BluRay/DVD Reviews

HOSTEL

By • Apr 18th, 2006 •

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(Lion’s Gate Home Entertainment)

As if Americans didn’t have enough reasons for not travelling to Europe…

I’m not sure who really benefits from these movies that are ‘sponsored’ by a big name, by which I’m talking about the ‘Quentin Tarantino Presents’ part of the title. He did it with HERO and THE PROTECTOR also, and Spielberg has also done it in the past with Landis and Dante movies. They have nothing to do with the production of the movie, so I assume it’s just a promotional thing, for both the movie and the sponsor. But if it gives a minor, good movie a bigger profile then fine. As long as it’s a good movie.

This is, speaking broadly, an amalgam of AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON and SAW. Two young male American backpackers are travelling around Europe, Amsterdam in fact, and are given the opportunity to stay at a particular hostel where, well let’s say, fun and women are abundant. There is of course a catch.

The movie then, after a slow start I must say, moves into the realms of… what am I talking about? ‘The realms of’? It degenerates rapidly and graphically into butchery. The guys are lured by gorgeous gals into basically what is a slaughter/torture house where sick people with lots of money can live out their macabre fantasies on the bodies of terrified individuals, making use of bolt cutters, chainsaws, blow torches and, well, you name it. There’s dismemberment, screams, tendon cutting and gore galore which I’m sure is more than satisfying for those who like this kind of thing.

I did squirm a little at some of the ‘renditions’, but in retrospect, it wasn’t the visual depiction that shocked me, more the idea of it which unsettled me, and for which I give due respect. It’s nice to know that the power of suggestion is still being employed in this age where anything that can be imagined can be visually presented. That little thing that creeps in behind your mind and lurks there and keeps you unsettled for days afterward is far more powerful and memorable, and is what keeps you thinking and talking about it.

So, like I said, apart from the slow start, I can recommend this, but with the warning that it will claw at the back of your brain for a while after viewing.

You certainly won’t look at an electric drill the same way again…


Written and Directed by Eli Roth

Cast:
Jay Hernandez
Derek Richardson

* The US version contains lively commentary tracks (four of them) with the likes of Roth, Tarantino, the producer, and Harry Knowles of AintItCoolNews.com, plus featurettes.

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