Don't check in.

Released in 2005, certified UK-18. Reviewed on 24 Mar 2006 by Craig Eastman
Hostel image

Three years ago (my, haven't we grown since then) writer-director Eli Roth gave us the decidedly above-par Cabin Fever. By "above-par" I do, of course, mean in modern horror cinema terms, which is to say it simply did not suck quite so generous a length of monkey pole as it's peers. After being fawned over by Quentin Tarantino, whose taste is increasingly in his ass, old Eli returns with Hostel, which, like it's predecessor, has been marketed as THE BEST HORROR FILM OF THE LAST TEN YEARS!!! amongst other things. Oh really? Saw, at a whopping TWO YEARS OLD, kicks the shit out of this pap.

Much like Cabin Fever, Hostel is a movie of three distinct acts, these being a) RANDY TEEN SHAGGING, b) RANDY TEEN MASSACRE and c) INTENTIONALLY SILLY THROW-AWAY GORE-CUM-BENNY HILL SKETCH. The first rather predictably sees a couple of travelling American university teens and their Icelandic pal rather predictably copulate their way across Eastern Europe in rather predictable fashion, rather predictably encountering rather predictable Euro-stunner babes along the way. How original. The second act, and by God does it take it's time in coming, sees these teens drugged and placed at the disposal of paying psychopaths who part with cash to torture and kill complete strangers in a dank, disused factory in Slovakia. As you do. Finally, the hero of the piece makes his bid for freedom, leaving a trail of carnage along the way via a series of stupidly unlikely encounters with the various antagonists of the piece.

Hostel image

Any of these three acts might make for an incredibly boring film in their own right, but here they most definitely represent less than the sum of their parts. It's one thing for Roth to have a right good laugh and relieve any potential pent-up tension at the end; problem is he hasn't actually built any to begin with, and what we're left with is something that resembles a budgeted attempt by student filmmakers with no interest other than having a giggle. You know it's coming to something when even a cameo from Japanese Mind-fuck Specialist Takashi Miike registers a distinct nought on the special-o-meter, and it's just one more indication of how aimless an endeavour this is from conception to conclusion.

If a film makes enough of an effort I'll do likewise in my review, and at this juncture Hostel has been duly served it's rightful portion of my attention. The biggest shame is that here's a horror movie whose bag does for once harbour some kind of potential, yet it is squandered spectacularly by one of the "new wave" hipsters supposedly sent from on high to resurrect the genre. I'm past being fed up by this turgid torrent of shite, and I'm actually starting to get very angry instead. One more for the chopping block.

I can barely be bothered to award this 2 out of 5 Apathy Engenderment Quantification Scale Units.

Eli Roth
Cast list:
Jay Hernandez (Paxton)
Derek Richardson (Josh)
Eythor Gudjonsson (Oli)