth’s film doesn’t have anything going for it, except extreme violence. Because Saw had mystery behind it and was also a decent cop thriller, the several levels of intrigue elevated it to above standard horror fare.
American teenage travellers, wind up at a hostel that is secretly a torture palace for rich businessmen to pay thousands of dollars for the privilege of torturing and murdering people.
Roth has the benefit of being Quentin Tarantino’s friend, who produced the film. Adding the Pulp Fiction director’s name to the film, seems to give it an air of respectability. If it wasn’t for that, there’s a good chance that it would have sunk without trace.
Hostel is not a good film. It really is just an excuse for graphic gore. This is the sort of movie that the British censors would ban, but it’s got Tarantino’s name on it, So, it’s like, y’know, art and that…
It’s blatantly obvious, that Roth has not got any idea of what to do with the film. He can’t stretch the premise out, and is unable to make the concept interesting.
Discombobulated and still green, Roth resorts to loading the film with a ton of sex and naked girls. This, in itself, is not a bad thing, but it does bring his naivety to the fore.
However, Hostel cannot be dismissed as platitudinous. There is a germ of a brilliant idea, here, it was just executed wrong.
The special effects are pretty good, and will make you wince. But, the film goes further than many other films that have gone before. Pushing boundaries is one thing, but to do it for the sake of it seems pointless.
It’s difficult to believe, but for a film filled with extreme gore and violence, plus the copious amounts of nudity, Hostel is rather boring and it’s that, that is most unforgivable of all.
Lacklustre and lame.